Books to Make You Want to Hike the Appalachian Trail (AT)

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There are dozens of books on the market about walking the Appalachian Trail.  A few are significantly better than the rest.  Here are my favorites:

Becoming Odyssa:  Adventures on the Appalachian Trail by Jennifer Pharr Davis. Most AT books are coming of age memoirs about someone finding themselves. Becoming Odyssa is as well. However, this has been my favorite. It is thoughtful and well written. Hiking also became her passion and she is now the world record holder as the fastest thru hiker.

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk:  The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail. Grandma Gatewood hiked the AT before it was a thing (1955). She didn’t have a map, didn’t have a plan and didn’t have the latest gear. She just walked!

Three Hundred Zeroes:  Lessons of the Heart on the Appalachian Trail by Dennis Blanchard. This story of the AT was one of the most “real” I’ve read. It reminded me of people I’ve met along the trail. People hike for all kinds of reasons. Some don’t make it. Some try again.

Two Honorable Mentions:

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail David Miller is not really one of my favorites.  However, AWOL is responsible for the best AT guide.  So #1 I am very respectful and thankful for that effort that I think his narrative deserves mention.  #2 I wanted to know a bit about the person behind the guide because I curse him out repeatedly when I think he has lied to me – as an example, “Damit AWOL, there is no way that was a flat mile!” 

Of course, no list is complete without Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods of which the first half is hilarious! 

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