Overview: The Appalachian Trail Reader

A look at a favorite book of mine: The Appalachian Trail Reader.




One of the many viral trends currently happening is to list ten of your favorite books[1]. Books that have have been cherished, influenced you or you just like a lot.

As I was listing my favorites, one popped into mind that is a bit of a forgotten classic in my opinion. This classic would be The Appalachian Trail Reader edited by David Emblidge.

As I was getting ready for my own hike on the Appalachian Trail, this anthology conveniently came out. The collection inspired, excited and made me want to put one foot in front of the other for over two-thousand miles.

Fifteen years later, my copy of this book is very dog-eared.

Many books about the Appalachian Trail, and the long trails in general, are often about the long journeys taken on these trails.

But that is only one type of voice that makes up the community, culture and history that is the Appalachian Trail.

The editor of this anthology describes the book as a patch-work Appalachian quilt. And that is an apt analogy. The Appalachian Trail Reader collects writings on geology, history and the culture surrounding the AT. The book also features musings on the trail and the Appalachians in general from the raw, but powerful voices, of everyday hikers to the eloquent musings of Thoreau and Wendell Berry.

Whether reading about a conscientious objector in World War II working in the Smokies, David Horton’s historic speed hike,  Thoreau’s wanderings in the Maine woods or Wendell Berry’s musing on the end of the journey, there is something in this anthology for any person who has a passion for the Appalachian Trail.

Read it. Enjoy it. And come back again to it months or years later.

It is a wonderful book to add to the collection.

[1] The other books if anyone is truly curious….

1. Where I’m Calling From – Raymond Carver
2. Sandman series – Neil Gaiman
3. Cartoon History of the Universe – Larry Gonnick Jr.
4. Limbo – Alfred Lubrano
5. The Demon Haunted World – Carl Sagan
6. The Nine Nations of North America – Joel Garreau
7. Death is Lighter than a Feather – David Westheimer
8. An Empire Wilderness – Robert D Kaplan
9. Preserving Our Italian Heritage – cookbook
Bonus (That I almost forgot!) Cadillac Desert

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