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A Journey North: One Woman's Story of Hiking the Appalachian Trail
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A Journey North: One Woman's Story of Hiking the Appalachian Trail

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  358 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
Unaware of the A.T. until her beau asked her to bike along, Hall has become a passionate A.T. advocate and savvy outdoorswoman.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Appalachian Mountain Club Books (first published April 1st 2000)
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Rating details
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Dec 15, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was really disappointed by this book.

It's as if Hall is writing two books at once. One is a sorely lacking personal account of her time on the trail, and the other is her nerdy foray into factual legalese about the trail full of statistics and pages of things I skimmed over because it was putting me to sleep or was outdated or was just written poorly compared to the other style of writing. I didn't like the switching between these two voices and didn't care much for the latter at all. But the
Sep 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel
The title of this book is a bit misleading. True, it is the story of the author's northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail; however, she did not make the trip solo. Adrienne Hall traveled with her boyfriend, Craig, and she readily admits that she would not have reached Maine without him. Once I got over my annoyance (fueled largely by my being unceremoniously dumped, shortly before delving into this book, by a wanderer who eschewed attachments to people) at having to put up with a love sto ...more
Steve Comstock
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, outdoors
I labored through this. Hall is clearly knowledgeable and full of relevant and interesting information but the execution of that communication is a train wreck. Chunky awkward prose, consistent disunion, and a terrible job of fitting her personal experiences in.
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Yo Yo
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
As an avid backpacker and outdoor enthusiast, I found this book refreshing. It is not a boastful account of the author's incredible accomplishment but rather a deeper look at the issues that surround the AT. Hall does a great job weaving her journey with research on topics of importance that affect the area and the trail. Word on the street, though ... the marriage did not last. Luckily, her book did.
Oct 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
I've started many books about the AT. I've decided at this point that whatever qualities make a good thru hiker clearly do not make good writers. Couldn't finish this one. Terrible. Poor writing. Inaccurate at times.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was so excited to go into an old bookstore and come across 4 books about the Appalachian Trail that I have not heard of and having read almost everything about it I was very excited. sadly this might be my least favorite of everything I've read on the Appalachian Trail it was hard to feel a connection with the author who didn't make you feel like you wanted to get to know her and just told a ton of facts that she had looked up about the Appalachian Trail and all the information seem like it ca ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
Good, but it took me awhile to get through. I enjoyed learning about the history of the trail and the parks along it and the fight to protect them. However, I was always eager to get back to the actually hiking bits. The trail sounds more horrible here than in a lot of other AT memoirs I've read. I guess I'm happy the author was so honest but, yeesh.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good history of the AT along with the struggles to walk it. Adrienne's experience is peppered with the history and struggles of maintaining the AT along with the encroaching of overpopulation and technology's effects. Cell towers abound especially in the mid atlantic region. It made me very sad at points where the wilderness experience was thwarted by humans.
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really liked the book for a few reasons that were more linked to my past than about a lot of the relevant and informational parts of the book. I also took into an account the hard work she took to research everything, and also that it was in fact a more opinion-based book on her experience hiking the trail. I don't think anyone should discount anyone based off of their own experience. I can't picture yet what my reaction to the AT would be, or how I would handle it, so reading this account put ...more
Mar 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Looking for a book about facts on hiking the trail, then maybe this isn't quite the book for you. However, if you do enjoy reading accounts of experiences during the hike, then this might be a read for you. The story is an account of the author, Adrienne's experience in hiking the trail, as a last minute decision to join her boyfriend.

The story spreads off onto Adrienne's views on some of the ecology of the App. Trail. There are stories of environmental issues woven in to her accounts of her hi
Jan 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book was O.K. I'm not sure exactly how she does it, but Hall manages to make a fascinating subject pretty mundane. Rather than a story about hiking the AT, the book alternates between a brief stories from the trail and an essay on the history of the AT and the impact that suburban/urban development has had on the land. It's a little choppy in that instead of weaving in her research and environmental views to her story, she jumps between the two at will. In fact, there is often nothing in he ...more
Feb 23, 2015 rated it did not like it
I can't do it. This book is awful. I normally love a good story, especially ones with history and background woven into it. But, this one. I just can't. She lectures about the environment and complains about the balds. No one knows why they are bald now, and why they are starting reforest and if we should maintain them or let them grown back. One minute it's the hike, the next its a lecture on plant species. Then, more hike followed by how the Native Americas did it better. She has strong opinio ...more
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: outdoors
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dee Mills
May 30, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hiking
I agree with a prior reviewer named Gina. It was as if there were two books here, side by side. The author would begin a chapter with her own story of hiking, and then segue into something on ecology or the reintroduction of wolves or Appalachian Trail history. This isn't unusual in non-fiction books, but these side issues lasted for 8-10 pages. It was disconcerting to be switched back and forth between a memoir and an essay of various subjects; it did not work smoothly.

In the end, because of th
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I admire her stamina (I don't think she was complaining much more than others who thru-hike the AT; she was just giving her honest impressions) but I wanted MORE!! I sort of felt guilty and just a bit uneducated/unappreciative when skipped over her frequent interruptions of her and her boyfriend's hike with scientific and ecological background info, but I didn't read choose this book for that sort of detail. One reader commented that it was almost like ...more
Jason Phillips
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Adrienne's narrative of life on the AT is often repetitive of tales from other AT accounts, but I always find something different and refreshing from someone else's telling of them. Taken into the family of AT literature it can offer another perspective and another take of life on the AT. Her descriptions of what the hike did to her emotionally and the inner growth she experiences and her love for her boyfriend was a refreshing take. This is also an excellent account of a woman's experience of t ...more
Josh Liller
May 27, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, hiking
Being a AT thru-hiker (someone who hikes the Appalachian Trail from start to finish) should be interested by itself. And when you're one of the few women to do it and you're thru-hiking with your boyfriend and the two of you get engaged at the end of the 6 month hike (not a spoiler - it's spoiled in the blurb) surely it's going to be interesting stuff?

Not so much. The book is short (under 200 pages) and more time is spent talking about the environment and issues relating to the trail than the ac
Audrey Mccartney
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
It's not strictly true that I "read" this whole book as I found myself regularly skipping two or three pages at a time as the author would launch off into periodic (and by that I mean every chapter was interrupted with at least one) scolds about some ecological crime we humans are engaged in. I kept finding myself wishing she would get back to the story line of her hiking the Appalachian Trail and less about some issue that she painted with a very one-sided brush. I think anyone reading this boo ...more
Jan 29, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: at-cdt-pct
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2007 rated it liked it
since i really want to thru hike the AT, I read this book because I like hearing women's experiences/feelings about hiking the trail...but I will have to admit I did not read this book start to finish..she had this book in a format which included history of the AT, and I found this to be distracting. i know it is subject matter that pertains to the trail, but it seemed to me just like "filler" she didn't have enough story to make a book. Now my greatest source of women's experienc ...more
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was a good introduction to walking the trail. I liked that the author had her woman's point of view, but I wish she had included more of it, such as how she actually dealt with her monthly cycle while walking through bear country. There was a lot of incidental info about the areas she walked through like history of the ecology of specific spots which served to inform her understanding of her walk and make it more meaningful. I especially liked that she was truthful in what happened, su ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: outdoors
I liked the parts about their story actually ON the trail; however, I got bored reading about the history of the AT and various ecology issues. A little here and there would be find, especially since the author's background is biology, but most of the history I'd read in various other books already. I would think that 6 months on the trail would have led to far more adventures or even just sites they'd seen, than is related. To be fair, it did seem like they had a disproportionate amount of rain ...more
Jan 09, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book was not what I was looking for. I was hoping to read about the author hiking the AT and all that goes with such an adventure. The majority of the book was full of well researched history of the AT, maintenance of the AT and environmental issues. I think the book would have been a smoother read if it was perhaps divided up into two sections. I found myself skimming or skipping a lot of the less narrative sections. I imagine at some point this week I'll go back and read the stuff I skipp ...more
Sep 15, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reread
I was looking for a book about the Appalachian Trail, but every time I would start to get involved in what was going on trailwise, the author would go off on a tangent about this issue or that issue.

It just wasn't what I was hoping it would be.

I reread this in 2013 and my opinion hasn't changed at all. Its like you are reading along then blammo, the pace slams to a halt to examine some issue, while related to the trail, isn't at all why I was reading the book.
Elaine Brown
Jun 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Always had a thing for hiking the Appalachian Trail but this book may have cured that....The author makes it sound pretty bad. Snowstorms, bugs ,pain, flooding, almost impassable at times - she didn't mention any "good days." Lots of history about the trail and environmentalism in general that is interesting, but really negative view of the journey. The two positives were her relationship with her hiking partner boyfriend and their stubbornness to refuse to give up.
Sep 23, 2012 rated it liked it
Not as much a memoir of hiking the Appalachian Trail as it is a rant sometimes about environmental issues and other things. There were parts of it that were very interesting, ( why salamanders are the " canary in the coal mine" in the Appalachian mountains) and others not so much (goddess cultures. Huh?!) I know she had a lot that she wanted to say, but it didn't all belong in this particular book.
Jul 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
"It is up to each of us to choose our path with care and defend it passionately. We all would do well to stalk the gaps, spend afternoons, and fight furiously to ensure that the path we travel will forever lead to the most beautiful places."

Other than her many lapses into environmental lectures, this was a really great book.
Nov 09, 2015 rated it liked it
A nice story about the trials and joys of hiking the AT with the person you would ultimately marry. It felt a bit dated when the author would cite events from the 1990s as it was printed in 2000. And the world has exploded with smart phones and the Internet, that her concerns about technology encroaching on the AT seem quaint in light of today's nonstop connected mindset.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
The narrative voice was so annoying/judgmental of anyone not thru-hiking and the incorporation of non-fiction/environmental material was really clunky and not immersive at all. This book didn't make me want to walk the Appalachian trail but it did make me not want to meet anyone like the author if I ever did.
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