Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Awol on the Appalachian Trail” as Want to Read:
Awol on the Appalachian Trail
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Awol on the Appalachian Trail

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  5,697 Ratings  ·  520 Reviews
In 2003, software engineer David Miller left his job, family, and friends to fulfill a dream and hike the Appalachian Trail. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail is Miller's account of this thru-hike along the entire 2,172 miles from Georgia to Maine. On page after page, readers are treated to rich descriptions of the valleys and mountains, the isolation and reverie, the inspirat ...more
Perfect Paperback, 256 pages
Published October 30th 2006 by Wingspan Press (first published 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Dec 30, 2011 Emma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a sucker for any long-distance hiking anything book. They give me a false sense of "I could totally do that," even though I get cranky if I don't shower every morning and the longest hike I've ever taken was 6 hours, and that was 16 years ago, and it was ONE time, and I'm pretty sure I complained the entire way.

His matter-of-fact style of writing was really enjoyable for this type of book. It threatened to get a little dry sometimes, but I never got bored. I appreciate not having to listen
Mar 26, 2012 Samuel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The best thing about this book is that my son would easily fall asleep when I read it to him. He focuses on tedious descriptions of the less-interesting aspects of hiking while glossing over or ignoring the interesting locations and their history. There were not enough pictures and those included were of poor quality and in black and white (at least in the kindle version). His transitions were jumpy and sometimes confusing. It was really just a log of events lacking any meaningful insights or in ...more
P.J. Wetzel
Jul 03, 2013 P.J. Wetzel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 1981 Chris Miller, having graduated from High School and not ready to go to college, took off hiking around Florida. Then after a couple weeks he hitchhiked to Georgia and started hiking the Appalachian Trail--no tent, no stove, no money, no plan. When he got to Damascus, VA, having accomplished the first 465 miles of the trail, he decided to go on and do the whole thing. And he did. That's all we're told in his brother David Miller's book 'AWOL on the Appalachian Trail'. I want to know more. ...more
Nov 28, 2012 Todd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Hikers, Students, Nature - Fantasy - Literature - fans, anyone really
Recommended to Todd by: My eyeballs
Shelves: reviewed
I was bored waiting to give my mom a ride home from work and saw this somewhere on a kindle book list and checked it out. I live in Appalachia, East TN to be exact, the most beautiful part, and have friends that have hiked sections of the AT. I DL'd the sample chapters.

I was hooked. The author's prose is fun and addictive. He is informative but it doesn't feel like he's trying to be, and he entertains seemingly effortlessly. It's a dude, hiking a trail, and his experience. How interesting could
Apr 29, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a good outdoor memoir, and this is an excellent account of a man who quit his job in 2003 to hike all 2,172 miles of the Appalachian Trail. David Miller has a straightforward writing style and is blunt about how punishing the trail can be; his woes during the hike included a sprained ankle, infected blisters, knee pain and blackened toenails.

Despite such setbacks, Miller was a strong hiker and often covered more than 20 miles a day -- an impressive pace considering he was carrying a 35-po
Marlene French
I loved this book! If you have ever wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail...or live vicariously through someone who has....this book is a must read! Mr. Miller gives so much information about so many things like the towns that are frequent stops for many thru hikers, keeping on the correct trail , safety and so much more! He lived his dream and even ended up writing "The AT Trail," which is updated yearly. It talks about his decision to quit his job and all that is associated with that and how hi ...more
Jun 29, 2011 Becca rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having just finished the book, I'm willing to over look how poorly it was written because I am now so completely inspired to attempt something as remarkable as David Miller did when hiking the Trail. I realize it would have been very dull and mundane to account for every single day, but sometimes I got a little confused as to how much time and how many miles had passed. And while I realize I'm not 7 years old any more, I wish there had been more pictures. The Appalachian Mountains are home to so ...more
What can I say? Ive got a terrible case of wanderlust right now. It’s the middle of winter, life at a law office is always exhausting in December, and I enjoy torturing my stuck-in-doors self with accounts of adventures amongst trees and mountains. Hiking one of the long trails is an idea I’ve been tossing around, though I have no actual plans, and it’s the dream of it that’s fun for now.

I picked this book up specifically because it was auspiciously on sale on Audible during my current 2015-2016
Apr 25, 2011 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Awol' is one man's story about his decision to quit his job and hike the full length of the Appalachian Trail. Told chronologically, the book follows his day-by-day exploits as he deals with the physical, mental and emotional challenges the feat imposes. From the get-go, the tale is gripping. Not so much because it's action packed - "action" is mainly limited to a too-close encounter with a mamma bear - but because it provides such insight into "thru-hiker" culture, something of which most of u ...more
The good: David Miller seems like a regular middle aged dude who sets out to hike the Appalachain Trail, instead of a young trust fund mountain climber. He is detailed in his account of supplies and the ins and outs of hiking, both glorious and exceptionally mundane (diarrhea and lost toenails!). This is a hiking tale from someone who is missing his family, worrying about money and trying to find gear that works for him.
The bad: David Miller is a computer programmer and this book has about as m
Jan 18, 2012 Vickie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book. I got it for free from the Kindle library! It really appealed to my secret, inner desire to just say 'fuck it all' and take off for the wilderness. Needless to say, it was pure pleasure reading Awol's day to day adventures as he hiked the 2,100+ miles of the Appalachian trail from south to north. I could only imagine myself doing the same thing, preferably with my partner and/or a good friend. I feel like Awol downplayed how difficult it truly is to backpack alone. Howe ...more
Ian Duncan
Highly esteemed by AT thru-hikers, "AWOL on the Appalachian Trail" is the trail-journal of a software engineer that quit his day job to hike 2,127 miles from Georgia to Maine. While not as comical or artfully written as Bill Bryson's "Walk in the Woods," "AWOL" more authentically describes the actual experience of a dedicated thru-hiker: blisters and bunions and sodden footwear, debilitating injuries, lightning perils, insatiable hunger, and long days roller-coastering endless hills in an existe ...more
Feb 18, 2016 Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The Appalachian Trail goes from Georgia to Maine and this book is David Miller's account of his 2003 hike on the AT.

Admittedly one of my life goals is to hike the AT and this book was a birthday present from a friend who also dreams of hiking the AT and it also means that I'm the target audience for this book.

It was good. We get to follow one persons hike over a five month period covering 2,172 miles. There are ups and downs, injuries, trail magic, towns, bears, rattlesnakes and lots of hiking p
Nov 17, 2011 Sara rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comparing this book to Becoming Odyssa, I just couldn't give it a higher rating. I don't think I gained any more real insight into the AT after reading this, but it definitely reinforced some of what I learned reading Odyssa and took me back to the trail in a good way. There was much less feeling and emotion in this book, though, except at the very end. I don't know if that is the difference between a man and woman author, but I felt like Odyssa did a much better job describing her emotions alon ...more
Oct 31, 2013 Brent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read about the author's hike, south to north, up the Appalachian Trail in 2003. While I admire those who have taken on and completed this and similar hiking challenges, this book did NOT leave me desiring to put my life on hold and go do it myself. The author focuses on the physical hardships (blisters, rain, aggravated tendons, more rain, less than ideal food, foot infection, and even more rain) and the mental weight of being away from his family and unemployed during his 146 day j ...more
Jun 10, 2012 Caroline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the "trail narrative" for a reader who thinks that most hiking travelogues are too bogged down in self-indulgent rants about the circumstances that compelled their authors to take to the trail. Miller focuses less on himself and more on the trail itself and the people he meets, which is refreshing -- the kind of book that will actually inspire people to hike and appreciate nature. In turn, his own personality and experience shine through on their own. He's a sparse writer (very unlike Bi ...more
Oct 26, 2012 Drew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping for some good stories about hiking the AT, but that’s not what this book is about. It’s really a good journal that explains about what a hiker goes through when tackling the entire AT. It explains what the hiker is going through, what he encounters and what it’s like day in and day out on the AT. While that’s interesting it didn’t really keep my attention that well. Since he’s talking about every day on the trail he doesn’t go into detail about the places (until the very end), which ...more
Sandra Heinzman
Another great book about hiking; my third in two months. This one is by a man and his solo adventure of five months on the AT. It convinced me that I'm not interested in doing such a long and arduous hike myself, although I would like to do a much less challenging one myself someday. David Miller had an incredible supportive wife, as he quit his job and left her and their three young daughters in order to do this hike. I liked his writing style and thoroughly enjoyed myself as I vicariously hike ...more
Aug 15, 2011 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a really fun read, with lots of information, but also true discovery of the journey. I've read Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, and Eddy Harris' Mississippi Solo. Both of them annoyed me as the authors set out to do something extremely challenging extremely ill-prepared. One had the stuff to finish, the other did not. David Miller has none of this nonsense. He is well aware of the challenges he will face and steps forward to greet each and every one with grace. If you are interested i ...more
Carol Wakefield
Aug 20, 2015 Carol Wakefield rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved every mile of Awol's hike. Sorry to end thebook. As a westerner who has hiked bits of the Pacific Crest Trail the AT does'n actually sound appealing. My hikes have been destinations promising spectacular views of snow covered peaks or multiple ranges of mountains fading into the distance. Not much of that I the east. However all my long distance and through hiking has been done vicariously and this was a very satisfactory journey to read about.
Allen Levine
Feb 09, 2015 Allen Levine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Instead of reading this work, I did something that I found more in keeping with the topic - I listened to the audio book as I ran. As a reader and writer who runs, I am always looking for audio-books, blogs, podcasts that I can listen to while running. It is a bit harder to find good listening material for training runs than one would think. For instance, works by Michael Chabon (a writer I love), are terrible to use in long runs. Why? Because the require listening on a different level. Sometime ...more
Feb 09, 2016 ambimb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved loved loved this, and, of course, now I want to hike the AT more than ever. I stumbled upon this book bc it was cheap and had a 99-cent audible version so I could listen to it on my commute. Of course, I loved the escapist premise; who wouldn't want to take six months off from their lives to go on the adventure of a lifetime? (Are there people who would answer: "me"?) I was sucked in immediately and for days I looked forward to my morning and evening commutes as the very best times of my d ...more
Jul 19, 2015 Pete rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, hiking
AWOL on the Appalachian Trail (2011) by David Miller is an account of Miller's thru hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT). On the walk Miller got the name AWOL. The AT is a 3500 km trail along the Appalachian range and beyond from Georgia to Maine.

The book is very matter of fact. Much of the book reads like:

"I got up, my feet were saw, I hiked ~20 miles, I met hiker Y,J,K and L. Most were great. I walked along the dramatic trail near M".

Almost all the hikers are good folks, maybe two or three are
Nov 20, 2015 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure-true
“The forest looks ancient. Bark on the trees has accumulated moss and has deep fissures, akin to the age-spotting and wrinkling of aged humans. The added texture gives the trees character with no loss of vitality. They look like survivors, resilient and deeply rooted.”


This was an interesting read as the author is a very good writer, but for a while I rather got stuck on the issue of his painful feet in the beginning of the book, even dreaming one night that I was walking the trail and my own fe
Jun 10, 2015 Maddie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Experience is enriched by reliving it, contemplating it, and trying to describe it to another person."

David tells of the 5 months he quit his job, took on the name Awol, and hiked the AT from Georgia to Maine.

Growing up, my dad would take my sisters and I on hikes to the Appalachian Mountain Club huts in the White Mountains. For a few days every summer, we'd hike (sometimes unwillingly), enjoy nature (or not, the summer it hailed), fill out our Junior Naturalist worksheets (no downsides here!),
May 13, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I've always enjoyed real-life adventure stories, and although some of the reviewers criticized Miller's writing style, I thought it was well-suited to the genre. His prose is simple and straightforward, and I was never bored. I read this book in a few days sitting on the porch of a mountain cabin, which seemed a perfect setting for getting into the spirit of an AT thru-hiker. David "Awol" Miller does an excellent job of taking what can be a feat too easy to romanticize or see through rose-colore ...more
Helen Dunn
Aug 12, 2014 Helen Dunn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-stars
This is the second memoir about hiking the AT that I have read in the last few weeks and this second title was worlds better than the first.

Miller is a 40 something cube dweller who decided to quit his job and thru hike the AT. He's a regular middle class guy with a wife, three kids, and a normal "happy" life. But he's miserable and he needs a shakeup and his wife agrees to let him go on this mid-life adventure. I admit, that as a 40 something cube dweller, I was sympathetic and invested in his
This book was the east coast version of Cheryl Strayed's "Wild". AWOL (the author's trail name) describes his walk along the Appalachian Trail and the people he meets while discussing his reasons for taking 5 months out of his life, away from family and job, to do this for himself. The story is broken down into his travels on specific portions of the trail. I really enjoyed that device as it allowed me to get to know the geography of each of the states and mountain ranges he traversed. He did in ...more
I love hiking. I love the outdoors. I love adventure. I love the idea of just abandoning my job and my responsibilities temporarily in order to pursue a once-in-a lifetime goal. So, I should have loved this book. It was okay, but it just didn't quite do it for me.

The writing was fine. The descriptions of nature and of the author's ideas and feelings were really good. But, the real problem I had with this book was that it made me less interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail than before I had s
Shedara Gibson
Nov 19, 2015 Shedara Gibson rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hands down, THE most boring book I've ever read! He torturously laid out his daily activities to the most tedious detail. For example, he'd say something like "I took out one piece of bread from the bag and laid it on the table. And then I took another piece of bread out of the bag and laid it on the table. I twisted the lid off of the jar of peanut butter and stuck a butter knife inside. I was able to get some of the peanut butter out of the jar and spread it over one piece of bread with the kn ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • As Far as the Eye Can See: Reflections of an Appalachian Trail Hiker
  • A Walk for Sunshine: A 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail
  • On the Beaten Path: An Appalachian Pilgrimage
  • Southbound (The Barefoot Sisters, #1)
  • Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail
  • Three Hundred Zeroes: Lessons of the Heart on the Appalachian Trail
  • In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60
  • Stumbling Thru: Hike Your Own Hike
  • Just Passin' Thru: A Vintage Store, the Appalachian Trail, and a Cast of Unforgettable Characters
  • Called Again: Love and Triumph on the Appalachian Trail
  • Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail
  • Appalachian Trials: A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking The Appalachian Trail
  • Walking the Appalachian Trail
  • The Things You Find on the Appalachian Trail: A Memoir of Discovery, Endurance and a Lazy Dog
  • Walking Home: A Woman's Pilgrimage on the Appalachian Trail
  • A Journey North: One Woman's Story of Hiking the Appalachian Trail
  • The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon
  • Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail

Share This Book

“When I look back on all the worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.”—Winston Churchill” 3 likes
“Many of the most gratifying experiences in life are those that are the most demanding.” 2 likes
More quotes…