Current Reads

This week finds two new non-fiction additions to my regular fiction readings. I have developed an insatiable appetite since rekindling my love the great outdoors and mountains around me. If you yield to that same call, check out Hiking the Big South Fork by Brenda Deaver, Howard Duncan, and Jo Anna Smith or Balancing on Blue by Keith Foskett.

 

Now in its third edition, Hiking the Big South Fork is packed with up-to-date information on the trails of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in Tennessee and Kentucky. The book combines numerous details about the natural history of the area with fascinating tidbits of folklore and legend to provide an interpretive guide to the trails. The authors have walked, measured, and rated every hiking trail, and, for this edition, they include information about trails in the adjoining Pickett State Park and Forest.

The book features detailed maps; checklists of mammals, birds, and wildflowers; and valuable advice on safety, park rules and regulations, and accommodations. The trail descriptions include difficulty ratings, distance and time information, notes on accommodations and special considerations, and detailed mileage indicators to keep hikers informed of their progress and to clarify points of confusion. Also included is a handy chart designed for backpackers who wish to combine trails for longer excursions.

Strollers, hikers, and backpackers looking for a less-crowded alternative to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will enjoy discovering this beautiful, rugged National Park Service area. Only a ninety-minute drive northwest of Knoxville, the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area is easily reached in half a day or less from Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta.

 

Amazing journeys begin with a single step, but only the determined keep hiking.

Short-listed for Outdoor Book of the Year by The Great Outdoors Magazine

Every year thousands of adventurers attempt to hike all 2,180 miles of the gruelling and unforgiving Appalachian Trail. Around five months later, beaten and bruised, those who finish are known as thru-hikers.

Keith Foskett weaves a true-life tale that’s as thought-provoking as it is entertaining. Accompanied by an array of eclectic characters – including a world-champion juggler, a drug dealer, and a sex-starved builder from Minnesota – he takes the reader on a compelling adventure that pushes the limits of both endurance and imagination.

During his five months living in the woods, Foskett’s psychological apprehensions are stretched to the limit against the wild elements of nature. By turns humorous and harrowing, his journey allows him to overcome his fears while reflecting on the man he’s meant to be. His adventure weaves a route through some of America’s wildest landscapes and history, and is told with insight, humour and reflection.

Perhaps he too will tame the most renowned long-distance hiking trail in the world, and emerge as a thru-hiker.

Current Reads

The Current Reads update is a bit late today, but you will find that I have jumped ship so to speak. This week I shifted from my typical fiction to a non-fiction offering. I love reading about thru-hikes and with portions of the AT in my own backyard, those tend to be my favorites.

If you have  a similar fondness then check out David Miller’s AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

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 SocietyIn 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.