My fascination with books about the Appalachian Trail began about as soon as the dream hit me - right around age 14. I was on the look out for some books about the infamous trail that had begun to dominate my thoughts and dreams. I began by making my first purchase from the then Appalachian Trail Conference (now known as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy) - a small data book, with my hard earned babysitting money. Why I bought it, I'm not sure. Maybe to have something hands-on from an official organization. I considered even joining the ATC back then, but with limited funds and my need to buy postage stamps to write letters to some forty penpals I had back then (none of them were hikers), I decided against it.
But my next big purchase was on a family outing to Shenandoah National Park. I should write a blog about my odyssey as a young person to Shenandoah. I credit those trips to that national park with feeding my fascination for the AT more than anything else. But that is another blog. At the Big Meadows Visitor Center, my beady little eyes found my book of books - Ed Garvey's original book about his first hike on the trail - Appalachian Hiker, Adventure of a Lifetime, copyright 1971. I have read that book at least 20 times. Still do, once a year. Amazing that the cover is still on it. But I love that book.
Other books about the trail that I have read and enjoyed -
Blind Courage by Bill Irwin - the story about the blind hiker who completed the AT with his guide dog, Orient, back in the early nineties. If you have physical limitations, read this man's story. You will be inspired in body and in soul.
There Are Mountains to Climb by Jean Deeds - a great journal by a thru hiker writing of her adventures
White Blaze Fever by William Schuette - a journal coupled with helpful hints makes this an interesting read
The Appalachian Trail - A Journey to Discovery by Jan Curran - this author tells it like it is with more description about his personal quest on the trail. This book covers the first part of the journey, and I need to read the others.
And, of course, I have scanned trail data books as well- Thru Hiker's Companion, Dan "Wingfoot's" data book, ATC trail guides to name a few.