Page Turners

booksThe books to read for information, encouragement and a little entertainment about the AT!

[ONE] A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

If you’re looking for a good laugh, Bill Bryson’s book is the way to go! The Appalachian Trail trail stretches from Georgia to Maine and covers some of the most breathtaking terrain in America–majestic mountains, silent forests, sparking lakes. If you’re going to take a hike, it’s probably the place to go. And Bill Bryson is surely the most entertaining guide you’ll find. He introduces us to the history and ecology of the trail and to some of the other hardy (or just foolhardy) folks he meets along the way–and a couple of bears. Already a classic, A Walk in the Woods will make you long for the great outdoors (or at least a comfortable chair to sit and read in).

 

[TWO] The A.T. Guide Northbound 2015 by David Miller

The A.T. Guide is the guidebook of choice for hikes of any length on the Appalachian Trail. The book contains thousands of landmarks such as campsites, water sources, summits and gaps. The trail’s elevation profile is included and every landmark is aligned to the profile. Hikers using this guide know where they are on the trail, what views, streams and campsites are ahead, and whether they’ll be hiking uphill or downhill to get there. The A.T. Guide is the most innovative trail guidebook ever developed.

 

[THREE] Appalachian Trials: A Psychological and Emotional Guide To Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail by Zach Davis www.appalachiantrials.com

  • Appalachian Trials will prepare you for the mental challenge of hiking everyday
  • Learn Goal setting techniques that will assure hikers reach Mt. Katahdin
  • Learn to avoid the common early stage pitfalls
  • Learn how to beat “the Virginia Blues”
  • Learn the importance of and meaning behind “hiking your own hike”

 

[FOUR] AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller

Makes you feel the pain and joy of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike . . . In vivid colors, David paints a picture of his memorable journey. -Larry Luxenberg, president of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society. In 2003, David Miller left his job, family, and friends to fulfill a dream and hike the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike along the entire 2,172 miles from Georgia to Maine. On page after page, readers are treated to rich descriptions of the valleys and mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the life-changing moments that can only be experienced when dreams are pursued. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about safety and proper gear, showing a professional hiker’s preparations and tenacity. This is not merely a travel guide, but a beautifully written and highly personal view into one man’s adventure and what it means to make a lifelong vision come true.

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About the Appalachian Trail

The Trail

The Appalachian Trail

ABOUT THE TRAIL

The Appalachian Trail is one of the longest continuously marked footpaths in the world, measuring roughly 2,180 miles in length. The Trail goes through fourteen states along the crests and valleys of the Appalachian mountain range from the southern terminus at Springer Mountain, Georgia, to the Trail’s northern terminus at Katahdin, Maine.

Known as the “A.T.,” it has been estimated that 2-3 million people visit the Trail every year and about 1,800–2,000 people attempt to “thru-hike” the Trail. People from across the globe are drawn to the A.T. for a variety of reasons: to reconnect with nature, to escape the stress of city life, to meet new people or deepen old friendships, or to experience a simpler life.

The A.T. was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. The A.T. is managed under a unique partnership between the public and private sectors that includes, among others, the National Park Service (NPS), the USDA Forest Service (USFS), an array of state agencies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs.

FUN FACTS

  • The Trail is roughly 2,180 miles long, passing through 14 states.
  • Thousands of volunteers contribute roughly 220,000 hours to the A.T. every year.
  • More than 250 three-sided shelters exist along the Trail.
  • Virginia is home to the most miles of the Trail (about 550), while West Virginia is home to the least (about 4).
  • Maryland and West Virginia are the easiest states to hike; New Hampshire and Maine are the hardest.
  • The total elevation gain of hiking the entire A.T. is equivalent to climbing Mt. Everest 16 times.
  • The A.T. is home to an impressive diversity of plants and animals. Some animals you may see include black bears, moose, porcupines, snakes, woodpeckers, and salamanders. Some plants you may encounter include jack-in-the-pulpit, skunk cabbage, and flame azalea.

HIKERS

  • About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
  • The A.T. has hundreds of access points and is within a few hours drive of millions of Americans, making it a popular destination for day-hikers.
  • “Thru-hikers” walk the entire Trail on a continuous journey. “Section-hikers” piece the entire Trail together over years. “Flip-floppers” thru-hike the entire Trail in discontinuous sections to avoid crowds, extremes in weather, or start on easier terrain.
  • 1 in 4 who attempt a thru-hike successfully completes the journey
  • Most thru-hikers walk north, starting in Georgia in spring and finishing in Maine in fall, taking an average of 6 months.
  • Foods high in calories and low in water weight, such as Snickers bars and Ramen Noodles, are popular with backpackers, who can burn up to 6,000 calories a day.
  • Hikers usually adopt “trail names” while hiking the Trail. They are often descriptive or humorous. Examples are “Eternal Optimist,” “Thunder Chicken,” and “Crumb-snatcher”.

Information from Appalachian Trail Conservancy