AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

David Miller

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 0547745524

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


“Makes you feel the pain and joy of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike . . . In vivid colors, David paints a picture of his memorable journey.”—Larry Luxenberg, president of the Appalachian Trail Museum Society

In 2003, David Miller left his job, family, and friends to fulfill a dream and hike the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike along the entire 2,172 miles from Georgia to Maine. On page after page, readers are treated to rich descriptions of the valleys and mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the life-changing moments that can only be experienced when dreams are pursued. 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.

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the town of Millinocket, which is more spread out than most trail towns. I stay at the AT Lodge, a bunkroom on Main Street. I call Juli and we discuss our plans for her arrival in two days. She tells me that if it looks like the weather will change for the worse, I should go ahead and hike Katahdin by myself. I have been fortunate to have had excellent weather over the past week, and for the moment, it looks as if favorable weather will continue. Also, my day was exhausting. In the eight days

abandoning the fantasy that the rain would go away. The walk from NOC is the longest continuous uphill so far, going from 1,723 feet to 4,750 feet in six miles. The downside of dropping into towns is the climb out. The trail is a stream. Rain comes down in a heavy, continuous barrage. My defenses—a hooded rain jacket, gaiters, and Gore-Tex pants and shoes—only hold for about two hours. My shirt, pants, and socks are all wet. I feel strong, even with a load bulging with six days of food. The

how to get to the Sonic drive-thru?” Uncle Johnny had told me directions to Miss Janet’s, the last part of which was to go one block behind the Sonic. I’m asking for information that I already know, but there is a point to this. “Go up to the light and turn right, then it’s up the road, on your left.” “How far do I go after I turn right?” I choreograph this question with a move to sling my pack on my back, wilting under the weight and the prospect of a long cross-town walk. “Do you want a

sometimes hiking into the night. The trail briefly runs tangent to Little Rock Pond. I am sluggish, so maybe the cold water will wake me up. I strip and jump in. Only feet from the trail, I’m risking an audience, but no one passes. The water is refreshing, but the rocky bottom of the pond is torture on my tender feet. My feet hurt when I walk barefoot, even on smooth ground. The rain has been hard on my feet. They are soggy and wrinkled, and sloughing dead skin from calluses. I have another

only one at a time. If I am on clear and level ground, I will pick up my poles and carry them by their balance point (near the center), one in each hand. My hike has made me a believer in trekking poles. They have saved me from a number of falls. Back in Andover, I speak with Juli on the phone. The temperature in Florida is ninety-three degrees. In the morning, the temperature in Andover is thirty-eight degrees. Ken and Marcia also stayed at the guest house last night, so for the second

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