Nov 14, 2006 at 8:51 am #1220219
aaron eshelmanBPL Member
@djaaronreedLocale: Central Rockies
So, as the subject askes,what is the best thru hiking book? It can be fictional or non, about any trail, and any author.
I’m starting to research now for a 2008 hike.
Thanks in advance!Nov 14, 2006 at 11:15 am #1367111
Brad RogersBPL Member
@mocs123Locale: Southeast Tennessee
A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonNov 14, 2006 at 11:18 am #1367113
Doug JohnsonBPL Member
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
Beyond Backpacking by Ray Jardine. Quirky but a classic for sure!Nov 14, 2006 at 5:14 pm #1367175
robert coursonBPL Member
@bertcoursonLocale: lake michigan
If you get past laughing and consider the “truth” of the book, I agree. There is no fairytail ending and the incidents all seem real. It seems to me to be non-technical but with a great deal of truth conveyed in the stories he tells, sort of like the old way of telling stories to tell history. The gist of the book rings true. As they say in the comedy circles, there is always an element of truth in a good joke.Nov 14, 2006 at 8:09 pm #1367191
@tarbubbleLocale: dirtville, CA
doug, i think robert was referring to A Walk In The Woods, not Beyond Backpacking.Nov 14, 2006 at 9:28 pm #1367199
Aaron SorensenBPL Member
@awsorensenLocale: South of Forester Pass
I want to see a book called
Beyond the Basics
By: Bill Fornshell; after his
thru-hike next year.Nov 15, 2006 at 4:21 am #1367209
Michele MasonBPL Member
Walking on the Happy Side of Misery by J.R. “Model-T” Tate, a real AT thru hiker who hiked the trail this year, I believe for the 4th time. This book is hilarious, but informative
On the Beaten Path by Robert Rubin is a close second, but is a very different book. The author set out to “find himself” on the trail, though frowned on by his wife. He thru hiked as well and finished.Nov 15, 2006 at 6:51 am #1367219
Jonathan DuckettBPL Member
@thunderheadLocale: Great Smoky Mountains
I’ve never read it, but I hear good things about Wingfoot’s book. http://WWW.Trailplace.comNov 15, 2006 at 7:00 pm #1367291
Tom ClarkBPL Member
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
I agree that “Walking on the Happy Side of Misery” and “On the Beaten Path” are two of the better ones. Well written, with a good mixture of human and trail descriptions.Nov 17, 2006 at 12:51 pm #1367497
Don WilsonBPL Member
@don-1-2-2Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
For the PCT, try “A Blistered Kind of Love”. It’s written by a young couple who hiked together.
For general ideas, I agree with Doug that Beyond Backpacking is great. Take some of the advice with a grain of salt, but Ray is inspiring and creative, if controversial.
For trail info, try Hiking The Triple Crown. This book gives an overview of the AT, PCT and CDT, and also gives a good overview of thru hiking jargon and tecehniques.
I didn’t care for A Walk in the Woods much. I thought it exagerated the hike and although funny, it didn’t represent much about the best aspects of a long hike.Nov 17, 2006 at 5:35 pm #1367515
Bill LawBPL Member
@williamlawLocale: SF Bay Area
I much preferred Jardine’s previous edition (called something like _PCT Thru-Hikers Handbook_?).
Didn’t have all the x-files type stuff that is in the current edition.
Definitely this book gets better if your thru hike is the PCT rather than some other trail.Nov 18, 2006 at 11:16 am #1367576
J. R. Tate’s book is fantastic and very authentic. It only covers his first through-hike in 1990, but it very closely reflected my own 99 through hike.
A neat book packed with factoids is Roland Mueser’s Lessons learned from the Appalachian Trail. It was computed from a host of surveys from through-hikers during his 89 through-hike.Nov 18, 2006 at 5:15 pm #1367595
@chumangoLocale: East TN
Try As Far as the Eye Can See, by David Brill. It is not a detailed description about his through hike of the AT, but a number of reflections on the experience. It will get you in the mood to go for a long walk.Nov 18, 2006 at 5:27 pm #1367596
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
At the risk of dating myself (and those who recognize what follows), let me suggest some “earlier” editions by Cindy Ross:
“A Woman’s Jouney” 1982
Appalachian Trial Conference
The story of Cindy’s AT through-hike, including her original drawings; now out of print but well worth the search for a copy.
“Journey On The Crest” 1987
Published by The Mountaineers, Seattle, WA
A highly detailed account of her 2 year trek of the Pacific Crest Trail, also includes some of her on-trail sketches.
Wandering BobNov 18, 2006 at 7:26 pm #1367609
Don WilsonBPL Member
@don-1-2-2Locale: Koyukuk River, Alaska
Another classic: The High Adventure of Eric Ryback for a 1970 or so PCT hike by an 18 year old. Though it turned out that he did not hike the entire trail, this is still a good read and was instrumental in my interest in long distance hiking.Nov 19, 2006 at 5:42 pm #1367661
Michele MasonBPL Member
Of course, there’s always the free option. It’s more fun during the season, but check out http://www.trailjournals.com for current journals. Many folks, including myself, record their journals there. Happy reading!Nov 21, 2006 at 12:14 pm #1367869
@jndavisLocale: Isle of Man
John Hillaby’s Journey through Britain inspired hundreds to walk the length of the country.
But for me, the book which got me to put boots on my feet (and to keep my porridge dry) was Hamish’s Mountain Walk, by Hamish Brown. It was re-published, twinned with his lesser, Corbett’s book, by Baton Wicks.Nov 23, 2006 at 2:02 pm #1368206
Chris TownsendBPL Member
@christownsendLocale: Cairngorms National Park
The Thousand-Mile Summer and
The Man Who Walked Through Time, both by Colin Fletcher. The best backpacking books in my opinion.
Journey Through Britain by John Hillaby was my original inspiration and Hamish’s Mountain Walk inspired me to start Munro bagging so I am fond of both these too.Nov 25, 2006 at 8:45 am #1368325
@jfdiberianLocale: Columbia River Gorge
I hated this book, partly because it was a non-technical (romance?), partly because it was a romance without anything insightful. It wasn’t funny either. Maybe their posterity will enjoy it for sure, but I was sorely dissapointed. In fact I burned the pages as I read so nobody else would have to endure it.
Another reason I hated reading this book is because there’s this guy who’s going to graduate from med school soon and he has this hot girlfriend and he’s complaining??? Excuse me but WAAAAAAA :( I wish I could get my wife to go on a dayhike with me.Nov 25, 2006 at 11:24 pm #1368379
Rod LawlorBPL Member
I agree with Chris. This is a great book. It’s part ripping yarn, part instruction manual.
It also shows how lightweight is a headspace, as much as it is about gear. And it reminds some of us about how we used to prepare/plan a trip, before the internet arrived. How much anticipation we would generate by writing away for maps and information.
(look for me over in the corner, stroking my beard!)Nov 26, 2006 at 1:12 am #1368384
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush
The Long Walk
and of course:
The Ascent of Rum Doodle
W E BowmanNov 26, 2006 at 9:20 am #1368395
The Man Who Walked Through Time made me want to through-hike the Grand Canyon. Of course I’m pretty sure that with all the permit requirements nowadays, such a hike would be pretty much impossible.
What surprises me is that there are no modern narratives that come readily to mind of a PCT or CDT through-hike. Eric Ryback’s book is very dated and, it seems just a bit of a tall tale in places, though the enormity of his accomplishment still has to be admired. But with the volume of PCT through-hikers, I can’t imagine that any one hasn’t written a solid, readable narrative.Nov 26, 2006 at 9:51 am #1368396
when you can read ’em all? Here’s my attempt to compile an exhaustive list of PCT books in no particular order. If I’ve missed something, please let me know.
DANCES WITH MARMOTS A PACIFIC CREST TRAIL ADVENTURE By George Spearing
Pacific Dream – A PCT through-Hike by John Illig.
One Hundred Mile Summers: Hiking the PCT from Mexico to Canada by Eleanor Guilford.
Reading The Trail: Exploring The Literature And Natural History Of The California Crest by Prof. Corey Lewis of Umboldt State University
Pacific Crest Trailway (1937-’45; Clinton C. Clark)
Pacific Crest Trails (1946; by Joseph Hazard)
The High Adventure of Eric Ryback (1971; Ryback)
Hiking the Oregon Skyline (the PCT Nat’l Scenic Trail) (1973 by Charles Feris)
The Pacific Crest Trail (1975; by William Gray-Nat’l Geographic Society)
The Pacific Crest Trail: Escape to the Wilderness (1975; by Ann & Myron Sutton)
The Pacific Crest Trail Planning Guide (1976; by Chuck Long)
A Pacific Crest Odyssey:Walking the Trail from Mexico to Canada (1979; by David Green)
The Trail North: A Solo Journey on the Pacific Crest (1981; by Hawk Greenway)
2500-Mile Walk (1981; by Karl Ellingson)
Two on the Trail: A thousand miles on the PCT (1985; by Ann Marshall)
Six Moon Trail (1986; by Tom Marshburn)
Journey on the Crest (1987; by Cindy Ross)
The PCT Hikers Handbook (1992-’96 by Ray Jardine)
Soul, Sweat and Survival on the Pacific Crest Trail (1994; by Bob Holtel)
Along the Pacific Crest Trail (1998; by Berger/Smith/Smith)
Step by Step along the PCT (1998; by Tricia Andryszewski)
The Great Allen Downs Pacific Crest Trail Adventure (1999; Downs)
The PCT: A Hiker’s Companion (2000; by Karen Berger/Dan Smith)
Hiking the Triple Crown (2001; Karen Berger/Dan Smith)
Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail: Islands of Solitude (2001; by Jim Manning)
Walking Down a Dream (2002; by Natasha Carver)
A Blistered Kind of Love (2003; by Angela & Duffy Ballard)
The Trail Home: Along the Pacific Crest (2003; by Alfred Wohlpart)
Trekking Along: The PCT Through Southern California (2003; by Hal Margolis)
The Fastest Hike: Quest for the PCT Record (2004; by Ray Greenlaw)
Walk with Me (2004; by Martin McCorkle)
The (current) PCT Guidebooks (3) (by Schaffer, et al) Lots of older ones out there.
The PCT Data Book (by Benedict Go) Plenty of older editions out there.
The PCT Town Guide (by Leslie Croot) (Plenty of older ones out there too.)
PCT by 2 (by Ben & Adeline York)
Day Hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail: California (by George & Patricia Semb)
Day Hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail: Oregon & Washington (by George & Patricia Semb)
The Best of the Pacific Crest Trail Washington: 55 Hikes (by Dan A. Nelson)
25 Hikes Along the Pacific Crest Trail (by Don Skillman, et al)
High trails: Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail in Washington, (by Louise B Marshall)
Yogi’s PCT Handbook (by Jackie McDonnell)
Journey (Being An Historical Adventure Through The Lands of the Pacific
Crest Trail – North From The California/Baja Border Onto The Oregon
Frontier) (1975; U.S. Forest Service, California Region)
2500-Mile Walk: An Oldtimer on the Pacific Crest Trail (Paperback)
by Karl EllingsonNov 26, 2006 at 10:04 am #1368397
I am interested in the claim that Ryback fabricated parts of his story. So far as I can tell, that’s never been proven. There are two areas of skepticism of which I am aware:
1. Apparently the narrative skips through some sections making it appear that Ryback completed superhuman mileage. I haven’t tried to verify this myself. It seems possible that this is a narrative device used to shorten the book or lack of accuracy on Ryback’s part as opposed to fabrication.
2. Ryback once sued some folks for libel who had accused him of fabrications in the book. Ryback eventually dismissed the lawsuit and some have concluded that this means he has admitted that he lied. Drawing that conclusion from the mere fact that he decided to abandon the litigation is unwarranted.
If anyone can point me to more information on the Ryback story, please do so.
Wayne KraftNov 28, 2006 at 7:47 pm #1368649
Try Chris Townsend’s books; he is too modest to mention them. I especially liked Walking the Yukon and next I want to read Crossing Arizona.
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