Skywalker “Most Realistic” of the Appalachian Trail Books
“This is the most realistic look at the tough slog that is an Appalachian trail thru-hike,” a recent book reviewer wrote on Amazon.com.
Those words were music to my ears. For that is the exact purpose I had upon setting out to thru-hike the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail, which runs 14 states from Springer Mountain in north Georgia to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine in 2005 despite never having even spent a single night outdoors. My thru-hike often seemed like a see-saw battle between my determination on the one hand and incompetence on the other. Not only was I often inept, I proved to be a rather slow learner. To boot, I sometimes showed myself to be cowardly. Not exactly Lewis and Clark stuff. Which is why the Appalachian Trail–America’s great trail of the masses was such a great fit for me.
This popular national scenic trail allows a person of average abilities such as myself, but with greater than average determination, to do something that most people would consider a bit extraordinary–cover fourteen states across some of the nation’s most renowned peaks in wildly disparate weather conditions amongst the most colorful cast of characters imaginable, in a single hiking season. It was easily the journey of my lifetime and my fondest hope is to inspire others of a similar ilk to consider undertaking this great trek.
Bill Walker is the author of Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail. He is also the author of Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail, The Best Way–El Camino de Santiago, and Getting High–The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Walker, who is nearly 7-feet tall, has just released a whimsical autobiography, Tall Tales–The Great Talisman of Height.