Aggregation of material regarding the construction and preservation of the Earl Shaffer Shelter, Peters Mountain, PA.
An outpouring of affection for Earl Shaffer accompanied the preservation of the last of the shelters that he built.
Accordingly we're trying to piece together a record of the volunteer effort that spontaneously came together on Saturday, August 2, 2008. The full record probably lies somewhere in the gaps between the pieces we have collected. Credit goes to the 40 or 50 volunteers, and those who provided support, without asking for recognition.
The Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club record details Earl's volunteerism at the time of rerouting the Appalachian Trail through Peters Mountain, and over the several years he took to build the shelter around 1960. We must imagine that the trees grew considerably while the shelter stood, and that he had a keen reason for situating it exactly where he did.
That rock he placed the shelter over must have given hikers something to ponder, squeezing in on a rainy night. When a wood floor was built over that rock, Earl requested that his name no longer be associated with that shelter. Now only the rock is left. It would be appropriate for a small bronze plaque to magically appear on it, simply saying "Earl's Pillow."
Perhaps this rock has a lasting meaning associated with the effort he gave without reward. It is known that he tried for years to get his manuscript "Walking with Spring" published. No one would do it, so he did it himself, his way. It has recently been revealed in Gene Espy's "The Trail of My Life" that Earl asked the famous Rodale publishers to print a hundred copies of his book in exchange for contributing to the first volume of "Hiking the Appalachain Trail." No deal.
Eventually Earl donated "Walking with Spring" to the Appalachian Trail Conference, which published it with his poems and photographs. Today, the book sells well for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Earl belatedly receives recognition for his volunteer effort, and the rock he built his shelter above somehow bears witness to his endurance.
Something to think about some night when you lay your head down upon a pillow.
Thank you volunteers, and thank you Earl.
~ written by a volunteer ~
© The Earl Shaffer Foundation
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