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921 Skywalker's
Books on the AT & PCT

A couple of years back I was looking for a book on the Pacific Crest Trail. I searched a bit and finally decided to try Bill Walker's Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail. It was the best selling Kindle book on the PCT. I read the book, but did not review it.

Then a month or so ago, I was looking for another trail book and decided to try Bill Walker's Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail. I enjoyed the PCT book which was filled with good stories, so I tried the first AT book. Ha, it was a blast.

Bill Walker a 6'11", 200 pound, middle aged man, worked as an accountant in Atlanta and then a commodities broker in Chicago and London. He loved to walk but was not an outdoors person. Then, in 2005 he decided to hike the Appalachian Trail. He had never slept in a tent and he was going to attempt to hike the AT. Seriously, that is crazy.

In preparation for the trip, Walker went to REI and bought the latest and greatest gear. Next, he went to the Warren Doyle seminar on how to hike the AT. Warren Doyle is an authority (he's walked the trail many times) on the trail and was encouraging to Walker, but at the same time he was a realist. Doyle understood that it takes more than walking to be able to hike the Appalachian Trail.

Humbly, Walker stumbled on the trail to attempt his six month quest. His trail name became Skywalker and he was northbound heading toward Maine. Walker was definitely lacking in outdoor skills, but he made up for his inexperience with determination. He was fearful of about everything wild (bears, snakes, etc) and consistently showed his lack of experience (he had no navigation skills or camping skills), but he still made it to Maine.

After reading Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail, I decided to re-read Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail. On the second reading, I liked the book even more. It was essentially book two of the series.

On the PCT, Walker found that even with all the experience he gained in hiking the AT, he was challenged daily by the even wilder environments of the West. Still, he kept heading north. Because of a foot injury, a forest fire, and snow he skipped about 500 miles of the trail on his attempt, but there is still fodder for many tales.

Both books are fun reads. (I do think it is wise to read the AT book first, though.) Both books seem to be self published and therefore have a few errors. Eye understand! (ha!) I just didn't let the typos distract from the stories.

I would recommend the books for any hiker, but especially for anyone planning or dreaming of hiking the AT or PCT.

The books were inexpensive. I read both books on an iPad using the Kindle Reader.

Happy Skywalker trails


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