Mini Book Review of “Lost on Purpose: Adventures of a 21st Century Mountain Man” by Patrick Taylor

Patrick Taylor set out to follow the Lewis and Clark Trail in the midst of winter; traversing some of the most dangerous terrain imaginable. This title serves as his journal throughout the adventure. On one hand, I found myself fascinated that such adventures were still possible in the modern day. On the other, I was put of by the author’s ego. He fancies himself a modern mountain main, and I would argue he is, but he is certainly impressed with himself … an it shows a bit. Despite the self adoration, Taylor’s adventure makes for an incredible read. His insistence to follow the exact path of Lewis and Clark places the author in some precarious situations and I found myself swept up in the tale. I do recommend this for anyone interested in the outdoors, hiking, or survival.

Mini Book Review of “Sauntering Thru: Lessons in Ambition, Minimalism, and Love on the Appalachian Trail” by Codey James Howell PHD

This book continued my trend of Appalachian Trail and hiking related titles in 2022. I again found myself fascinated by the idea of thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. Howell’s work only served to whet my appetite even more for such an experience. Howell, who goes by the trail handle of Raiden, intended this book as a sort of journal recording his day to day activities on the trail, however, in the end it turned into so much more. On the trail Raiden met his future wife Chilli Bin. As the pair make progress on the trail, readers are treated to an account of their deepening relationship. Time seems to stand still for the pair of hikers and I found myself sad for them both as the trail came to an end.

This book does a wonderful job of demonstrating the magical nature of the Appalachian Trail and serves to elevate it to nearly mythical proportions. It’s a wonderful read for any interested in the trail.

Mini Book Review of “Walking Home: Common Sense and Other Misadventures on the Pacific Coast Trail” by Rick Rogers

Having read multiple accounts of thru hikers on the Appalachian Trail, I wanted to switch it up and read something about the Pacific Coast Trail. Written, I suspect, as a tribute to his son who joined him for a portion of the hike, Rick Rogers’ book was exactly what I was looking for. Rogers approaches this hiking memoir in a clever, light-hearted manner. I especially enjoined his anecdotes about the people he encountered along the way. I was surprised to discover I became a tiny bit invested in these people and couldn’t help but wonder what had come of them after Rogers (trail name Finn) completed his thru hike.

Like other thru hiking memoirs I’ve read, this one is far less “how to” than it is simply Finn spinning a yarn about his hike. I am completely unfamiliar with the Pacific Coast Trail so I found this fairly interesting. Honestly, there were parts of this book that made the PCT fairly unappealing. The Appalachian Trail seems far superior with less odd ducks and deserts …. it did whet my appetite, however, to learn more about the PCT. I would love to visit sometime and hike its more appealing sections.

This one will appeal to anyone interested in the PCT.

Mini Book Review of “Only When I Step On It: One Man’s Inspiring Journey to His the Appalachian Trail Alone” by Peter Conti

Plagued by a past injury and chronic pain, this book chronicles author Peter Conti’s quest for healing on the Appalachian Trail. While not technically a thru hiker, Conti tackled the AT over the course of 2 years. His hypothesis was simple, to hike every mile of the AT, the chronic and severe pain he suffered from a hip injury would have to heal and, ultimately, disappear. Conti’s story is very much one of overcoming debilitation. I would recommend this for anyone who is at the wrong end of climb. It could be injury, age, weight, bad circumstances … whatever the obstacle, Conti’s story serves as an example of what can be accomplished with patience, grit, and determination.

Mini Book Review of “Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike” by John Gignilliat

While not a literary masterpiece, this book is charming. It details the daily journal of a couple’s thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. It includes the interesting things they saw, people they encountered, places they stayed, and even their meals. A careful read will glean some good tips that can be used on extended hiking trips. I may never get to thru-hike the entire AT, but I hope to put some of the author’s tips to good use. I gave this book five stars simply because I find the topic so interesting. If you don’t share my interest in the Appalachian Trail or extended hiking trips, this may not be the book for you.

Mini Book Review of “Wandering Ohio: A Buckeye Trail Thru-Hike” by Chuck and Beth Hewitt

I have long entertained the notion of embarking on an extended hike. This book reads like a daily journal sharing what it’s like to through hike the looped Buckeye Trail that traverses my home state of Ohio. I enjoyed reading about this couple’s adventure even if I found myself wanting just a little more specific information about the ins and outs of the trail itself. After reading this one, I’ve reached the conclusion that the Buckeye Trail may be better suited for section hiking than a through hike, but their feat was impressive nonetheless. This is a good read if you are interested in this sort of thing.

It should be pointed out that this not a “how to” guide book. If I understand correctly, the authors have guide book that can be purchased on the Buckeye Trail Association website. This is a journal. You will learn a lot about Chuck and Beth Hewitt and the interesting places they ate and stayed, but you will not get a technical guide on hiking the Buckeye Trail.

Mini Book Review of “AWOL on the Appalachian Trail” by David Miller

AWOLThis is a book about a guy hiking the Appalachian Trail. It is not full of action or excitement. He didn’t have to battle any bears or mountain lions with his bare hands. Rather, he just walked. But his story is engaging. David Miller quit his job to begin his quest of hiking the entire trail and as I read I became invested in his adventure. I wanted him to succeed. It took me quite awhile to read as I often put it aside in favor of other books, but I always found myself returning to check on his progress. Hikers and outdoor enthusiasts are sure to find this book interesting and, to make it more enticing, I’m pretty sure I found it for free on the Kindle.