Sources of information, inspiration, and motivation (to plan a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail)

This blog post originally appeared on my trail blog for The Trek which you can read here.

Before hitting the trail I have asked countless questions about what I am really getting myself into. To answer this question I have done my own research on just about anything I could think of for the trail. In an effort to help others learn about what I am doing I figured I would pass on the sources I have learned from. These are some of the many resources I have used while I am  preparing for my 2019 thru hike of the Appalachian Trail

Websites

The official website of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy 

The Trek has an official 101 guide

PMags.com A Quick and Dirty Guide to the Appalachian Trail – This website is exactly what it is titled. It lists an over view of a lot of details you will need to know about hiking the trail and gives you links to other websites to find out more information.

Facebook groups

I am in a few different Facebook groups in which I talk to people about details of the AT and you get to know what the general plans and questions of others are. It helps you connect with other people planning a hike.

The groups I am in are:

  • Appalachian Trail Class of 2019 -Every hiking class has a group
  • Appalachian trail women’s group
  • Appalachian trial section hikers
  • Backpacking Flea Market for Women
  • Backpacking gear Flea Market

Books 

Helpful literature to inspire your hike and learn more about the history of the trail:

Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery – The story of the first woman to hike the Appalachian trail end to end. She did it with out any of the gear or resources everyone uses today and she is from a small town in Ohio. This book includes lots of history about the beginnings of the Appalachian Trail.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson – After living abroad for twenty years Bill returns to America and decides to rediscover it by hiking the trail. He starts in Georgia with a friend and they hike six and a half weeks. He does some of the trail day hiking by himself and then finishes again with his friend in the 100 mile wilderness. This book includes  history of the trail along with some of the scientific background of the forrest surrounding the trail.

Stuck Between a Rock and a White Blaze Searching for Significance on the Appalachian Trail by Julie Urbanski – This book is about a girl named “stopwatch”‘ and her experience of hiking the AT with her husband “optimist”. This is her second thru hike (her first was the PCT) and she talks a lot about her mentality on the trail. I really enjoyed the insight to what she was thinking a long the trail including the point where she almost quit.

Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis – This books is exactly how it is advertised: a psychological and emotional guide to successfully thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. This is the only book I’ve came across that talks about one of the hardest if not the hardest part of the trail. It gives you tangible exercises to mentally prepare yourself for the trail.

A Journey North by Adrienne Hall- This book recounts Adrienne aka raindrop’s experience of hiking the trail. Much like Bryson she discusses the natural history of the trail and the efforts it takes to sustain the trail. I like hearing a similar scientifical/ political story of the trail from a female voice. One thing I noted while reading the book is that her hike took place before 2000 so all of the information has most likely changed. It didn’t make it any less interesting. This book made me appreciate all of the people that have stood in support and protection of the trail and its environment since it’s creation.

Podcasts 

The 2180 – Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the first thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, this podcast features the stories of many people who have been impacted by the trail. These people include the hikers, the maintainers, the supporters, and the hostel managers. I listened to this pod cast on many cold weather treadmill runs.

Sounds of the Trail – This podcast followed the journeys of hikers on the AT and the PCT. They reported back from the trail with updates and interviews. I enjoyed the personalities of the hikers and the podcaster.

Trail Journals 

Walking With Wired – The only trail journal I personally have read every entry of is Erin Saver’s, trail name: “Wired”; AT class of 2014. Her journal was a big inspiration for me and I passed a lot of time reading it. She has great detailed personal stories and pictures to go along with them.

 

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