Book Review: ‘How to Hike the A.T.’ by Michelle Ray

*Written in 2015.

I’ve been wanting to hike the Appalachian Trail for a few years now. It is a tough and very long hike that covers over 2,200 miles and 14 states in the eastern U.S. So to prepare for what I hope to do in the future, circumstances permitting, I figured it would be best to read up on it from those who have done it.

How to Hike the A.T.: The Nitty-Gritty Details of a Long-Distance Trek by Michelle Ray was a pretty thorough book on the subject. She goes over the psychological side of things, planning, physical conditioning, gear, food, drink, making a proper itinerary, mail drops, bounce boxes, flora and fauna, weather, trail culture, trail traditions, hygiene, safety, injury, illness and everything else one needs to know before heading out on this journey.

Ray’s book is well written, well organized and straight to the point. Every chapter is necessary and each one covers the subject matter fully and precisely.

Now I cannot compare it to other books on the subject, as I haven’t read any others thus far but I can’t imagine needing to know much more than what was available here. Planning to do this trek however, I also know that it would be in my best interest not to take this as the bible of the Appalachian Trail, as there are other books with other perspectives out there for me to absorb.

As a starting point, this book gave me more than I expected and I’m thankful to Michelle Ray for that. Also, it happens to be the highest rated book that I saw in regards to the subject matter.

Moving forward, I’ll follow up with reviews of other books I pick up that are about hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis, Wild by Cheryl Strayed and A Walk In the Woods by Bill Bryson

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