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Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking The Appalachian Trail [Kindle Edition]

Zach Davis
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (143 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $5.00 (38%)


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Paperback $11.69  
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Book Description

“I really loved it…Appalachian Trials is full of specific tactical tips for mental preparation, which is key well beyond the AT.” - Tim Ferriss, author of New York Times Best Selling The 4-Hour Workweek and The 4-Hour Body.

Each year, it is estimated that more than 2,000 people set out to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, yet seven in ten ultimately fall short of their goal. Given the countless number of how-to books and websites offering information about logistics, gear, and endurance training, one would think that more people would finish this 2,200 mile trek. Why then, do so many hikers quit prematurely?

After successfully thru-hiking the AT in five months with zero prior backpacking experience, author, Zach Davis, is convinced he’s discovered the answer. Aspiring thru-hikers, Davis tells readers, are preparing the wrong way- sweating on the StairMaster, meticulously plotting each re-supply box, or obsessing over the perfect sleeping bag or pair of socks.

While the AT undoubtedly presents extraordinary physical challenges, it is the psychological and emotional struggles that drive people off the trail. Conquering these mental obstacles is the key to success. This groundbreaking book focuses on the most important and overlooked piece of equipment of all- the gear between one’s ears.

Filled with first-hand, moving yet light-hearted vignettes and down-to-earth advice that instructs and inspires, Appalachian Trials gives readers the mental road map they’ll need to hike from Springer Mountain to Mt.Katahdin.

In Appalachian Trials readers will learn:
• Effective goal setting techniques that will assure you reach Mt. Katahdin
• The common early stage pitfalls and how to avoid them
• How to beat “the Virginia Blues”
• The importance of and meaning behind “hiking your own hike”
• 5 strategies for unwavering mental endurance
• The most common mistake made in the final stretch of the trail
• The top method for staving off stress
• Tips for enjoying rather than enduring each of the five million steps along the journey
• Strategies for avoiding post-trail depression and weight gain

In addition, the Bonus Section of Appalachian Trials includes:
• A thorough chapter on gear written by thru-hiker of the AT and Pacific Crest Trail, and professional backpack gear reviewer
• Information about the trail's greatest and most unknown risk and how to guard against it
• 9 tips for saving money before and during your thru-hike
• A thorough FAQ section including information ranging from how to obtain sponsorship, to the best stove for the trail, to avoiding chafing, and much more!

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Zach Davis is an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, writer, and uncompromising dream chaser with a passionate disdain for convention. You can read more of his adventures at

Product Details

  • File Size: 615 KB
  • Print Length: 173 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0985090103
  • Publisher: Good Badger Publishing (February 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0074U5L58
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,544 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Simply Brilliant February 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I am preparing for a 2013 NOBO Thru-hike. I have been reading any book I can get my hands on to help prepare me for the adventure that lies ahead. I have yet to read a bad book however this is the first one that really speaks to the truth of the trail. Many people try to "sell the trail" and only provide the best parts of the trail and what worked best for them. Very few folks actually write about what they did that did not work. This book is 100% from the heart no BS straight up telling it how it really is. I had heard that the mental trail is harder to hike than the physical trial and after reading this book I feel absolutely no questions asked prepared to take on the trail both mentally and physically. Thanks Zach for writing this book.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant delve into the hiking mind. February 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anyone will tell you that a long-distance hike isn't purely a physical feat but mainly a mental one. But even with that common knowledge, I had yet to see a book about long distance hiking that emphasizes the mental process that a hiker goes through on his/her journey, until I picked up Appalachian Trials. Appalachian Trials focuses on those psychological pressures that a person could face while hiking the Appalachian Trail. It is singularly the most important part of the journey, yet rarely touched upon in most prep books.

Zach Davis' wit and humor bring his story and advice alive, creating a pleasing and entertaining read. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone planning a long-distance backpacking trip, not only for the mental exercises contained within, but also for the bundle of laughs his humor excites.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the read! February 6, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
There are a lot of hiking books out there, especially for the Appalachian Trail, but this book focuses on the psychological challenge a thru-hike presents. It talks about the mindset needed to complete the hike and gives you exercises (mental, not physical) to complete before and on the trail. Personally, I found this really helpful in my planning process.

And don't worry, for all you gear junkies out there... there is also a section devoted to this very topic. There is a contribution from an hiker who has completed both the AT and the PCT. He shared his vast knowledge, complete with a gear checklist.

I definitely recommend this book if you are considering any long distance hike.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a book, this is a lesson on living!!! February 20, 2012
By Omega
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book on Kindle a few days ago and actually took notes. The wife is asking if I feel OK(I've never taken notes of anything I've read since completing college and didn't take many then). This isn't just a "Hiking the A.T." book. This is a book on living life to it's fullest and how to laugh in the face of misery. Do as Zach says, not as he sometimes does(read the book)!!
I live about 45 minutes from Springer Mtn. I'm in these woods often doing short 4-5 day section hikes by myself(my preference). Have met many people on the trail. Everything Zach talks about in the book resonates truth. There's no sugar coating or embelishing life on the trail in this book. I couldn't tell you how many books I've read on hiking, gear, nature and social aspects of life on the trail. Never have I picked up a book like this one(read the book).
I often dream of doing a thru-hike while reading these stories. Living vicariously through the eyes of the author. I say that because I'm 50 years young. In descent shape for an old fart, have a job, wife, daughter in college(not cheap). It's just not the thing a responsible dude does, right. Wrong! After reading Zach's book, I've got a fire lit under my bum like never before.
Many of the lessons, and daily rituals Zach talks about(read the book), I currently practice. ie: meditation, acceptance, this too shall pass. I learned them from a little group I belong to that will remain anaonymous.
Well Zach, thanks for the shove. I'm doing this! I have the gear; I'll make the time; I've been section hiking for several years, and now, after reading your book, I know I have the mental fortitude to laugh in the face of misery.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a must read for anyone who plans on doing a thru-hike or lives along a trail and helps the hikers (Trail Angels)!! Actually, anyone interested in hiking should read this! Mr. Davis's ability to convey the psychological and emotional challenges of a long distance hike are like nothing else I have read. It is amazing,informational and intriguing! He has an uncanny way of making you want to hang on every word until you reach Mt. Katahdin. I really opened my eyes to the intensity of a thru-hike beyond the physical. Appalachian Trials is the BEST book I've read in a LONG LONG Time!!! And BONUS... the Appendix is just as enjoyable as the book. I learned so much and will be referencing this book when I plan my PCT hike!
Pick a copy up for yourself or send it as a gift to your outdoorsy friends!! I can hardly wait to get my hands on the paper copy, in fact, I might need more than one... one for my guest room, one for my bookshelf and one to carry when the battery on my phone dies and I can't open my Kindle app!
Well Done, Zach Davis! Thank you for sharing your brilliance and insight on an aspect of hiking that is just as important, if not more important, than your physical strength.
LOVED LOVED LOVED this book!!!!
Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking The Appalachian Trail BUY IT! :)
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Another view of the AT
Well written and very believable.
Published 10 days ago by David N. Westfall
4.0 out of 5 stars Appalachian Trials
This book is pretty short, I read it in a few hours. Definitely worth purchasing if you are considering a thru-hike, as I have been. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Arianna Pompea
5.0 out of 5 stars Unique niche
I enjoyed it. Easy read, entertaining, and informative.
I suggest this to anyone wanting to round out their thru-hike knowledge base after you've read the other how to's
Published 25 days ago by Jeff Fowler
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best pieces of backpacking gear you will ever buy.
If you have ever long distanced hiked you can relate to Zach's book. As a teenager in the scouts, I went on more than few long distance trips on the AT while leading younger... Read more
Published 1 month ago by J. Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for thru-hikers
A short read without a word of fluff! Don't step onto the trail before you read this!

It's not a trail journal. Read more
Published 1 month ago by JT
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book for anyone who has never done something like ...
Zach's book focuses on the psychological aspects of doing a thru-hike, excellent book for anyone who has never done something like this, a great reminder for those who have.
Published 1 month ago by Michael Kane
4.0 out of 5 stars The best book I've read on the Appalachian Trail
The best book I've read on the Appalachian Trail. I had a spell of reading a lot of these books and this was one of the most enjoyable. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Simon van Wyk
5.0 out of 5 stars but it's SUPER helpful to have all of the doubts running through ...
Nothing groundbreaking here, but it's SUPER helpful to have all of the doubts running through the back of your mind confronted in an organized way! On top of that it's a fun read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by lamarr eddings
4.0 out of 5 stars Great advice for a forgotten aspect of a thru hike - Mental...
Folks tend to ignore the mental aspects. Zach gives some good advice to help in maintaining a positive mental outlook plus you find out his blog address which is another great... Read more
Published 1 month ago by BGR
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
My husband said this book is quite humerous
Published 1 month ago by Rebecca Perere
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