The Trail
The Appalachian Trail was originally drawn up by Benton Mackaye in 1921. Benton Mackaye was a forester and conservationist who graduated from and taught at Harvard University amidst working for the National Forestry Service and Tennessee Valley Authority. He believed strongly in a proper balance of give and take from the natural world in which we exist, and thought that a trail extending from Georgia to Maine would be a way in which students and all people could learn more about the value of balancing human and natural interests. 
In 1948, the first "thru-hiker" completed a single trip from the Southern Terminus of the trail in Georgia to the Northern Terminus of the trail in Maine. His name was Earl Shaffer, a World War II Army veteran who sought to "walk off the war" as a method of wilderness therapy. 

Despite the fact that he carried a tripod and camera to document his entire journey, he endured a large amount of criticism and disbelief surrounding his claim. Not until his story was later corroborated by the large number of mountain dwellers who recalled his passing through and helped to make his case. 

He has credited the trail extensively in his writings, speaking specifically about the value of time in the wilderness in order to grow and develop through difficult stages in life. He completed the trail again 50 years later in 1998, when he was nearly 80 years old. 

Many people seek the happiness that is found on the Appalachian Trail, although typically less than 25% of those who attempt the trail actually complete it. Plants and Animals are widely varied along the trail. Black bears are common but very skittish and they keep to themselves unless heavily provoked. Elk, Owls, Turkeys, Boars, Eagles and other fauna enjoy the long stretches of mountains as their home as well. Despite its remoteness, The trail is a safer place than most would think. Issues often stem from lack of understanding and lack of preparation. It is widely commented that "The trail will not solve your problems, but it will certainly change your life."