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AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
Audiobook10 hours

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

Written by David Miller

Narrated by Christopher Lane

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

3.5/5

()

About this audiobook

In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to hike 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller's account of this thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Listeners are treated to rich descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the rewards of taking a less conventional path through life. While this audiobook abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about hiking gear and planning. This is not merely a travel guide; it is a beautifully written and highly personal view into one man's journey and the insights gained by abandoning what is comfortable and routine.

"David Miller's AWOL 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 Director of the Appalachian Trail Museum

LanguageEnglish
Release dateNov 20, 2012
ISBN9781469242972
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
Author

David Miller

David Miller is a 36-year veteran of military service and the author of 25 books, most of them on defense. He lives in England.

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Reviews for AWOL on the Appalachian Trail

Rating: 3.5905172413793105 out of 5 stars
3.5/5

232 ratings27 reviews

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    There is a library full of books about hiking the Appalachian Trail, David Miller's 2003 account is the first one I've read. It's well written, I felt I was hiking alongside Miller sharing the strained ankles, blistered feet, constant hunger, wet, beautiful views and feelings of elation and freedom. Nothing particularly exciting happens that is out of the ordinary for a hiker, but it's never boring and gives an accurate sense of what it is like.Like all good travel literature, the journey is both literal and allegorical, there is the physical conquest of space, and an internal journey of growth. In taking the trip Miller is seeking an escape from his ordinary life as a 9-5 cubicle worker, as he says early in the book, "I see a benefit in thru-hiking. It is an escape from me." Yet hiking the AT nowadays, while laudable, is also very ordinary, accomplished by hundreds every year. Miller hikes the trail in a very ordinary way, sleeping in shelters, hiking northward, not diverging from the white blaze or missing any step of the trail, sleeping and eating in towns. Is it any surprise when Miller finds in the end that "there has been no epiphany.. I have no insight in how I can return [to the real word] and avoid the doldrums that brought me here." Perhaps this is the books inner message and lesson, that seeking the extraordinary in an ordinary way leads to more of the same; to experience true change we have to step beyond boundaries, off the beaten track. Miller touches on this again when he says, in what I thought was the most insightful quote of the book, "the perception of disadvantage is more debilitating than disadvantage itself", that is, perception creates limitations, the key to freedom comes from within. They are just words easy to understand (and just as quickly forget), but to really absorb that lesson is well worth a few months on the AT.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    2/5
    poorly written, with super awkward transititions that made it extremely difficult to tell whether time had passed between one event and another.

    the writing was also very dry and blunt, which would have been fine if the author didn't the habit of going on long tangents about how his old life was so awful and boring. did not finish
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    I started this book about a year ago when I was hikign every weekend and driving an hour or more to trailheads, but put it down at some point and only recently picked it back up again. I'm glad I did. I will most likely do a tru-hike sometime in my life and this book got me very excited about it. It inspired me to go find a bunch more books about tru-hiking. If you're not a hiker, this book is not for you. Not much happens - it's more about the trails of long term backpacking, the people David met on his hiking, and some hiker humor. As a hiker, I enjoyed all the inside jokes and could relate to his advice and accomplishments.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    My first AT journal and much of it sounded like travelogue drivel...places I've never been and won't go explained in detail. However, I suppose that if you're a hiker, it makes sense to talk about such details. I'd have like the book best if he talked more about the people involved: those he met on the trail, follow up with those he met on the trail; family coping with his departure, etc. I particularly enjoyed the parts of the book where something unique happened: sprained ankle, a new joint he explored, Eldon's adventures. And, what ever happened to his best hiking buddies?
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    This was an interesting memoir of the author under his "trail-name" of AWOL making a "thru-hike" on the approx. 2,200 mile route of the Appalachian Trail. I think the year was 2003 and the book originally appeared in 2006 but has had an epilogue and update added in this 2010 edition which was also made available as an audiobook.For actual hiking tips and detailed trail information the same author's "The A.T. Guide Southbound" (2017) & "The A.T. Guide Northbound" (2015) sound like essential take-alongs.Generally speaking there is nothing very dramatic about the events in the A.T. memoir. Encounters with bears are probably the most fraught with possible danger but fortunately the author was able to avoid any actual confrontations, despite several close sightings and encounters. Apparently only a few hundred people are able to complete the thru-hike each year despite a few thousand who start it. The dropouts due to exhaustion and injury take a toll. Miller wore out 6 pairs of shoes/boots on his trek and lost 8 toenails (which of course grow back, but still the idea of losing nails due to walking is somewhat gross).The Appalachian Trail is considered one of the Triple Crown of American long distance hikes of which the others are the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. The latter was famously written about in the memoir "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" which was made into a film. Cheryl Strayed's book had more of an emotional personal struggle attached to it, but David Miller's memoir was just as engrossing and can serve as a similar inspiration for people who are seeking to achieve something outside of the norm and to take a risk in life.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    This book could have been much better if Miller spent more time describing the hiking trail, the equipment, the do's and don'ts and less time naming other AT hikers. OK we get it, people take on pseudonyms but do we really need to get everyone you passed into the book or was that a way of selling more books? How did he prepare and get in shape for this? He said he rarely hiked and wasn't in shape but I find it hard to believe he went from the couch to the trail the next day. All that said I still found Miller's writing style easy and enjoyable. However I was always left wondering if the next passage would include equipment descriptions or some helpful information about the next segment of the trail. Instead the book is little more than a story. You might say so what, but the book is advertised as the manual for hiking the AT.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Another great book about hiking; my third in two months. This one is by a man and his solo adventure of five months on the AT. It convinced me that I'm not interested in doing such a long and arduous hike myself, although I would like to do a much less challenging one myself someday. David Miller had an incredible supportive wife, as he quit his job and left her and their three young daughters in order to do this hike. I liked his writing style and thoroughly enjoyed myself as I vicariously hiked along with him, lol, the length of the trail. I recommend this book, especially if you enjoy travel adventure as I do.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Miller's book kept me entranced from the first chapter and I read non-stop for a couple of hours. Not only was the description of the sometimes colorful characters he ran into on his sojourns amusing and poignant but his thought process appealed to mine as it bought to mind my own thoughts while I was out there. The first three chapters were particularly appealing to me as I had been out there in the same region and it seemed, like just yesterday that I too had walked this way. When he says "Alone, cruising serenely through the woods, is a situation that nurtures emotional liberation. In the bustle of everyday life there is no time for frivolous thoughts", I recalled the stressful time that I was going through with my divorce prior to my hike and remember how the AT was my head clearing mission.

    As his journey along the trail we feel the distance he has put between him and the distant outside world, and how satisfying it is to sometimes put all our worries aside, and just live for today when he confides "In suburbia the din of traffic, machines, and the voices of other people were the norm. I didn't feel harassed by noise. In the forest I appreciate the quiet and the clarity of thought that it induces. It is a welcome unanticipated benefit. I feel unstressed, fit, alert and invigorated ..." He goes on to reiterate these thoughts a little later when he adds "...I have come to recognize that most of what is memorable and pleasing about my time on the trail are ordinary moments in the outdoors......It is fulfilling to be saturated with the sights, sounds and smells..."

    For those uninitiated in the AT, and for those that have hiked on it themselves, the book captivates and enthralls, and we are as excited as Miller is when he reaches his goal at Mt. Katahdin and completes his 2170 mile thru-hike from Georgia to Maine.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    tough trail that many hickers love, to hate ,its cool.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    The real journey as it happens, an unembeished AT experience. I was 100% immersed.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Excellent writing - beautiful detail of the trail experiences, challenges and relationships. A wonderful account of the uniqueness of the various trail sections, terrain and geologic descriptions, physical and personal struggles, trail ‘culture’, on and on. All done with a good bit of humor thrown in. A very entertaining and pleasant audiobook. Really enjoyed the reader’s rendering of the account - added to the ‘read’.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    It was like I was walking the AT with him minus the blisters and missing toenails. :)
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    4/5
    An enjoyable well written book. Until listening to this story the AT was a trail I knew little about.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    The experience of hiking the AT without the blisters. Honest, interesting and relaxing.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    I have read several books about thru-hiking the AT - this is my favorite one. I feel like I learned more about what it is really like on the trail than I have through other accounts and guides. If I were to attempt even part of the trail, I would certainly get the guide that Miller has since written. I could imagine what it was truly like on the trail: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I also greatly appreciate his doing it at the time of life that he did, leaving a job to do the hike with the support of his wife and daughters. This is an encouraging read, not only about the AT but about persistence, perseverance, and reward in the end.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    5/5
    Wonderful and colorful tale of endurance, beauty, friendship and hardship.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    Good read, but I was really looking for more of the logistics of the hike - more of the, what I would perceive to be "epicness" of hiking the AT.

    Anyways, I would give this a 3.75 if I could give 1/4 stars ...
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    This book is really good with information for someone who plans to hike. I haven't done anything like a big hike so it's interesting to me to learn more. If you're looking for entertainment and inspiration, it isn't the best that I've read for that. It's mostly the facts in a no nonsense way. Reading it did help push me further in the direction of wanting to do something like this myself one day, but I know I'm definitely not in any way prepared now.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    3/5
    I don't remember much about this book other than it was enjoyable. Excellent if you are interested in the AT. Otherwise, maybe not worth the time.
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