Balancing on Blue – Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail

By Englishman Keith Foskett 

I’ve read a number of AT books, my favourite being A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.

But this may be my second favourite. Foskett does a superb job of explaining the big question: WHY are you doing a thru-hike. 

I enjoyed too the brief entries written by some of his thru-hiking friends.

‘Be prepared for great story telling, unique and interesting characters, humour and insight.’
Andrew Skurka – National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

I’ve now downloaded his earlier PCT book – The Last Englishman.

 

What’s the point of ADVENTURE?

Alastair Humphreys believes we should live a little more adventurously:

When I first got a taste for adventure it was simply for the fun of it. Climbing hills and looking around at the view from the top, riding a mountain bike downhill as fast as you can, leaning hard in a heeling dinghy: these things are fun and exciting …

By the time I was in my 20’s, however, my relationship with adventure had changed. “It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun” was my mantra. “Miles not smiles!” …

Adventure became about the challenge. Pushing my body and my mind …

After the masochistic personal challenges came the curiosity phase. I wonder if it’s possible to hitch a lift on a yacht across the Atlantic? What is running an ultramarathon in the Sahara like? Can I go have a look at life in a random part of India, far from the nearest tourist hotspot? …

The answer, time after time, was ‘yes’. …

The Changing Purpose of Adventure

Black on the Appalachian Trail

Rahawa Haile:

What happens when an African American woman decides to solo-hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine during a summer of bitter political upheaval? Everything you can imagine, from scary moments of racism to new friendships to soaring epiphanies about the timeless value of America’s most storied trekking route.

Going It Alone 

related – 4 Things Female Thru-Hikers Need to Hear

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

I enjoyed this trip report. It’s basically his trail diary.

In 2003, David Miller left his job, family, and friends to fulfill a dream and hike the Appalachian Trail. …

While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about safety and proper gear, showing a professional hiker’s preparations and tenacity.

 

This is not merely a travel guide, but a beautifully written and highly personal view into one man’s adventure and what it means to make a lifelong vision come true.

Amazon

GoodReads reviews.

If you want to hike the A.T. this is a good read. Very systematic and well organized information. He was a 41-year-old computer programmer at the time.

David Miller went on to publish Appalachian Trail guidebooks.

That said, I’d recommend you hike the Pacific Crest Trail instead. It’s a better thru hike. 🙂

Michael Lanza’s 25 most scenic hiking days

A terrific list.

  1. Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim
  2. Yosemite’s Clouds Rest and Half Dome
  3. Walking Across Zion
  4. Alta Via 2, Dolomite Mountains, Italy
  5. Many Glacier to Logan Pass, Glacier National Park
  6. Hiking Mount St. Helens
  7. Laugavegur Trail, Iceland
  8. John Muir Trail – Evolution Basin to Mather Pass
  9. Death Canyon Shelf to South Fork Cascade Canyon, Grand Teton National Park
  10. Volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, New Zealand
  11. The Narrows, Zion National Park
  12. Gray Glacier, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
  13. Mosquito Creek to Toleak Point, Southern Olympic Coast
  14. Paria Canyon Narrows
  15. High Sierra Trail, Sequoia National Park
  16. Crossing the Wind River Range, Wyoming 
  17. Royal Arch Loop, Grand Canyon
  18. Rockwall Trail, Kootenay National Park, Canadian Rockies
  19. Timberline Lodge to Cooper Spur, Timberline Trail, Mount Hood
  20. Europaweg (Europe Trail) Zermatt, Switzerland 
  21. Spider Gap-Buck Creek Pass Loop, Glacier Peak Wilderness, Washington
  22. Galdhøpiggen, Norway
  23. Crown of Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains
  24. Thorung La, Annapurna, Nepal 
  25. Traversing the Sierra de Aitana in Southern Spain

Click over to his excellent site for details and links to trip reports:

The Big Outside – MY 25 MOST SCENIC DAYS OF HIKING EVER

Geoff Sears on the Highline Trail, Glacier National Park.