Along the Appalachian Trail Book Review

ATCAdkinsbookHere’s a gift idea!

Along the Appalachian Trail: Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, published by Acadia Publishing ($21.99), is a book to read, browse, and refer to often.

It contains over 200 photographs of the A.T. then and, sometimes, now. Leonard M. Adkins, the author, is a nature and outdoor writer with 16 books to his credit. He’s hiked the A.T. five times.

The book is organized by hiking clubs. Photographs of and from the five “Deep South” clubs–Georgia ATC, Nantahala Hiking Club, Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, Carolina Hiking Club and Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoe Club, are featured.

Coincidentally, these five clubs will be the host of the 2013 ATC Biennial Conference. Old hiking pictures portray backpackers with external frame packs–yeah I had one of those and I’m so grateful for internal frame packs. Even in the 1970s, dayhikers still used soft and shapeless rucksacks. Trail building and maintenance was a lot harder in the days before chain saws. A photo taken in 1932 shows a group using hatchets to bring down trees for a new section of trail.

For this book, Adkins had to scour archives and libraries. He also asked hikers to look at their old photo collections. Many photographs came from the ATC archives, Smoky Mountains National Park Library and the Ramsey Library Special Collection. Most of the historic CMC pictures at the Ramsey Library came from the William Kirkman Special Collection. Coincidentally, this shows the importance of shooting and saving photographs in hi-res and labeling them properly.

The captions tell the story of the history of the A.T. as it moved from road to trail to new trail. But if you need one more reason to check out this book, there’s a historic photo of our own Morgan Sommerville, ATC Southern Regional Director, on a work trip.

Along the Appalachian Trail: Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee is available through your local bookstore, at the ATC store and of course, on Amazon. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *