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best thru hiking book?
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aaron eshelman
(djaaronreed) - MLife

Locale: Central Rockies
best thru hiking book? on 11/14/2006 09:51:31 MST Print View

So, as the subject askes,what is the best thru hiking book? It can be fictional or non, about any trail, and any author.

I'm starting to research now for a 2008 hike.

Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
book on 11/14/2006 12:15:36 MST Print View

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: book on 11/14/2006 12:18:34 MST Print View

Beyond Backpacking by Ray Jardine. Quirky but a classic for sure!

robert courson
(bertcourson) - M

Locale: lake michigan
Re: book on 11/14/2006 18:14:37 MST Print View

If you get past laughing and consider the "truth" of the book, I agree. There is no fairytail ending and the incidents all seem real. It seems to me to be non-technical but with a great deal of truth conveyed in the stories he tells, sort of like the old way of telling stories to tell history. The gist of the book rings true. As they say in the comedy circles, there is always an element of truth in a good joke.

Colleen Clemens
(tarbubble) - F

Locale: dirtville, CA
Re: Re: Re: book on 11/14/2006 21:09:33 MST Print View

doug, i think robert was referring to A Walk In The Woods, not Beyond Backpacking.

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: Re: book on 11/14/2006 22:28:47 MST Print View

I want to see a book called

Beyond the Basics

By: Bill Fornshell; after his
thru-hike next year.

Michele Mason
(bianchilvr) - MLife
Two of My Favs on 11/15/2006 05:21:34 MST Print View

Walking on the Happy Side of Misery by J.R. "Model-T" Tate, a real AT thru hiker who hiked the trail this year, I believe for the 4th time. This book is hilarious, but informative

On the Beaten Path by Robert Rubin is a close second, but is a very different book. The author set out to "find himself" on the trail, though frowned on by his wife. He thru hiked as well and finished.

Jonathan Duckett
(Thunderhead) - F

Locale: Great Smoky Mountains
Thru Hiker's Handbook on 11/15/2006 07:51:43 MST Print View

I've never read it, but I hear good things about Wingfoot's book.

Edited by Thunderhead on 11/15/2006 07:52:16 MST.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: Two of My Favs on 11/15/2006 20:00:47 MST Print View

I agree that "Walking on the Happy Side of Misery" and "On the Beaten Path" are two of the better ones. Well written, with a good mixture of human and trail descriptions.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: best thru hiking book? on 11/17/2006 13:51:51 MST Print View

For the PCT, try "A Blistered Kind of Love". It's written by a young couple who hiked together.

For general ideas, I agree with Doug that Beyond Backpacking is great. Take some of the advice with a grain of salt, but Ray is inspiring and creative, if controversial.

For trail info, try Hiking The Triple Crown. This book gives an overview of the AT, PCT and CDT, and also gives a good overview of thru hiking jargon and tecehniques.

I didn't care for A Walk in the Woods much. I thought it exagerated the hike and although funny, it didn't represent much about the best aspects of a long hike.

Bill Law
(williamlaw) - M

Locale: SF Bay Area
re: Beyond Backpacking on 11/17/2006 18:35:19 MST Print View

I much preferred Jardine's previous edition (called something like _PCT Thru-Hikers Handbook_?).

Didn't have all the x-files type stuff that is in the current edition.

Definitely this book gets better if your thru hike is the PCT rather than some other trail.

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
A narrative and some great factoids on 11/18/2006 12:16:04 MST Print View

J. R. Tate's book is fantastic and very authentic. It only covers his first through-hike in 1990, but it very closely reflected my own 99 through hike.

A neat book packed with factoids is Roland Mueser's Lessons learned from the Appalachian Trail. It was computed from a host of surveys from through-hikers during his 89 through-hike.

Don Montierth
(Chumango) - F

Locale: East TN
Re: best thru hiking book? on 11/18/2006 18:15:39 MST Print View

Try As Far as the Eye Can See, by David Brill. It is not a detailed description about his through hike of the AT, but a number of reflections on the experience. It will get you in the mood to go for a long walk.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
best thru hiking book on 11/18/2006 18:27:09 MST Print View

At the risk of dating myself (and those who recognize what follows), let me suggest some "earlier" editions by Cindy Ross:

"A Woman's Jouney" 1982
ISBN 0-917953-42-8
Appalachian Trial Conference

The story of Cindy's AT through-hike, including her original drawings; now out of print but well worth the search for a copy.

"Journey On The Crest" 1987
ISBN 0-89886-146-2
Published by The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA

A highly detailed account of her 2 year trek of the Pacific Crest Trail, also includes some of her on-trail sketches.

Wandering Bob

Edited by wandering_bob on 11/18/2006 18:28:57 MST.

Don Wilson
(don) - MLife

Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Re: best thru hiking book? on 11/18/2006 20:26:16 MST Print View

Another classic: The High Adventure of Eric Ryback for a 1970 or so PCT hike by an 18 year old. Though it turned out that he did not hike the entire trail, this is still a good read and was instrumental in my interest in long distance hiking.

Michele Mason
(bianchilvr) - MLife
And it's FREE! on 11/19/2006 18:42:10 MST Print View

Of course, there's always the free option. It's more fun during the season, but check out for current journals. Many folks, including myself, record their journals there. Happy reading!

John Davis
(JNDavis) - F

Locale: Isle of Man
best thru hiking book? on 11/21/2006 13:14:28 MST Print View

John Hillaby's Journey through Britain inspired hundreds to walk the length of the country.

But for me, the book which got me to put boots on my feet (and to keep my porridge dry) was Hamish's Mountain Walk, by Hamish Brown. It was re-published, twinned with his lesser, Corbett's book, by Baton Wicks.

Chris Townsend
(Christownsend) - MLife

Locale: Cairngorms National Park
Best Thru Hiking Book - Colin Fletcher on 11/23/2006 15:02:48 MST Print View

The Thousand-Mile Summer and
The Man Who Walked Through Time, both by Colin Fletcher. The best backpacking books in my opinion.

Journey Through Britain by John Hillaby was my original inspiration and Hamish's Mountain Walk inspired me to start Munro bagging so I am fond of both these too.

joseph daluz
(jfdiberian) - F

Locale: Columbia River Gorge
Re: a blistered kind of love on 11/25/2006 09:45:53 MST Print View

I hated this book, partly because it was a non-technical (romance?), partly because it was a romance without anything insightful. It wasn't funny either. Maybe their posterity will enjoy it for sure, but I was sorely dissapointed. In fact I burned the pages as I read so nobody else would have to endure it.
Another reason I hated reading this book is because there's this guy who's going to graduate from med school soon and he has this hot girlfriend and he's complaining??? Excuse me but WAAAAAAA :( I wish I could get my wife to go on a dayhike with me.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
The Thousand Mile Summer on 11/26/2006 00:24:24 MST Print View

I agree with Chris. This is a great book. It's part ripping yarn, part instruction manual.

It also shows how lightweight is a headspace, as much as it is about gear. And it reminds some of us about how we used to prepare/plan a trip, before the internet arrived. How much anticipation we would generate by writing away for maps and information.

(look for me over in the corner, stroking my beard!)