Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail

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9780070444584: Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail

Blending sage advice with personal experiences and anecdotes, this unconventional book is an unusually thoughtful account of long-distance trekking on the Appalachian Trail. Mueser draws upon interviews and questionnaire data gathered from over 100 long distance hikers hoofing it through the Applachian Mountains.

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From the Back Cover:

"The definitive guide to long-distance backpacking. With diligence and creativity, Mueser has gone about answering questions that no one else has even asked. Virtually all the material appears nowhere else and will delight both experienced hikers and the novice with only a dream of setting foot down the trail."­­Larry Luxenber, author of Walking the Appalachian Trail

In April 1989, avid hiker Roland Muerser set off from a shelter at Springer Mountain, Georgia. His goal: to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, interviewing hikers on everything from clothing and gear to coping with loneliness and fatigue. In Long-Distance Hiking he draws on those extensive interviews, presenting hikers' candid responses to questions both practical and philosophical:

  • Which brand of backpack do most long distance hikers prefer? (page 54)
  • How much money will I need? (page 135)
  • Is a walking stick an advantage or a nuisance? (page 76)
  • What percentage of hikers wear underwear? (page 70)
  • Is it safe to hike alone? (page 19)
  • Which brand of camp stove is most efficient and easiest to pack? (page 57)
  • Is there sex on the trail? (page 147)
  • How many miles do most hikers' boots or shoes hold up? (page 46)
  • What are the most difficult aspects of long-distance hikeing? (page 138)

Both literate and entertaining, this book is a must for anyone considering a long-distance trek.

About the Author:

Proving that no sacrifice is too great in the name of science, avid hiker Roland Mueser once devised a controlled experiment and carried it out during blackfly season in the woods and swamps near his New Jersey home: He ran a 4-mile course through the woods wearing DEET repellent on alternate days, and tallied the number of bites sustained during each run.

Roland is the author of several books, and his articles have appeared in Appalachia, the Colorado Mountain Club magazine T&T, and other outdoor journals. A retired physicist, Roland is a former member of the engineering research faculty at Harvard University and Pennsylvania State University and was a research scientist for Bell Laboratories. After retiring, he thru-hiked the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail in 1989.

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