In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to hike 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller’s account of this thru-hike from Georgia to Maine. Listeners are treated to rich descriptions of the Appalachian Mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspiration that fueled his quest, and the rewards of taking a less conventional path through life. While this book abounds with introspection and perseverance, it also provides useful passages about hiking gear and planning. This is not merely a travel guide; it is a beautifully written and highly personal view into one man’s journey and the insights gained by abandoning what is comfortable and routine.
©2011 David Miller (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"David Miller’s AWOL makes you feel the pain and joy of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike.... In vivid colors, David paints a picture of his memorable journey." (Larry Luxenberg Director of the Appalachian Trail Museum)
I enjoyed listening to the authors trials, tribulations and triumphs while taking some time away from his conventional life. Something I feel many long for but few actually do. I was surprised by how insightful the author is and felt myself wanting more of that inner voice. While the narration was acceptable, I felt it had too much of a melancholy tone that seemed a little off from what I envision the author's true persona to be.
This is a pretty basic hiking journal about the Appalachian Trail that would be much better in book form with pictures. There are not many descriptive passages about the terrain and scenery that can be expressed in pictures. The narrator is what kills this audio book, the guy's voice sounds like a proper English butler that has no business reading a hiking book. I turned it off a few times and contemplated not even finishing but I pushed myself through his annoying voice and lip smacking/heavy breaths much like the writer pushing himself on the trail... Do yourself a favor and just read the book.
I love this genre. I like the honesty of the author's story. Maybe someday I'll hike the AT.
A few years ago I saw a special on National Geographic about the AT which spoke of the history, and the (crazies) who thru-hike it. I'm a hiker of sorts so the special had my attention, and from that point, an aspiring admiration for those who have the time and the wherewithal to complete the trail from start to end, and that goes for those who hike the PCT too. If only I didn't have a job, and a family, and had 4-6 months to make the trek myself. But I digress...
This was a pretty good read/listen! It started out slow but after the first 1-2 chapters it started to pick up and I was on the trail too, feeling the tiresome, depredation that David Miller felt, even though I was comfortably at home. I felt myself rooting for the guy, admiring his willingness, and ability to hike the entire trail, start to finish, and share his story to the masses that want to do the same. I enjoyed all the anecdotal sidebars, and the characters he meets, and I found his journey to be a relaxing change from the typical history books I tend to gravitate towards. And the narration was easy to listen to which added to the adventure.
If you've heard about the AT and can't get out there yourself, or are looking to start the trek in the spring, or even want a change of pace in the Audible world, put this title in your queue. It's worth the time, and will make you feel like you are on the trail too.
I've never felt the need to review a book before. Usually, there are adequate reviews that express whatever point I might wish to make, -and that is true of this book as well, though the people who express my feelings are few and far between. So for the sake of doing my part to lower the rating of this book, I'll give you my two cents.
The author is just not very good. I do not feel compelled toward the protagonist at all, in fact, I rather find myself rejoicing at her misery and despair. I'm unhappy when she is happy. I long for her to realize what a pretentious cliche she is, but to no avail. Her descriptions are vague and elementary. Her character has no depth. The people she is hiking with have to think she's obnoxious A.F.
This was hands down, the worst book I've ever purchased on Audible. I literally loathe Carrot, and continue to long for her unhappiness. When i think of the hikers I've met over the years who have suffered long distances for no glory but that internal glory of finishing something bigger than themselves, I loathe her even more. Nobody wants to hike with a Carrot, not even when written into her own version of perfection.
There is no information in this book about the PCT. Do not think this is the "AWOL on The Appalachian Trail" of the Pacific Crest Trail. It's not. This is a flat, whining, self-aggrandizing ode to wild oats etc... It's an inept memoir, of someone hardly worth remembering. Honestly, I wish any of the other characters in this story had been the one to pen the tale. It's that bad.
If you've ever hiked a long day in silent agony and still smiled and said hello to the people passing you by, skip this book. Carrot is the other hiker, -the one asking for DEET because she bought herself an "ultra-light rig" and cant pack her own freight. She's the one asking you to do a 15 mile day because she cant do your 25er.
Literally, any other book on thru-hiking is a better option. Don't let the Carrots of the world deter you, there is value in suffering silently and smiling along the way. It's just that Carrot doesn't understand hiking.
I have enjoyed this book enough to listen all the way through 2 straight times. ..perhaps the mentality needed for a through hiker. This book has been my companion while both hiking and evening walks. The narrator does a great job of flow and delivery and I will look for ones by him. David Miller does the AT justice by trying to paint the allure of the trail while also not over simplifying the magnitude of the feat. I am looking forward to taking on this adventure in a few years, if not sooner. I may have to go AWOL though to get away from my job.
This is not a spiritual journey, it is a description of a journey, that was probably spiritual yo the author. The story was good, but at times it felt sterile as if the author was just listing moments of his day. Don't get me wrong, it is very interesting, just don't look for a metaphysical transformative story but a fascinating look at thru-hiking.
I loved davids account of his travels on the trail, amongst the best diary stories I've read in a very long while, a hearty well done.
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