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Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail Paperback


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Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail + How to Hike the A.T.: The Nitty-Gritty Details of a Long-Distance Trek + The A.T. Guide Northbound 2014
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Product Details

  • Series: Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 1 edition (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070444587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070444584
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #638,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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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Customer Reviews

Very informative and easy reading.
michael p mcnally jr
If you only read one book before hiking the Appalachian Trail, this is the book.
A. Bogdanowicz
Anyone interested in long distance hiking would enjoy this book!
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a frequent visitor to the USA I have for a long time had an interest in the Appalacian Trail and perhaps hiking it end-to-end (or "through hiking" as it is called) one day. Once I saw the cover "blurb" for Roland's book I just had to purchase it.
You realise upon opening this book for the first time that Roland has a very insightful and engaging writing style. This is a book that you can open up at any section and commence reading without feeling disconnected.
If you want a book that follows a through hiker's day-to-day experiences when walking the trail or one that details historic, geographic or topographic information discovered along Appalacian trail, then this is NOT the book for you.
However, if you want a book that thoughtfully covers all of the things one would want to know about when preparing for through hike of the Appalacian Trail or any other very long distance hike then this could be just what you are after.
The book is based upon the things Roland gleaned from his experience through hiking the trail, and from the information gained from interviews with some 100 plus people who also through hiked the trail.
For instance, I was fascinated on the discussion as to how many pairs of boots one can expect to wear out and the advantages that lightweight boots can provide over the more expensive leather ones.
Also, one would never expect anyone to take on such a monumental task as through hiking the trail in sneakers or without a tent, yet some did and succeeded. This book brings out many things specifically relevant to very long distance hiking that the average hiker wouldn't necessarily think about. That in itself is reason enough to buy this book.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
Roland Muesser takes us along on a trip that quantifies aspects of the trail important to trail hikers and interesting to those who are new to the sport of hiking. Indeed, this book may be of even greater value to the novice hiker than the seasoned trailblazer in that it addresses critical issues for hikers such as gear and trail etiquette questions. Roland Muesser shows his respect for the trail and hiking in general and writes an inciteful and real account of what to expect and what the trail hiker comes to expect from day to day life with nothing but what you carry on your back. From mosquito protection to an amusing deerfly experiment to more serious matters of equipment and safety this book is a great one and should not be overlooked.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By The Solemates on August 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book covers just about everything possible concerning long distance hiking. The author relies on dozens of surveys he took from thru-hikers of America's long distance trails, and combines the information into easy reading. The book is a little outdated now, but still a good read.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By OlyWA hiker on December 17, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have a passion for reading books about outdoor experiences especially stories of the AT and PCT. The style is very academic the author's voice only rarely appears. The author is essentially sharing the results of a survey he did about AT thru hikers in 1989. Therin lies the main problem, he shares insights about equipment and hiking technology that is completely out of date. It is like reading about the merits of an Apple IIe vs. an IBM 286 computer to gain insights about computer technology. That said, the insights about hikers and the long distance hiking are interesting, relevant and timeless. Finally, there are many charts and list in the book that are hard to read on the original kindle (speaking of old technology). This book is WAY too expensive for a kindle title.....
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By hikingShoe on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
Roland Mueser has written a terrific book that contains the results of interviewing dozens of hikers. He chose to tackle the subjects of why thru-hike?, footwear, food, equipment, and much more. He also did some scientific testing of his own when it comes to fighting insects. Mueser did a 4-mile run in the woods with DEET and re-did the run without insect repellant so he could tally the bug bites and report his fingings.

Mueser has put together the results of over 100 surveys so that he could bring you some great information that pertains to the long distance hiker.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Bogdanowicz on February 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you only read one book before hiking the Appalachian Trail, this is the book. The book is very informative and really helping me prepare for my thru hike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "kburd" on August 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
For someone planning a thru-hike in 2003, this book is a blessing. With specific gear reviews, wonderful surveys of past thru-hikers and statistics that give you a real sense of what it takes to prepare for this incredible journey, I can say this has been the most welcomed addition of the 6 AT books that I've recently purchased on Amazon. Enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 30, 1997
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides an interesting look at many varied aspects of a long distance hike. Insight is based upon a survey of long distance hikers on the AT and covers many subjects from equipment, clothing, personalities, women's issues, food, distance travelled, thoughts of the hikers themselves and more. Anyone interested in long distance hiking would enjoy this book!
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