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Make Your First Thru-Hike a Success by [Lewis, Brian]
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Make Your First Thru-Hike a Success Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Length: 131 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 1187 KB
  • Print Length: 131 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: December 5, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AJ68TVW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #106,255 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Actually, Charles Grier wrote this review; the e-book was purchased on J. Kathleen's account. I really enjoyed this e-book; I downloaded it to my Kindle on a windy, rainy December day and read it through with only a few brief breaks. I would like to see it published in print, however, since I prefer turning pages to pushing buttons. I read the book from the perspective of someone whose thru-hiking experience is more limited than is the author's triple-crown achievement: I have hiked the John Muir Trail twice, solo; once in 1954 as a teenager and again in 2008 and solo-hiked what is probably mostly now the PCT from the Canadian border to Snoqualmie Pass, Washington in 1957. Much of what Mr. Lewis discusses in his book, especially his description of the sense of freedom one gains from thru-hiking does resonate with my more limited experience.

What I most liked about the book was the author's emphasis on the "psychological" aspects and the "how-to-deal-with-it" side of thru-hiking rather than a strong focus on gear and mechanics. The early chapters deal with subjects such as: "Can I Really Do It?", "Why Would I Want To?", "Challenges" and "Reasons for `Failure'". These chapters alone make the book well worth its modest price. Subsequent chapters on "Managing the off-trail aspects", "Logistics", "How to Do It: On-Trail" and the chapter on gear are also well worth reading and cover the subjects from a perspective different from that of many of the more gear-obsessed writers. The author writes from what is, in my opinion, a balanced perspective. He views his gear as a means to an end and states that after a few weeks on the trail one thinks mostly about the country, the walking, food and the wonderful sense of freedom rather than ones equipment.
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This is a good first read book to see if a thru hike would interest you and transition from a dream to a possibility. If AWOL on the AT or Skywalkers books stirred the dream, this book will start your planning process. I have already thought about most of what he wrote, yet this book did help my confidence. It served as a remediation and culmination of ideas and thoughts but could easily serve as a beginning point or guide. I appreciated the way the author did not preach or push his philosophy; but simply stated what he thought were keys to success based on his experience. Everything in the book can be found searching the net, but it is in a nice concise easy read.
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This is not a book full of lists of things to buy and gear to get, instead it's full of useful guidance and suggestions to steer you towards making the best choices for your personal style of hiking. Even experienced hikers can benefit from the reminders of critical - but sometimes overlooked - aspects of long hikes.
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I am not a thru-hiker. 4 or 5 days out at a time is my maximum.

Brian is a master of simplification. For instance, his reminder that a campsite is just a place to eat and sleep is a good one for people trying to get a lot of miles.

His suggestion to time how long it takes to break camp in the morning is great. I live in Colorado. The best hiking weather and the most spectacular views are early in the morning. I like to get up at the first hint of light and start moving near sunrise. Breakfasts (yes, I eat two) can wait until I'm on the trail and it warms up a bit. Then I get a break and I eat, too.

His summaries of the PCT, CDT and AT are really useful to people trying to decide which one to hike.

The appendix has many links for buying gear from cottage industries.

This is not a hiking journal. You can read the journals at postholer. They are good reading. I hope he publishes those, too.

I will read this book several times. Most likely, I will learn something new each time.
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I got this thinking it would be a kind of checklist of preparatory steps the prepare for the hike. This is not what it was, although it contained pointers to material for that purpose. It did have a lot of insight from someone who has done a lot of this before, and which could be missed in something taking the checklist approach. I would recommend it for anyone contemplating a through hike of a long trail.
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I got a big "kick" out of this book, and it is a quick read. The author comes across as an intelligent practical person when it comes to the many elements required of "thru hiking" such as planning, hardships like weather,insects, camping,light weight back packing, hot or cold food, navigation required to stay on the trails, and a "dogged" determination to complete the trail. Much like "Rodeo Cowboys, loggers, fly fishermen, etc", "thru hikers" seem to take pride as a group to mingle with others who have accomplished this title. Maybe even more so because there are less "thru walkers" than people in the other groups. To complete the triple crown trails such as Pacific Crest, Continental Divide, and the Appalachian Trail (all 3 perhaps around 7,000 miles of walking through sometimes very harsh conditions) is an accomplishment few of us would try to start, much less complete.
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While I'm glad I read the book, I found it light on meaningful insights. To its credit it does not try to compete with the raft of "how to" books, but it lacks the depth that would make this a must have. It does deal with more of the "mental" aspects of a through hike which, for some, will be of assistance as one judges one's abilities and resolve.
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