Photo of Granite State College, Concord, New Hampshire. ©2018 GSC

Author, Appalachian Trail historian Jeffrey Ryan to present at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Concord, New Hampshire

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Date/Time
Date(s) - 08/13/2018
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

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Author, historian and lifelong adventurer Jeffrey Ryan will present his talk — Two Tales of Perseverance: The Creation of the Appalachian Trail and My 28-Year Hike from Maine to Georgia as part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute’s Summer/Fall curriculum at Granite State College in Concord, New Hampshire.

Few know the story of how the Appalachian Trail was envisioned and built. The most famous footpath in the world could easily have been an unfulfilled vision lost to the ages in an architectural journal if not for a number of fortunate events. The idea proposed by Benton MacKaye in 1921 had lost steam by 1928. It took the irrepressible drive of a young man named Myron Avery to see the project to completion.

The story is a fascinating study of personalities set against the financial challenges posed by The Great Depression, the unprecedented rise of automobile ownership and the need to build a network of trail advocates through 14 states and beyond.

Forty-seven years after the AT was completed, Jeff Ryan, a thirty-year-old from Maine, and his newfound hiking buddy inadvertently began hiking all 2,181 miles. Over the next 28 years, they took on different sections of the trail until they pieced the whole thing together.

In 2013, after they finished the nearly three-decade hike, Jeff wrote a book about it, “Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year Hike on America’s Trail,” published in 2016 by Down East Books. In 2017, Jeff wrote his book about the history of the trail, “Blazing Ahead, Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail,” published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books.

This presentation is made possible through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute as part of their Summer/Fall course curriculum. The member tuition for attending is $20. For more information, visit the OLLI Concord website.

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