“We live in an accelerated culture, a world of jump cuts rather than long takes, montage rather than mise en scene.” – Robert Alden Rubin
For some reason, nearly every time I tell someone I am planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail they say, “Have you read A Walk in the Woods?” Oh, you mean the book about an unsuccessful thru-hike attempt? Yeah, I’ve read it, but, I’ve read better trail books.
For instance, my favorite at this time (granted someone I know just came out with a new book and based on their blog, I think I can anticipate the book being well written and entertaining – here’s to you GoodBadger!) is On the Beaten Path: An Appalachian Pilgrimage. Written by Robert Alden Rubin, the book really delves into a man who seems to have hit a mid-life crisis and decides to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.
While Rubin only completes 2,160 miles of the trail, his writing seems more genuine in regards to his experience. He also has this underlying tone of respect for the trail and what it stands for. Besides being a kind of journal of his experience, he offers information about portions of the trail that you could find in some of the best guidebooks.
Another great book with more logistical details, is How To Hike the A.T.: The Nity-Gritty Details of a Long-Distance Trek. When I first decided to hike the trail, I picked up this book and read quickly from start to finish. It covers a brief history of the trail, physical conditioning, mail drops, weather, culture, pretty much anything you need to know about what you might be embarking on. It even offers a handy section on trail terminology. Such as, did you know what a nero is? Or how about Springer Fever? This is a very comprehensive book that should be read if you want more information on the trail, or plan on hiking a portion, if not all of it.
All my research has pretty much been completed at this point, and the prep for my trip still continues (dehydrating, packing, buying gear). I cannot wait to leave in less than a month and share this experience with you! Feel free to do a little reading before I go, and while I am gone so some of the terminology won’t take you by surprise 🙂