Book Review: "The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking Trail"

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Brian B. King, who wrote the text for The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking Trail. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's Brian B. King, who wrote the text for The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking Trail. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

For every person who hits the Appalachian Trail (AT) in Georgia heading to the end of the Trail in Maine (or vice-versa), there are ten worried people back home, fearing the worst.

One way to assist those suffering souls is to hit them up for exorbitant amounts of money to buy the latest, lightest gear ... lest you be unable to outrun intransigent bears and or insufferable boors you'll meet along the way.

You might consider inviting your fretful family to meet up with you along the way for fellowship and to restock your dwindling supply of Snickers.

If you are among the masses with penniless parents and you'd rather not let them know that you are hiking with outcasts named, "Psycho," "Death" or worse, here's another suggestion. Buy them a book.

Not any book, but one that will center their attention on the tumultuous history and stunning scenery of America's footpath. For example, the award-winning tome: The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking Trail. I found it fascinating.

The Hanover, NH, Appalachian Trail portal ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The Hanover, NH, Appalachian Trail Portal ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Bill Bryson, author of A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, wrote the introduction. I have learned that many AT purists are ... well, let's just say ... less than enamored with Bill's book, that is otherwise beloved by AT non-purists.

I didn't know that the portal to the Appalachian Trail in Hanover, New Hampshire, was the inspiration for Bill's hike and subsequent book. You may find this treasure by parking in a busy gas station and walking down a well-beaten path for a hundred yards or so.

The Appalachian Trail in Hanover, NH. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

The Appalachian Trail in Hanover, NH. Don't worry, that's not an alligator on the Trail. Probably. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

As with this review, the book begins a bit slowly with pages of arcane reflections on those who conceived of the Appalachian Trail and how they worked together/argued about its course from Maine to Georgia. You might find such details delightful.

For me, the book -- apart from the dozens of rare photographs of those who blazed the Trail -- began with chapter three. From that point on, I was hooked and didn't put the book down for hours.

This coffee-table sized book was released by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) to celebrate the AT's 75th anniversary in 2012. If you give it more than a glance, you will not be surprised that it was named book of the year by one significant authority. Click Here for Book of the Year Information.

Where I live, hordes of folks squeeze family and friends into cars to drive through a resort to gaze at zillions of outrageously imaginative holiday lights on display -- at $60 per car. This AT treasure is only $50 and it will last for many years, not merely 90 minutes.

Folks at home can get a glimpse of where their travelers are along the Trail with 300+ magnificent scenic photographs, glimpses into Trail towns, wildlife along the way (no, just animals, don't worry) and pictures of inviting shelters for weary walkers.

At the back of the book there's a fold-out map worthy of hanging on any wall to remind loved ones of your trek and your need for money to survive.

Never going to hike the AT yourself? Don't know anyone who will? Sit yourself down with a bowl of Cheetos or unsalted organic potato eyes and spend a few hours on the Trail -- from Maine to Georgia -- and give a cheer for our heroes on the Trail.

The Trail you can witness for yourself through The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America's Hiking Trail.

Click Here for Ordering Information from the ATC

Tags: Tourism, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Appalachian Trail Community, News, Appalachian Trail Clubs, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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