Thursday, May 05, 2016

Book: David Miller's "AWOL On The Appalachian Trail"

It took me until mid-April to work my way through the stack of magazines I had on my night stand.  This really wasn't because it was a 'yuge' stack but it was due to my mediocre commitment to read them that slowed it down.  Now that I've caught up on my subscriptions it is time to start reading books again.  I started with David Miller's "AWOL On The Appalachian Trail".

You may have heard me mention David Miller's name before.  It was his guide book that I used when I planned out my Appalachian Trail (AT) stages and I give him credit on my Appalachian Trail tab above.  When his job wouldn't give him a leave of absence, Miller quit his job and began thru-hiking the AT.  This book chronicles his five month trek across fourteen states from Georgia to Maine.

The first thing I noticed as I read this book was that it sounded a lot like my posts.  His writing style is a more polished form of my own.  The second thing I noticed is that his experiences on the AT were exactly what I expected.  His hike reminded me a lot of the Camino.  The friendships that are formed.  The injuries he suffered (an infected heel blister and a sprained ankle).  The walking meditation that occurs during hours of walking.  The AT seems to be just a much larger version of the Camino experience.

I really liked this book not only because of how it was written but how it made me feel.  I have to admit I haven't been very enthusiastic when it comes to the AT.  I've been suffering of pre-adventure anxiety - something that I always encounter before a big adventure like Caminos one and two, RAGBRAI, and my Rocky Mountain Camping trip.  As I read Miller's account I could feel my anxiety morph into anticipation.  I am really looking forward to getting on the trail and doing this.

One thing I learned, Miller gave himself his own trail name.  This caught me by surprise as the tradition is to receive your trail name from your trail mates.  Not wanting to get stuck with a lame name, he introduced himself as AWOL.  This has me thinking .... and I will discuss what I'm thinking in another post in the near future.

I give this book five stars on Goodreads because ... it was a fun read and it made me feel better about what I will be jumping into next year.

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