New on View: A Firefighter’s Appalachian Trail Guidebook

An Appalachian trail guidebook belonging to Bruce Van Hine is displayed on a white surface. The book includes a cover image of a waterfall.
Appalachian Trail Guidebook belonging to Bruce Van Hine, FDNY Squad 41. Gift of the Van Hine Family.

As the summer season nears its peak many will hike the Appalachian Trail, a footpath which extends 2,180 miles along the Appalachian Mountain range between Georgia and Maine. A worn guidebook to the trail once belonging to New York City firefighter R. Bruce Van Hine is now on view in the memorial exhibition, In Memoriam, at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Van Hine, who died on 9/11, responded to the World Trade Center with FDNY Squad 41. His helmet was recovered near the South Tower where he is believed to have been when it collapsed.

An avid outdoorsman, Van Hine spent years day-hiking segments of the tri-state portion of the Appalachian Trail. In addition to a trail guidebook, Van Hine, a religious man, often carried Bibles with him. He left them for fellow hikers in shelters located along the trail.

Bruce Van Hine hiking the Appalachian Trail, September 2002. Gift of the Van Hine Family. Bruce Van Hine on the Appalachian Trail. September 2001. Gift of the Van Hine Family.

 Van Hine was also deeply devoted to his wife Ann and their two daughters.

When his wife, Ann Clarke Van Hine, came to the Museum offices to donate his treasured trail guide, she told curators, "One of the things that he always wanted to do was sleep on the trail. And he did that two weeks before September 11."

By Jenny Pachucki, Content Strategist, 9/11 Memorial 

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