Few know the full story behind the creation of Appalachian Trail. The proposal to create it could have died in the pages of a journal had it not been for the efforts of many people and two, in particular: Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery. While the two men shared a common goal, their vastly different personalities meant it was only a matter of time before these sometimes allies, sometimes adversaries had a falling out. Jeffrey Ryan’s book, Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery, and the Rivalry That Built the Appalachian Trail weaves history and biography to bring the story of the unlikely creation of the AT to life. Drawing upon never before published sources, Blazing Ahead delves deep into the historical realities MacKaye and Avery faced and how their personalities and views ultimately forced them apart. The L.L. Bean lecture series features guest speaker Jeff Ryan, who will share the story of the creation of the AT and how many of the challenges faced in the 20s and 30s still resonate today. Published by AMC Books, Blazing Ahead will be available for purchase at the presentation. Maine native Jeffrey Ryan has a passion for exploring the outdoors, particularly on foot. He has hiked over 8,000 miles in the U.S. including a 6-month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail and a nearly three-decade section hike of the AT which culminated in his first book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America’s trail, published in 2017 by Down East Books.
Early registration for this very popular lecture series is recommended.