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Gleanings from the Appalachian Trailway News

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    • Gleanings from the Appalachian Trailway News

      Gleanings from the ‘Appalachian Trailway News’

      Hello Café friends. I enjoy learning about history, reading, and the Appalachian Trail, so I figured I would combine all these interests together and start reading through my back issues of the ‘Appalachian Trailway News ’ (ATN). My plan is to share some of the interesting bits from each issue of the ATN in this thread (and that other place too). I hope that you find some of these posts interesting, this will probably be a multiyear project.
      First a brief timeline leading up to the first issue …

      1921:Regional planner Benton MacKaye goes public with his proposal for “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning.”
      1923: The first segment of the trail, from Bear Mountain in Harriman State Park to Arden NY is opened.
      1925: First Appalachian Trail Conference is held in Washington DC and the Appalachian Trail Conference is formed.
      1931: Myron H. Avery elected to first of seven consecutive terms as the ATC’s chair.
      1935: Avery and Benton MacKaye have a final ‘falling out’ over how to react to the government’s plans to build Skyline Drive. The two men had different visions for the trail. MacKaye was a visionary and a dreamer who envisioned a wilderness corridor for a ‘modern-barbarian utopia’ while Myron Avery was a more practical ‘doer’ who saw the AT as a place for “tramping, camping, and outdoor recreation.”
      1936: Myron Avery becomes the first ‘2000 miler’ completing various section hikes and trail building from Georgia to Maine.
      1937: The initial routing of the Appalachian Trail is complete.
      1939: The first edition of the Appalachian Trailway News is published.

      Hope you enjoy these posts.
      Scott
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • January 1939 Appalachian Trailway News: Vol1 No. 1

      The cover from the first issue of the ATN featured a B&W photo of Mount Katahdin (Myron Avery was from Maine, and clearly loved the Maine woods.

      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • The very first article in the ATN concerned the the origins of the concept of the AT as a 'Trailway'. We probably cannot fully appreciate what a new concept this was at the time. Due to its historical significance I will repost the article in its entirety. The article is not attributed, but most of the entire first edition appears to have been written by Myron Avery.


      The Appalachian Trailway

      At the Eighth Appalachian Trail conference, held in Gatlinburg in 1937, it was announced that the Appalachian Trail had been initially opened its entire length of 2050 miles. At this time, however, it was emphasized that this was but the first step in the perpetuation of the trail.

      The Appalachian Trail, now a reality, must be appropriately maintained hereafter, not allowed to become difficult of traverse or obliterated.

      There must be shelters the entire length of the Trail, so it can be more widely used. The environs of the Trail must be preserved and protected. The maintenance problem will be the major subject for consideration at the Ninth Conference. The shelter chain construction is now well under way.

      As a means of preserving the Trail surroundings, A.T.C. member Edward B. Ballard proposed a “Trailway”, rather than merely a Trail, that is, a protected zone on each side of the Trail. His suggestion is set forth at length in the ‘Proceedings of the Eight Appalachian Trail Conference (A.T.C. Publication No. 9, 25c). The proposal was adopted and Conference officers instructed to take steps to initiate such a protected zone.

      As announced last October by the Chairman in Letter Report No. 12, and through the newspapers, a great step was taken towards this goal with the signing by the United States Forest Service and the National Park Service of the “Appalachian Trailways agreement”, which establishes a protected zone for a mile on either side of the Appalachian Trail where it is located in National Forests or National Parks. This covers 705 out of the total 2050 miles. Thus, 40 per cent of the Trail will be preserved from inappropriate “development.”

      This is probably one of the most outstanding recent achievements in the field on conservation. Its full import can hardly yet be realized. Chairman Avery, Mr. Ballard, and the officials of the National Park and Forest Service who cooperated in adjusting the multitudinous problems which arose in connection with this agreement deserve the thanks of all those who wish to see our eastern mountains preserved for the woods traveler afoot.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • odd man out wrote:

      I have a copy of this book published by the ATC for the trail's 75th birthday. It is a beautiful book, full of great pictures and a detailed account of the history of the trail. It especially focuses on the early history. I found it very interesting.

      appalachian-trail-conservancy.…ng-americas-hiking-trail/


      Friend gave me this book a couple years ago for Christmas, yup nice book.
    • odd man out wrote:

      I have a copy of this book published by the ATC for the trail's 75th birthday. It is a beautiful book, full of great pictures and a detailed account of the history of the trail. It especially focuses on the early history. I found it very interesting.

      appalachian-trail-conservancy.…ng-americas-hiking-trail/


      Christmas present to myself a few years ago. Keep in my living room to share with guest when my hiking the AT comes up. Even has a fold out map like the one I have laminated with stick pins in my office.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • The Appalachian Trailway News

      The first edition of the ATN was a bit of an experiment ‘underwritten by interested members’ of the ATC. They published in the hopes that it would continue ‘as the official organ of the’ ATC and that the publication would attract gain enough subscriptions to be financially viable.

      The Board of Editors were Jean Stephenson (Editor-in-Chief), O. O. Heard, L. F. Schmeckebier, Ruth B. Mersch, and Dorothy R. Swift. Subscriptions cost $1.00 for the semiannual publication. They wrote…

      “… some members of the Trail Conference have long felt that there is a great need for a publication devoted solely to the Appalachian Trail and the work of the Appalachian Trail Conference. Such a publication should go to every member club and to every individual member. It should contain the news of trail developments, relocations, information on policies, discussions of problems, announcements of new shelters, and news items of general interest. By this means members throughout the country could have a close knowledge of the entire Trail project, and be in touch with what was being done everywhere. “
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • The Hurricane of 1938

      As of January 1939 the extant of the damage due to the New England Hurricane of September 1938 was still largely unknown. In the ‘trail reports’ for each of the sections was the following…


      “The effect of the “hurricane” on the Trail in New England is naturally of considerable interest. Reports to date are meager but indicate a tremendous number of downed trees. It seems that the major damage was in the White Mountains. Advices from Forest Supervisor Graham indicate that a number of trails in the White Mountains will not be open for travel in 1939, and possibly never reopened; also that many areas will be closed to travel because of the fire hazard. The Trail in Massachusetts and Connecticut appears to have practically escaped. The damage in Maine was confined to the western part f the state. There, Helon N. Taylor reports 50 downed trees in a half mile on his trail on Sugarloaf. Stanley B. Atwood, President of the Maine Alpine Club, sent out an emergency call after finding 74 down trees in the mile between Grafton Notch and Tale Rock on Baldplate.”
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Light Weight Sleeping Equipment

      A short article described the experiments of William D. Appel who used long balloons supplied by ‘Air Cruisers Inc. to add the effects of an air mattress to a down sleeping bag. Mr. Appel sewed pockets into the bottom of his bag for the balloons. The balloons as bottom insulation added comfort and warmth at an addition of ‘only’ 2 ½ pounds to his sleeping bag.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • The First Case of Trailhead Vandalism?

      ‘A Trip Through the Southern Appalachians’ by George Outerbridge
      In a letter sent to Myron Avery, Dr. George Outerbridge described his hike with a small party between Spivey Creek Gap and Mount Oglethorpe. The trail and encounters with the locals were described in very positive terms, but Dr. Outerbridge also recorded what may have been the first case of AT trailhead vandalism. ‘The Kilpatrick’s car was broken into at the trail crossing of Route 76 in Dick’s Creek Gap and valuable hiking equipment was stolen. The car had been towed to Hiawassee by the sheriff.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Trail Graffiti

      In the trail report for the Maine section was the following…

      “In an effort to solve the problem of the defacing of the Trail Conference No. 1 sigh at the summit of Katahdin through the zeal of those who want to register, Mr. Edwards has proposed a summit register which will be installed at the time of the Conference. It is ,perhaps, too much to hope that this opportunity to write elsewhere will gain immunity for our sign. A.T.C. member Schmeckebier’s contribution in the form of a sign, “If you must write your name, write here,” apparently offended the sensibilities or excited the cupidity of some climbers, for both the sign and the post disappeared. It is unfortunate that the purpose of the sign could not have been understood, so that it would have been spared. A suitable post, to replace the present somewhat temporary post, is being made and will be installed with due ceremony at the time of the Conference.”

      The Conference referred to here was the Ninth Appalachian Trail Conference which was to be held in August 1939 at Daicey Pond ‘under the shadow of Katahdin.’
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • Source: Appalachian Trailway News 1939 Vol. 1, No. 1

      Here are a few excerpts from an interesting article. Little did they know what was to come…

      Appalachian Trail Records


      Stunt hikes seem to be of three kinds: ‘Twenty-four hour hikes,’ ‘highest point of each state’ and Appalachian Trail travel. In years past some question was raised as to the propriety of these exploits. Now these feats are viewed with more complacency. The trail conference, moreover, is much indebted to the people who have made extended trips over the Trail. Most of them have forwarded careful and valuable observations.


      Probably the single most outstanding trip over the Appalachian Trail was that made in 1936 by C. Bradford and Raymond Mitchell of Fair Haven (sic), Massachusetts. Between May 6 and June 29 these brothers traveled from Mt. Oglethorpe to Skyland in the Shenandoah National Park, a distance of 850 milers. A knee disability prevented what probably would have been the initial covering of the entire Appalachian Trail in one continuous trip. The story of the adventures of the Mitchell brothers appeared in The Washington Star, July 26, 1936.
      ………
      As is known, Chairman Avery’s trips have taken him the length of the Trail. His journeys began in 1927 and were completed in the fall of 1935 on Saddleback, where a snow storm almost blew the measuring wheel from the Trail. His trips, as he points out, are not comparable in any way to the extended Trail travel of these other record trips in that they were primarily for trail inspection and obtaining guidebook data. Many were of short duration and facilitated in various ways. It is of interest, however, to note that his records show that some 149 days were devoted to covering the entire route.


      Probably at some time in the not too distant future, some traveler will cover the entire route in record time. This, however, will probably afford little pleasure or little of the real rewards of the route. The strain of adhering to a schedule, and the difficulties caused by delays due to bad weather or other mishaps are more wearing than the physical exertion along the route. Most satisfactory is traveling short sections, say for two weeks, with the prospect of the variety of each sections travel. Herein lies the charm of the route with all its varying geological and botanical surroundings.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • IMScotty wrote:

      Source: Appalachian Trailway News 1939 Vol. 1, No. 1

      Here are a few excerpts from an interesting article. Little did they know what was to come…

      Appalachian Trail Records


      Stunt hikes seem to be of three kinds: ‘Twenty-four hour hikes,’ ‘highest point of each state’ and Appalachian Trail travel. In years past some question was raised as to the propriety of these exploits. Now these feats are viewed with more complacency. The trail conference, moreover, is much indebted to the people who have made extended trips over the Trail. Most of them have forwarded careful and valuable observations.


      Probably the single most outstanding trip over the Appalachian Trail was that made in 1936 by C. Bradford and Raymond Mitchell of Fair Haven (sic), Massachusetts. Between May 6 and June 29 these brothers traveled from Mt. Oglethorpe to Skyland in the Shenandoah National Park, a distance of 850 milers. A knee disability prevented what probably would have been the initial covering of the entire Appalachian Trail in one continuous trip. The story of the adventures of the Mitchell brothers appeared in The Washington Star, July 26, 1936.
      ………
      As is known, Chairman Avery’s trips have taken him the length of the Trail. His journeys began in 1927 and were completed in the fall of 1935 on Saddleback, where a snow storm almost blew the measuring wheel from the Trail. His trips, as he points out, are not comparable in any way to the extended Trail travel of these other record trips in that they were primarily for trail inspection and obtaining guidebook data. Many were of short duration and facilitated in various ways. It is of interest, however, to note that his records show that some 149 days were devoted to covering the entire route.


      Probably at some time in the not too distant future, some traveler will cover the entire route in record time. This, however, will probably afford little pleasure or little of the real rewards of the route. The strain of adhering to a schedule, and the difficulties caused by delays due to bad weather or other mishaps are more wearing than the physical exertion along the route. Most satisfactory is traveling short sections, say for two weeks, with the prospect of the variety of each sections travel. Herein lies the charm of the route with all its varying geological and botanical surroundings.
      ...talk about forward thinking, Avery nails it.
    • Source: ATN 1939 Vol. 1, No. 1

      Beards on the Trail

      The oft-mooted question, “To shave, or not to shave” is usually felt to be, after all, a matter of personal preference. Another aspect appears in a report received from Harold Pearn, President of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

      On a recent trip over the Appalachian Trail from the James River to Rockfish Gap, he had opportunities to meet a number of the inhabitants of this region, about whom he says, “The people are some of the finest I have ever come in contact with. The membership of the A.T. stand well with them. That shows that the ones who have hiked the trail have left a good impression.” But he was told they like clean shaves instead of beards on hikers, as they “like to see a man’s face.”

      Beards appear to be associated with tramps, not with trampers, and to raise doubt and suspicion.

      Possibly, for the reputation of the hiking fraternity, a man on the Trail should shave even though he would prefer to take a vacation from that duty also.
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • IMScotty wrote:

      Source: ATN 1939 Vol. 1, No. 1

      Beards on the Trail

      The oft-mooted question, “To shave, or not to shave” is usually felt to be, after all, a matter of personal preference. Another aspect appears in a report received from Harold Pearn, President of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

      On a recent trip over the Appalachian Trail from the James River to Rockfish Gap, he had opportunities to meet a number of the inhabitants of this region, about whom he says, “The people are some of the finest I have ever come in contact with. The membership of the A.T. stand well with them. That shows that the ones who have hiked the trail have left a good impression.” But he was told they like clean shaves instead of beards on hikers, as they “like to see a man’s face.”

      Beards appear to be associated with tramps, not with trampers, and to raise doubt and suspicion.

      Possibly, for the reputation of the hiking fraternity, a man on the Trail should shave even though he would prefer to take a vacation from that duty also.
      I think Avery just called a thru-hike a vacation by proxy! Seems our old friend "Lone Wolf" nails it!
    • meat wrote:

      check this out from hiker trash confessions.

      m.facebook.com/story.php?story…8450840285029&__tn__=%2As
      Haha. Now that's funny. Last year I saw a nobo thru who was shaving his legs. He didn't set off my gaydar either, but even female thrus don't shave their legs so I thought it very weird.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • JimBlue wrote:

      My electric shaver is only good for 30 minutes before it needs a recharge. Years ago I tried every type of razor shaver and I kept cutting my face up so I went electric and never went back.

      WanderingStovie wrote:

      I've always relied on an electric razor, but I shaved my chest for ECGs with a blade.
      ...long as we're driftin'

      Couple years ago I had the brilliant idea to start shaving without cream, which actually works well with just water, but man it is tough on the face.

      Then I got a really nice beaver/sable??? Brush and hard soap from a friend for Christmas and have gone back to the brush and soap method with a single blade...love it and it way cheaper than buying razors, although the soap is expensive (you can buy cheaper ones at the drug store) it lasts a long time (still using it from last Christmas) But for the trail a disposable bic with water would work just fine for me.
    • Keep 'em coming Scotty, these historical documents are great. Funny how things change yet remain the same...pondering equipment, dealing with vandalism and hygiene questions, section hiking vs thru hiking.

      Avery was so insightful.
      In life there are no limitations. Except stupidity. If you're stupid, you're screwed.

      Stephan Pastis

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Traffic Jam ().

    • Not about the AT but a little backpacking history... (from Under the Stars by Dan White)

      In 1952, Asher Kelty, a carpenter, noticed his friend transfer the weight of his pack from his aching shoulders to his hips by putting the struts into his pockets. This inspired Kelty to create a waist strap that allowed hikers to carry larger loads without injury.

      Jack Stephenson (of Stephenson Warmlite) expanded on Kelty's innovation and was "the first to construct
      modern, lightweight packs with true hip suspensions..."

      This opened the door for more women to backpack.

      Some people worried about this increased accessibility to the outdoors. Nick Clinch, a friend of Kelty, wrote, by taking "the misery out of the sport", Kelty had become, "the Henry Ford of backpacking: I blame him for the overcrowding of the wilderness."

      FYI, Stephenson was a naturist and often greeted visitors while wearing black, bikini underwear. I guess that explains the pictures on the Warmlite site.
      In life there are no limitations. Except stupidity. If you're stupid, you're screwed.

      Stephan Pastis

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Traffic Jam ().

    • And in other news : I just got this quarters AT Journey magazine and an article says the ATC is looking at a registration system similar to GSMNP system for the southern end of the trail. I'll read it carefully tonight and repost. Just skimmed it last night and I was beat.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference