Legendary Mr. Gene Espy shares tales of the trail

Mr. Gene Espy shows a photograph of himself as a 24-year-old man, sporting a 126-day-old beard when he finished hiking the trail in Maine in September 1951. (Photo by LIZZI CLAYTON)

Mr. Gene Espy, the second man to through-hike the Appalachian Trail, spoke to students in Mrs. Michelle Fleming’s 11th-grade AP English classes during lunch on Friday. Fleming’s classes have been reading Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods.” Espy has his own autobiographical book, “The Trail of My Life.” The 88-year-old Espy, who lives in Macon, hiked the trail alone in 1951. A section of the trail in Georgia is named after him,¬†and he is in the Appalachian Trail Hall of Fame. A fascinating man, Espy entertained the classes with tales of his adventures. His wife, Eugenia, was an elementary school teacher at Stratford when the school was located at Overlook Mansion in the 1960s.