Thru-hikers and section hikers always have a story about what brought them to the trail. The Appalachian Trail in particular is swarming with folklore, so nearly everyone remembers the first story they heard about the 2,000+ mile footpath that weaves uninterrupted from Georgia to Maine. Sometimes the magic is captivated in a single moment; for others several instances over time bound them closer and closer to the trail.
You may find magic in the words and stories of others. Reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson you may be intrigued. You might think perhaps one day I’d hike it. But then Jennifer Pharr Davis gives you a story you could really attach too—one that you could see yourself in—and then you’ll know. You have to make the trek. For many of life’s greatest endeavors, that’s all it takes: someone’s story to inspire us, blaze a path, and serve as a beacon to guide us.
Because stories are so powerful, listed here are some of the powerful stories that set the stage for those considering an Appalachian Trail thru hike. It’s not all-inclusive, but it contains the books that may have the most powerful effects on you and your dreams.