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Desert Lobster
02-10-2004, 13:49
In no particular order:

Baltimore Jack
Model T
Wingfoot
Lone Wolf
Ward Leonard
Bryson
Wolf
Weathercarrot
Beorn
Maineak

Streamweaver
02-10-2004, 14:25
Bryson??LOL He only hiked about half the trail!! Streamweaver

MOWGLI
02-10-2004, 14:38
Tubaman - 2000 SOBO hiker who hiked the entire trail carrying a 30# tuba.

http://www.restlessadventurer.net/backpacking/appalachian_trail/photos/maine/thumbs/tubaman.jpg.php

gravityman
02-10-2004, 14:47
Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with "Trail Legends." I mean, it's fun to talk about a guy who hiked the trail with his Tube, cat, stuffed animal, whatever, or hiked it x-number of times in a row, or whatever. On the other hand, it's kinda annoying to hear people talking about how they know this or that person who is a hiking god, and so we should feel that we are unworthy talking with someone who knows someone.

I guess I like hearing the stories about people who do interesting things, but I don't like it when it turns into a bragging/he's so important thing... I mean, it's just hiking, not the first direction measurement of Gravitation Radiation proving for the first time that Einstein's General Relativity is without a question an accurate theory.

Gravity Man

Lone Wolf
02-10-2004, 15:09
Earl Shaefer is the only trail legend. He pioneered thru-hiking. Having thousands of AT miles or back to back thru-hikes means you have a lot of time on your hands and hardly any responsibilities.

Jack Tarlin
02-10-2004, 15:18
There are only 2 as far as I'm concerned:

Myron Avery, who got the Trail built, and was the first person to walk every mile; and Earl Shaffer, who led the way for the rest of his. If there was a "Trail Legend Hall of Fame" or anything like it, as far as I'm concerned, these are the only guys in it.

Jack Tarlin
02-10-2004, 15:20
Re. Earl----I obviously meant to say "who led the way for the rest of us"----for this is exactly what he did.

Kozmic Zian
02-10-2004, 15:28
Earl, Ed, Seiko, Jack, L. Wolf, Jester, Ward, Tom, and of course Myron.

Desert Lobster
02-10-2004, 16:08
I'd like to add:

Pirate
Nimblewill Nomad

jojo0425
02-10-2004, 16:31
What about Grandma Gatewood? The first female to complete a thru-hike?

TJ aka Teej
02-10-2004, 16:45
Legend implies a lofty status. Only Myron Avery and Earl Shaffer rise to that level. Avery built and Trail and became the first 2000 miler. Shaffer invented through-hiking.

MOWGLI
02-10-2004, 16:54
Legend implies a lofty status. Only Myron Avery and Earl Shaffer rise to that level. Avery built and Trail and became the first 2000 miler. Shaffer invented through-hiking.

Benton MacKaye too. After all, it was his idea.

tribes
02-10-2004, 17:24
I'd like to add Heald w/ Dog Wonder. They have to be legendary for the amount of time spent winter hiking. Those two are either legendary or crazy. It has to be one of the the two. :bse

Lilred
02-10-2004, 17:37
What about the guy that was blind, Bill Irwin I think. Him and his dog. Now that's the stuff legends are made of......

And keep an eye out for Scott Rogers. He'll be hiking the trail with only one leg....

There's an ariticle about him and his hike in The Tennessee Magazine, Feb. edition.

Skeemer
02-10-2004, 17:45
Originally posted by Lone Wolf
Having thousands of AT miles or back to back thru-hikes means you have a lot of time on your hands and hardly any responsibilities.

Ha!...Pretty good one!...just don't say it applies to the rest of us...my wife might not like the part about not having any responsibilities. I know...if the boot fits wear it.

warren doyle
02-10-2004, 22:52
Lone Wolf,
Speaking for myself, I have neither had a lot of time on my hands nor hardly any responsibilities.

Desert Lobster
02-11-2004, 01:22
Lone Wolf has been very busy posing for that statue of him they are going to place in front of Dots.

weary
02-11-2004, 11:10
Bryson??LOL He only hiked about half the trail!! Streamweaver

He claimed about 30%. Reading between the lines and doing a little calculating, I suspect 10 or 15% is more accurate -- at least he physically did that much. I sensed he never did get seriously involved in the trail and the trail scene.

The Appalachian Trail has some of the most amazing people one can find anywhere. Bryson somehow missed them all. He compensated by making up a couple of fictional characters that fit his stereotype.

His walk in the woods smacked more of library research than trail research. And yes, it was humorous at times. He imagined some pretty funny scenes and wrote them out well.

Weary

Skeemer
02-11-2004, 13:15
Weary wrote:
The Appalachian Trail has some of the most amazing people one can find anywhere. Bryson somehow missed them all. He compensated by making up a couple of fictional characters that fit his stereotype.

Sorry to get a bit off topic here, but has anyone ever asked Wes Wessen (the guy Bryson said shuttled him to Springer) if he remembers Bryson and if he had anyone with him.

Baltimore Jack says no one has ever met his overweight partner...what's his name.

I don't think Bryson's a hiking legend, but he introduced the AT to many.

A-Train
02-11-2004, 13:38
Baltimore Jack says no one has ever met his overweight partner...what's his name.

.[/QUOTE]


Skeemer,

I believe Bryson's Partner Katz was almost definately a fictional character. Bryson is a very good writer. A LOT of the stuff probably never happened.

Would be interesting to ask Jensine Crossman, the old owner of rainbow springs, whom Bryson said such wonderful things about.

I looked often in registers and albums on the Trail and could never find a trace of Bryson. Couldn't even find his sign in or pic in the Neels Gap log from 96'.

MOWGLI
02-11-2004, 13:45
My Mother hiked the .9 from USFS Road 42 to Springer with me. Along the way, we met Zoom (GA-ME 2000) and his elderly parents. My Mother introduced me by saying "this is Katz". Zoom's eyes almost fell out of his head, and he said "really?". .

I reminded my loving Mother, that to refer to someone as Katz is not complimentary.

I guess it was her way of needling me after all the crap I pulled as a teenager. She thought it was hilarious. Now that I think of it again, so do I.

Kozmic Zian
02-11-2004, 13:48
If Bill Bryson was on the trail in '96, I never saw any entries he made in registers. What was his trail name. I read his book, ok, kinda humerous, but so...anybody can just lay down a book and sell it it seems ....about Da Trail. Seems like alot o' garbagee' out there. Not to get off the [email protected]

Jaybird
02-11-2004, 14:00
In no particular order:

Baltimore Jack
Model T
Wingfoot
Lone Wolf
Ward Leonard
Bryson
Wolf
Weathercarrot
Beorn
Maineak


i second that motion! & totally agree (in NO particular order) :D



seeya UP the trail

A-Train
02-11-2004, 14:51
If Bill Bryson was on the trail in '96, I never saw any entries he made in registers. What was his trail name. I read his book, ok, kinda humerous, but so...anybody can just lay down a book and sell it it seems ....about Da Trail. Seems like alot o' garbagee' out there. Not to get off the [email protected]


I'd disagree that not just anyone can write a book about the AT. Bryson is in a whole different category. Sure his book was grossly inaccurate and fictious, but his book is an extremely well written book, whether true or not. Sure anyone can write a boring AT book, but Bryson's writing cannot be compared to most of the authors of AT books. Many out there are just plain boring or not well written IMO.

Jack Tarlin
02-11-2004, 16:37
Interesting comments about Bryson......

I discussed him at length with Jensine at Rainbow Springs, (he was NOT her favorite person at the time) and we went thru the registration cards for 96. Bryson DID in fact arrive there with a companion, tho he was not named Katz or anything like it. I think that Bryson did indeed start out his hike with a friend, tho I doubt very much whether or not this friend was a morbidly obese drug-dealer from Iowa; in short, I think "Katz" was mostly mythical.

Jensine and I also discovered a few other things, such as what he bought and ate while he was there, as it was all recorded. This led us to the conclusion that much of his mean-spirited criticism of the place was unwarranted; for example, in the book he makes a big deal of the lethality of the Philly Cheese sandwhiches served there that allegedly sickened another hiker---lo and behold, we see from Bryson's purchase list that he had bought one of these items himself. So, one of two conclusions----Bryson ate one of these things, later met another hiker who was sickened by one, but then makes no mention that he'd just consumed one himself, which is obviously unlikely. Or, the story of Bryson encountering the food-poisoned hiker was a complete invention by Bryson; maybe he didn't care for his Philly cheese steak and wanted to invent a colorful story in order to get back at Rainbow Springs.

In any case, Jensine can fill you in on this and more. The inescapable conclusion we reached, tho, was that much of what Bryson wrote about Rainbow Springs was exaggerated or invented, most of his comments were unfair and unnecessary, and I kind of suspect that this sort of exaggeration and invention was done in other places as well.

It is a pity that the best-known book on the Trail, which was published as a work of NON-fiction, contains so many things that simply aren't so.

smokymtnsteve
02-11-2004, 16:47
yep bill describes jenisine as flicking some tabacco off her tongue and jenisine smokes filtered cigs

Uncle Wayne
02-12-2004, 03:15
On each of our last 4 section hikes, we met someone on the trail, usually day hikers with family, who asked if we had read "the Bill Bryson" book. We would reply and I asked each one in return, "have you ever read Earl Shaefer's book?" Not a one of those people even knew who Earl was!

I enjoyed the book, my wife didn't. You need to read the book according to what it clearly states in the disclaimer: the author’s experience and opinions as he walked the AT. It is not meant to be a “do it this way” book. It is not even meant to be scientifically or historically accurate although I guess the case can be made that when a writer states anything scientifically or historically besides his personal opinion, the statement should be as accurate as possible. I know Baltimore Jack mentioned in an earlier thread about some historical facts Bryson had wrong. The disclaimer also states that “some” not all of the names have been changed to protect privacy. There is no doubt he used "writers license" with the majority of the people and events in the book.

I’ve never been to Rainbow Springs so I can’t comment on the conditions as Bryson saw them and no one except the people there under those conditions can do so accurately. But one thing is for certain, no matter what kind of facility Bryson would have entered under those extreme conditions he would have found the system in place stretched to the max, just as he did at Rainbow Springs. So I don’t think it fair to judge Rainbow Springs based on what Bryson said but if you read between the lines, the system in place at Rainbow Springs worked. It provided shelter, warmth and food to needy hikers, which is basically what each person who went there were looking to attain.

But there are several thoughts / feelings Bryson mentions he had that I have thought or felt while hiking the AT. Here are a few: The high price of backpacking gear; after leaving the confines of town and hiking again he says, “I just walked. I was very happy;” He stated somewhere “there wasn’t a day that passed on the Appalachian Trail that I didn’t give thanks for what was there.” The hurt and pain caused by the murder of hikers on the AT; needless technology on the trail; the loss of our natural environment, including wildlife, by the encroachment of “progress;” the longing to see your family; the withdrawal symptoms after leaving the trail, even as a section hiker; and after being home, the longing to get back on the trail. I’ve been the hiker who had to wait on a slower partner and, most of the time, I’ve been the slower partner who someone else had to wait on.

I’m sure most of you have felt some of these same things as you've planned a hike, hiked, or thought about the AT.

I guess Trail Legends are in the eyes of the beholder or in Bryson's case, the reader.

warren doyle
02-12-2004, 10:46
All I can say about Bill Bryson is he distorted the 'facts' of our measuring the trail by wheel during the summer of 1990. To me, Bill Bryson's book to the actual long distance hiking experience on the AT is like:
1) The book/film 'Deliverance' was to the southern highlanders; and,
2) The movie 'Cold Mountain' was to the southern Appalachians.
I'd rather have people get paid to describe truth, rather than get rewarded for making fiction appear to be fact.
I have more respect for the Cindy Ross/David Brill/Model T/Cesar & Maud/O.D. Coyote literary narratives of their respective long distance hiking experiences on the AT.

Tinker
02-12-2004, 11:00
Ed Garvey: If he hadn't written his book Appalachian Hiker in the early 70's, which had wide distribution, I doubt that many of us, whether first, second, third, etc, hand would be in this forum. A very gregarious individual, he took the time to respond to a thank - you letter I wrote him in the early '90's for his book. He was one of the die hard proponants of the shelter program, and did much work for corridor protection of the Trail. In my opinion, not only is he a legend, but a HERO of the Trail. Ed died in 1999. There is a shelter in Maryland built in his Memory.

RE BRYSON: I question the wisdom of labeling a phony a "legend".

The term "phony" may be unwarranted. He may be a good person, but he is not foremost a hiker who wrote a book, He is foremost a writer who hiked to write a book.

Desert Lobster
02-12-2004, 11:58
legend: "an unusually famous or notable person"

That dictionary definition sure fits Bryson.

The Old Fhart
02-12-2004, 12:13
Seems a lot of people take Bill Bryson and his book way too seriously. I have no problem with the fact that he didn’t hike the whole trail, heck, most hikers don’t. I believe one reason that so many thru hikers actually hate the book, whether they have read it or not, is that it reminds them that a whole lot of new hikers starting at Springer have some of the same type of feelings and experiences. By the time you get near the end of a thru hike you get to feel that you are at home in the woods and hiking the A.T. becomes second nature to you. Bryson obviously never got that far and maybe the trail could never be made long enough for him to develop a “kinship” with the trail or his fellow hikers. You could still call Bryson a trail “legend”, or maybe character would be a less offensive term, even if he never set foot on the trail simply because he is one of the more talked about people on the A.T.

I talked to the Crossmans when I stopped at Rainbow Springs Campground in 2000 and the topic of discussion as I walked into the store was Bill Bryson. Because he apparently wrote travelogue type books he was mainly used to 5-star hotel accommodations and no place on the A.T. would have met his high expectations. They checked the registration cards and there was a second person that checked in the same time as Bryson and that person was from Ohio so it could be the “Katz” composite character of the book. Fanny Pack was also there that day in 1996 and said that the Katz character did exist. What I found interesting was that while I was there in the store in 2000 I was actually standing next to Bill Bryson! It wasn’t the same Bill Bryson but a liked-named 70-year old hiker. He proceeded to sign the register and proudly wrote that: “Rainbow Springs Campground is now Bill Bryson approved.”

I feel that one legitimate criticism of the book is Bryson’s attitude to the people in the south and I told him that when I had a chance to meet him. His belittling and making fun of the people down south went over the edge. At the time he was living in Hanover, NH, and he only had to look in his back yard to see some of the same behavior. I hope Baltimore Jack doesn’t think I’m referring to him, just other New Hampshire residents in general.

When I was hiking in 1998 my wife decided to read “A Walk in the Woods”. She started at the beginning with the intention of reading the whole book but got bored with some sections so she skipped ahead to what she thought would be a more interesting section. After a while she lost interest in the book, read a few paragraphs here and there, and never did read the whole thing. She says she did to the book what Bryson did to the trail and, to this day, still claims to have read the entire book!

A-Train
02-12-2004, 16:19
I'm not trying to start any trouble here or claim that Ed Garvey is not a commendable legend. He was a pioneer and I thank him for all his contributions to the AT community. Maybe I have to read his first book in the 70's. I simply thought his updated version from his 90' hike was barely a book. It was more a collection of his daily journals from his long section hike, that IMO were incredibly mundane and uneventful. Despite being in awe and appreciation of his age in which he hiked the trail again, much of the book was describing friends who came to pamper him and little about his connection to the woods. He seems to try to turn it into a book of somesorts at the end, including random trail information. Again, I should probably read his first book, that might put things into perspective, but I just wasn't very impressed or interested.

tribes
02-12-2004, 17:11
When I was hiking in 1998 my wife decided to read “A Walk in the Woods”. She started at the beginning with the intention of reading the whole book but got bored with some sections so she skipped ahead to what she thought would be a more interesting section. After a while she lost interest in the book, read a few paragraphs here and there, and never did read the whole thing. She says she did to the book what Bryson did to the trail and, to this day, still claims to have read the entire book!

Now that is too funny!!!! :clap :p

Peaks
02-12-2004, 17:18
I'm not trying to start any trouble here or claim that Ed Garvey is not a commendable legend. He was a pioneer and I thank him for all his contributions to the AT community. Maybe I have to read his first book in the 70's. I simply thought his updated version from his 90' hike was barely a book. It was more a collection of his daily journals from his long section hike, that IMO were incredibly mundane and uneventful. Despite being in awe and appreciation of his age in which he hiked the trail again, much of the book was describing friends who came to pamper him and little about his connection to the woods. He seems to try to turn it into a book of somesorts at the end, including random trail information. Again, I should probably read his first book, that might put things into perspective, but I just wasn't very impressed or interested.

Ed Garvey did a lot more than hike and write a book. He was very active in the ATC, PATC. He was with Warren when ALDHA was founded. The man certainly gave back to the trail in many many ways.

Tinker
02-12-2004, 17:49
I'm not trying to start any trouble here or claim that Ed Garvey is not a commendable legend. He was a pioneer and I thank him for all his contributions to the AT community. Maybe I have to read his first book in the 70's. I simply thought his updated version from his 90' hike was barely a book. It was more a collection of his daily journals from his long section hike, that IMO were incredibly mundane and uneventful. Despite being in awe and appreciation of his age in which he hiked the trail again, much of the book was describing friends who came to pamper him and little about his connection to the woods. He seems to try to turn it into a book of somesorts at the end, including random trail information. Again, I should probably read his first book, that might put things into perspective, but I just wasn't very impressed or interested.Ed probably was not the best writer, or at least was not a professional as is Bryson, and he is a legend to all those who knew him, and of his great love for the trail.
Among the Trail faithful, he was a giant. He was loving and caring of others, something not obvious in Bryson's portrait of himself.
He has several books in the Library of Congress, detailing trails (besides the AT, which he has hiked), and was instrumental in establishing public relations between the AT hiking community and several countries in Europe. The former U.S.S.R. and the Czech republic among them.

If Ed were one to toot his own horn, he might be more visible. If he were more flamboyant, maybe he would be better remembered.

Ed cared deeply about the AT and about its devotees. Most of all:


Ed Garvey made a difference, not just a statement.

Tinker

Rain Man
02-12-2004, 18:54
When I was hiking in 1998 my wife decided to read “A Walk in the Woods”. She started at the beginning with the intention of reading the whole book but got bored with some sections so she skipped ahead to what she thought would be a more interesting section. After a while she lost interest in the book, read a few paragraphs here and there, and never did read the whole thing. She says she did to the book what Bryson did to the trail and, to this day, still claims to have read the entire book!

That's fine... except that Bryson never claimed to have walked the entire trail, so the comparison is invalid.

Rain Man

.

The Old Fhart
02-12-2004, 20:23
Rain Man said of my previous post: "That's fine... except that Bryson never claimed to have walked the entire trail, so the comparison is invalid."

Rain Man,
Please read the book. Bryson said on the last page that he did 870 miles but, "I don't care what anybody says. We hiked the Appalachian Trail." The comparison is valid if you understand it in the context of what Bill Bryson said.

Doctari
02-12-2004, 20:49
Personally I dislike naming anyone as lengends.
However, bryson should decidedly NOT be one of them (small b on purpose)! I havn't read his book, stopped when he got to Rainbow springs & started slamming Jensine & Buddy. I suppose it made him feel more important to belittle great people. Read a few quotes since then, he seems funny, but almost always at the expense of others, most of who were kind to this a**.

bill bryson, a legand in his own mind.

Doctari.

Percival
02-12-2004, 23:55
Fiction or not, Bryson was a good writer. His description of the drunken young couple in Georgia who gave him a wild ride (she stuck her head out the window and said "Yew boys wanna rod?") and of Hiawassee as a "sleepy, hook-wormy little town" vividly brought to mind images of Aintry and bangos in the background.

Nightwalker
02-15-2004, 04:56
Having thousands of AT miles or back to back thru-hikes means you have a lot of time on your hands and hardly any responsibilities.

Yea, and ain't it nice.

:)
Frank

Ridge
03-13-2004, 12:39
To me Earl Shaffer is the only true "Trail Legend". He was the one who inspired me. However, those responsible for the establishment of the AT are without a doubt "Creators and Visionaries" of the Trail and without them this wonder would probably not exist today. I thank them all, and I thank those responsible for the existance of the trail today and for its continuation into the future.