This college administrator's well-written account of setting out to hike the Appalachian Trail at age 60, beginning with the learning and training process, "is full of rich and emotionally charged detail about the journey and the personal growth that resulted from it," says Library Journal.
From the back cover:
For the first few weeks, Leslie learns how to pitch a tent in the rain, make her food bag animal-proof, and keep her socks dry. When terrain toughens, she struggles physically to keep up with the trail community she socially depends on to keep going and focuses on putting one foot in front of the other, every day to reach her destination. After September 11, 2001, she copes with being seemingly the only hiker on the trail for miles, eventually forcing her to change her definition of “hiking her own hike.”
Leslie Mass. 2009.
Jennifer S. Spoor (Submitted on Mar 3rd 2018)
Leslie Mass has accomplished the very difficult task of writing a memoir of her Appalachian Trail thru-hike that brings a fresh perspective and a very different lead-up than anything I have previously read. Mass's organized physiological, emotional, and logistical preparations really piqued my interest, because I have been surprised by the lack of physical conditioning and intelligent, thoughtful preparation that thru-hikers have reported in other memoirs. Mass, a university professor, began her AT project with a thesis--she would hike the AT at the end of the spring semester--which led to research on how to prepare her body, how to begin her hike in May and still make it to Katahdin before winter closure, and what/how to eat during her hike. Supported by her husband (Parkinson's Disease made him unable to hike), friends, and family who sometimes tagged along, Mass began her trek in central Virginia.
I bought this memoir because, having read several men's AT accounts, I wanted to read about a woman's hike. The similarity of Mass's age and profession and mine put her book into my shopping cart. But after reading partway into the book, I am even more enthusiastic about the things she did differently than other accounts I have read. I can't wait to read the rest of the book to see what else this 60-year-old woman approaches differently. Like her, I always seem to do things differently. I cannot hike the entire AT, but as Mass hikes in In Beauty May She Walk, I am right there with her.