Thursday, June 14, 2012

Book Review: AWOL on the AT and THRU HIKE!


So this post is actually a two part post.  First I'm going to start with a brief book review of AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David 'AWOL' Miller.  I'm going to make it brief because I don't think there is a tremendous amount you can learn from this book.  My book reviews are generally written to both (A) Tell you about the lessons you can learn from the book and (B) If it's worth reading or not.

Before I go into these two things, I'll fill you in a little bit about what this book is about.  This book is about a guy (David Miller) who quits his job at the age of 40 to hike the Appalachian Trail.  His exact reasoning is complex, but to put it simply, he wanted to spend some time alone in nature to get back to the important things in his life.  This included (but is certainly not limited to) having some time to "not be busy", exploring the world in a new way, and doing something he had wanted to do for a long time. The book flows in a style that is a lot like reading journal entries, but it has a continuous element to it that makes it easier to read.  It feels like a novel, even though it really is just a day by day account of his life on the trail.

And regarding his life on the trail, things didn't work out exactly as planned for AWOL.  He had a few issues that stemmed from him ignoring minor issues, and he had a few serious issues that were fascinating to see him push through.  He also does an excellent job describing the people he hiked with.  Although he ultimately hiked alone, it was always fun to read about the new faces he met, and the way he interacted with different personalities.  He also describes his mindset and the way he felt wonderfully.  This includes him admitting about 1500 miles in that he probably wouldn't have done the trail again if he could go back in time.  (Although he changes his mind on this view as he gets further though).

At the end, AWOL (David Miller) talks about what the end of his trail means for his life, and some of the lessons he learned.  The description of how and why he learns these lessons is articulated well, but it doesn't necessarily help to teach you the same lesson.  For example, sitting around for long periods and hiking long hours taught him patience, but this doesn't mean YOU are going to more patient for reading this book.

For this reason, I would say if you are interested in learning more about what it's like to do a Thru Hike, this is the book for you.  If, on the other hand, you are looking for the next hot, life-changing novel, you may want to keep looking.

The reason I read this book was because I was interested in doing a Thru Hike.  After reading this and talking with a few thru hikers,

I've decided that I am going to spend 6 months of 2013 dedicated to going from Georgia to Maine on the AT.

I've been thinking about doing this for a long time, which has conveniently allowed me to acquire a lot of gear overtime.  More on that will be coming in my next post, as I could probably do a whole post (and actually will probably do several) about the gear I will be using on the trail.

And as for what's next, I plan to put up a post about my two Staff Training's with NCOBS, and a few gear videos of things I intend to use on the AT.  I also have been doing some adventuring, so I'll put up some pictures and videos of that too.  Also, I am 150 pages into A Clash of Kings now, which is just fantastic.


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