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Southbound (The Barefoot Sisters #1)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  681 ratings  ·  98 reviews
"Rarely will you find books that explore the human emotions of a long-distance trek so honestly and clearly." --Roger Williamson, Campmor, Inc. "Highly recommended."

From the book: "We stood for a moment before the venerable signpost marking the summit. Scored with graffiti and the constant onslaught of weather, it stands perhaps three feet high, a
Paperback, 474 pages
Published December 17th 2008 by Stackpole Books
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A Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonStumbling Thru by A. Digger StolzAWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David         MillerAs Far As The Eye Can See by David BrillOn the Beaten Path by Robert Alden Rubin
Best Appalachian Trail Books
6th out of 33 books — 103 voters
Into the Wild by Jon KrakauerA Walk in the Woods by Bill BrysonEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth GilbertWild by Cheryl StrayedInto Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Ultimate Backpacking Novels
132nd out of 331 books — 834 voters

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Community Reviews

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Sep 06, 2013 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: ebook
Book Info: Genre: Memoir/Autobiography
Reading Level: Adult (language, adult situations)
Recommended for: Those interested in hiking and hiking culture, memoirs, great stories

My Thoughts: This book is frequently quite hilarious, especially the bits about the Extreme Hiking Maneuvers, the squirrels, and Mr. Shaw's driving, just to name a few. I was initially interested in it because of the hiking barefoot thing; I have always loved to go barefoot, and when I was a kid, by the end of summer I'd have
They should have added a subtitle: How We Were Looking for Love on the AT. They even ended the book with some other dude & chick getting hitched.
I swear this took me forever to finish. For a while I thought it would take me as long to finish as it took them to get to Springer Mountain. The book was good, but it was quite long and could only be read in spurts. Lucy and Susan Letcher thru hiked the Appalachian Trail starting in Maine one summer day and emerged at Spring Mountain, GA in March. The girls, known by their trail names, Isis and jackrabbit (AKA The Barefoot Sisters) hiked most of the trail barefoot until winter weather forced th ...more
Gone Readin'
Reviewed by Katie Lou

My best friend has walked the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, a small portion of the Appalachian Trail and I am green with envy. It’s been my dream since high school to at a minimum take a short jaunt on the Trail, looking for the white blaze marks or to sit for a spell in a lean-to. The next best option for me is to read about others who have spent a part of their life hiking the trail. Sisters Lucy & Susan, aka Isis and jackrabbit made the choice to put their life on hold for
Robin Morris
Feb 11, 2010 Robin Morris rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hikers
south - Maine to George; whereas the vast majority of hikers go North. Of course the primary reason for the migration north is the weather. Most thru-hikers walk with (or into summer) spring, avoiding the dangers of winter. Our sisters are starting in Maine in black fly season and hiking directly into winter. They're doing this with the added challenge of attempting to hike the trail barefoot - at least for "as long as it's fun". For me it would be comfortable for about two minutes and I'd have ...more
Barefoot Siters Southbound is, by far, the best book on a hiker's personal experiences of hiking the Appalachian Trail and the fact that they did so for most of it hiking barefoot adds an interesting touch to the entire book. Starting in Maine, their home state, the book makes the reader feel like we are hiking the trail with them. Each sister, Lucy & Susan aka Isis & Jackrabbit, take turns telling their perspective of the hike the emotions of backpacking, highs and lows, the people they ...more
I enjoyed the sisters account of their southbound hike. HOWEVER... It took me quite awhile to finish the story. I found myself a little (dare I say) bored toward the middle of the book. It's not that their adventure itself was boring, it was more in the details. When the weather started getting bad for them and they became depressed, I think I became depressed for them. Had I not known there was another book of their hike north, I would not have held out much hope for them to finish. They took a ...more
Charity (CJ)
My seven-year-old daughter decided recently that she wants to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, and she wants to hike it from Maine to Georgia. Her reasoning is that then you get the toughest part of the trail out of the way at the beginning. She and I have talked about the extra challenges of the southbound route (not the least of which is beginning the trek with the Hundred-Mile Wilderness and running the risk of hitting winter in the Smokies if you don't hike fast enough), but she's undeterred ...more
I don't know how most books about doing long hikes (the AT, the PCT) make me really want to hike and simultaneously make me think that I'd hate everyone else doing it.

Lucy and Susan (Isis and jackrabbit) seem like a very particular type of girl you'd meet in college - pretentious, privileged, and pseudo-earthy. I enjoyed when I could focus on the descriptions of the trail and the hike without getting too much of their personalities in it.

Their trail romances or crushes were just icky to read abo
I really enjoyed this story. It was pretty amazing to hear their story. I got a bit tired of all the flowery language. Honestly it felt like they picked up the thesaurus and used it waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. Sometimes the regular word is the best. It kind of detracted from the book as a whole. Also one of the sisters swore a lot and it made her sound less educated. So in short I loved the story but the language I could have done without.
Jane Blanchard
Could you walk on stones, pebbles, hot or icy surfaces, sticks, mud, and whatever else the Appalachian Trail can throw at you? It's difficult to imagine especially knowing that most through-hikers destroy multiple sets of boots along the way. Yet, this is just what the The Barefoot Sisters chose to do. In their book, The Barefoot Sisters Southbound (Adventures on the Appalachian Trail) Lucy Letcher (Isis) and Susan Letcher (jackrabbit) describe not only their adventure but also their hopes, fail ...more
Scott Foshee
Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

"Southbound" is one of the best books I have read about long-distance hiking, and I think it is much better than "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. It not only goes into the accurate technical details of a full Appalachian Trail through hike, but also what the hikers go through during their adventure. We experience the ups, downs, background, and personal thoughts of the hikers, as well as the meaningful relationships they form on the trail, which make up so much of the t
Mandy Allbritton

Loved this book and the portrayal of various relationships of everyday hikers on the Appalachian Trail. Made me email my BFF and ask her if she would hike it with me when the kids are grown. :)
Interesting and entertaining, but not one of my favorite AT through-hiking chronicles.
A little silly and drawn out, but a good hiking story.
Oh, dangerous, dangerous reading for a former or wannabe Appalachian Trail thru-hiker. You are warned. This should be on the hiker's banned book list if you have the slightest aspiration or desire to abide by the requirements for living in mainstream society. If you do not, then read on with reckless abandon, be inspired and go forth onto that revered and unforgiving path.

I've hiked this wicked and powerful trail twice and am completely - and will forever be - under its spell.

When the chatter t
I knew I had to buy this book (& the sequel as well) when I first saw them...they are about sisters hiking the AT. Non-fiction, sisters, trail life…sounds perfect, what more could I want? Well, how about characters (whether real or imagined) that make me feel emotion…any sort of emotion would have sufficed. I really enjoyed the story, but found it surprisingly difficult to relate to the sisters. I didn’t like them, I didn’t dislike them. By the end I felt as though they were mild acquaintanc ...more
Karen M
This was one of those books that I just didn't want to end. I have, however, discovered the adventure did not end with this book. There is a sequel.

Initially I was drawn to this book because of the Applachian Trail which is the star of this book. At one time my family owned a couple of acres of woods in the northwest of New Jersey where we had a summer home and we were very close to the AT. So close, in fact, that we once had some AT hikers turn up and ask if they were on the AT or lost. They we
Actually, this book is by Lucy Letcher and her sister Susan Letcher. Isis and jackrabbit. The lower case J is intentional. Susan went to Carleton College with Maggie. I met them at The Gathering in WV in 2000. I met them again at The PA Ruck at Pine Grove Furnace State Park in 2001. I was absolutely amazed at how good this book is. Each voice is identified at the beginning by their trail name. In a back and forth style, they've done an excellent job of explaining and describing their Appalachian ...more
Review originally posted here:

The Barefoot Sisters account of their 2000 southbound thru-hike is one of my favorite trail stories I've read so far. Out of all the books on this list it's my personal favorite.

The takeaway I got from reading Isis & jackrabbit's account of their mostly barefoot thru-hike was a sense of "I can do this". Most trail stories I've read, and you can see from this list there's been a few, have inspired me, challenged me, and som
Barefoot Sisters: Southbound Co-Authors Susan Letcher & Lucy Letcher
and Barefoot Sisters Walking Home
I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed reading of the Appalachian Trail hiking adventures of “Jackrabbit” and “Isis”. Once I started reading, I was hooked and did not want to stop!
I am one of four sisters and I enjoy to read books which feature the interaction of sisters. I must admit I downloaded this book when it was offered as a free Kindle book through one of the free books of the day
My own sister got me turned on to the adventure of hiking the Appalachian Trail - she has a real fascination for the possibility. I've discovered that I like reading books about this while sitting in my warm house in my comfy chair or bed. I'm enthralled with what thru hikers endure - and why in the world they would want to!

Hiking the Trail barefoot wasn't a possibility I had ever considered before reading this book, but evidently it's not all that rare - there are associations of barefoot hike
I read this (and the sequel) and really really enjoyed them. They find a great balance between reflection, travel memoir, humor, pathos, nature journal-- I'm a fan of the genre and liked these every bit as much as Wild, and more than others (such as I Promise Not to Suffer, etc.) I liked the writers, who are neither overly self-indulgent, nor ridiculously highbrow. I just wish there had been a chapter at the end saying what they had done, and what had become of them after 2001. Google gives a li ...more
Jane Blanchard
Could you walk on stones, pebbles, hot or icy surfaces, sticks, mud, and whatever else the Appalachian Trail can throw at you? It's difficult to imagine especially knowing that most through-hikers destroy multiple sets of boots along the way. Yet, this is just what the The Barefoot Sisters chose to do. In their book, The Barefoot Sisters Southbound (Adventures on the Appalachian Trail) Lucy Letcher (Isis) and Susan Letcher (jackrabbit) describe not only their adventure but also their hopes, fail ...more
Two sisters in their early 20s decide to hike the Appalachian Trail southbound, barefoot "while it's fun, while it's comfortable". (I'm not going to put spoilers in here about whether they finish or how the barefoot thing works.) This book describes the incredible experience of hiking the Appalachian Trail: the other hikers they meet (going in both directions), the shelters, the non-hikers who give them rides into town or give them a "slacker" day by ferrying their packs to a designated meetup p ...more
Pat aka Tygyr
Lucy and Susan Litcher aka Isis and Jackrabbit decide to walk the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). They start at the North end and head south making them SoBo's (South bounders). They decide to walk barefoot as long as it is fun and safe. This book is more than their story, it's about the 2100 + Mile trail and all the people they meet on the trail. It's about endurance, taking zero days, the hardships, the decisions they make. It's how the trail can change people. If you think you might like to hike th ...more
I have always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail, and this is the second travel narrative that I have read. This book was valuable to me for that and for its difference in perspective. The first book I read was by a middle aged man, traveling alone, without his family. This book shows the perspective of the trail from the perspective of two sisters in their early-mid twenties. So, it was great to see the trail through their eyes. The depression of the musician sister also provides one insight ...more
David Ward
Southbound (The Barefoot Sisters #1) by Lucy and Susan Letcher (Stackpole Books 2009) (917.40443) Two sisters hike the Appalachian Trail from Mount Katahdin to Georgia. Here’s what makes them unique: they hike it barefoot! Haw! My rating: 7/10 finished 2010.
Andrea Seaver
Susan and Lucy Letcher, aka Isis and jackrabbit, set out from Maine (a less popular starting point) to hike the Appalachian trail. Their trials and tribulations, friendships and encounters with other hikers, make for a fascinating read. I downloaded the kindle book and have read this quite a few times. It is engaging, and memorable. The sisters have a spare flowing prose, and a remarkable ability to put the readers feet firmly on the changeable and transient ground of the trail. I enjoyed this r ...more
I saw this book while staying in Shenandoah National Park. (The AT actually runs through the park) Was quite amazed that the Sisters could walk this trail barefooted. I have hiked parts of the AT in PA and find that I am always looking down, trying to avoid tripping on the rocks. I am amazed that they would even attempt to do it barefooted. Jeff remembers seeing the Sisters on a Boy Scout hike in October 2000! The book kept my interest. I enjoyed reading about their adventures on the trail, read ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Multiple editions of two books 3 20 Mar 27, 2014 12:35PM  
  • As Far As The Eye Can See: Reflections Of An Appalachian Trail Hiker
  • In Beauty May She Walk: Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60
  • Three Hundred Zeroes: Lessons of the heart on the Appalachian Trail.
  • Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail
  • Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail
  • On the Beaten Path: An Appalachian Pilgrimage
  • The Things You Find on the Appalachian Trail: A Memoir of Discovery, Endurance and a Lazy Dog
  • Becoming Odyssa: Epic Adventures on the Appalachian Trail
  • A Walk For Sunshine: A 2,160 mile expedition for charity on the Appalachian Trail
  • AWOL on the Appalachian Trail
  • Stumbling Thru: Hike Your Own Hike
  • Walking with Spring
  • Just Passin' Thru: A Vintage Store, the Appalachian Trail, and a Cast of Unforgettable Characters
  • Farm Girl
  • A Long Trek Home: 4,000 Miles by Boot, Raft and Ski
  • A Blistered Kind of Love: One Couple's Trial by Trail (Barbara Savage Award Winner)
  • Run Away: One Woman's Story of Resilience
  • Walking Home: A Woman's Pilgrimage on the Appalachian Trail
Walking Home (The Barefoot Sisters, #2)

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