Books are awesome! So is my Kindle! So is my Smartphone onto which I have downloaded the Kindle app and some of my eBooks and this is how I plan to read on my thru-hike. I had considered actually bringing the Kindle, because if I run low on battery power for my phone I’ll need to save the juice for possible emergencies or reserving a place at a hostel. Instead I got two extra phone batteries which should give me the juice I need to have a phone AND read on the same device. However, I still think about bringing the Kindle. I love my Kindle. It’s an “old” model, not a touch screen, but it doesn’t freeze up like the Kindle app does on my phone sometimes, so it’s still on the list of “possibles/luxuries” that I want to bring.

Speaking of the Kindle and eBooks, I have been reading a couple of books lately to help me prepare for my thru-hike. One book is “The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing” by Dr. Philip Maffetone and Mark Allen. I can’t tell you how much this book has changed my approach to physical training, food, sleep, drinking more water to avoid dehydration and what shoes I wear. This book is quite possibly life changing for me and there are chapters on multi-vitamins, nutrition, aerobic training, what long term stress does to your body, improving proprioception and balance, breathing and music therapy and many other areas where everybody could benefit from reading it, whether you’re athletic or not. I am so lucky I stumbled across that book and didn’t let the title put me off. I mean, come on, I’m no racer and I had never before even thought about training for endurance events. I have never participated in an endurance event before, but I’m pretty sure hiking 2184 miles qualifies. My training plan was to hike up and down a lot with my pack on (or use the stair stepper) and also to lose some weight. Now my training is quite different and although those are still among my training plans, I got a heart rate monitor and am training my aerobic system in addition to and combined with doing these things.

The other book is called “Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-hiking The Appalachian Trail.” It’s written by a Facebook friend of mine named Zack Davis. I’d like to name drop and pretend we’re real friends because he’s a real writer and that’s cool. Zack finished his 2011 AT thru-hike by summiting Mt. Katahdin on the day before I climbed it last August. We quite possibly saw each other as I walked by a group of about six smelly thru-hikers lying in victory on the picnic tables under a pavilion at the campsite. Zach’s trail name when he thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail was The Good Badger. You may have noticed in my very first post that I mentioned him and that story. Well, I think it was the first post. I’m too lazy to go check right now. You’ll have to read them all to make sure you don’t miss the reference. Anyway, this is a shameless plug for his book because I answered questions on his Facebook page and he put MY answers in his book! In fact, he took MY advice on what to name the book. (I’m just saying I deserve a LOT of Badger points, Zach.) Also, our very own Ian Mangiardi of The Dusty Camel where my blog is based, not only mentored The Good Badger before his hike, but Ian has been amazingly helpful to me in my planning and setting me up with my blog and gear discounts. Ian even wrote a chapter in Zach’s book. Guess which chapter…..the GEAR chapter, of course, silly.

The Kindle book just came out two days ago and I stayed up too late last night to finish reading it. I’m a fast reader but I was delayed by having to work and sleep. Also, Zach made me write lists and since I am easily ordered around by random authors of eBooks, I was not allowed to keep reading until I had a chance to really sit down and make those lists. Sheesh, Zach, 20 minutes each? That’s a whole hour spent doing something that just might make the difference between whether I succeed in my thru-hike or not.

But, all joking aside, I am so grateful that this book came out before I left on my hike. I completely agree with Zach that mental preparation is the key, even more than gear and physical preparation, even though those things are also very important. If anybody is stressing about me going on this hike, or curious, or wonder why I mention this book of all the AT books I’ve read, or wants to hike the AT themselves someday, BUY THIS BOOK! I’m serious. Plus, since it was my idea that Zach publish in eBook form, and I already told you he took all my suggestions, I feel invested in its success. So, go to Amazon and buy it, read it, review it, share it, tell all your friends about it and then let’s talk about it. Seriously. I’m waiting, go buy it now……

Still waiting…..

You don’t even have to go anywhere, or get up. It’s on Amazon. How much easier can I make this? Do you need a link? Here you go, no excuses. (I am silly from lack of sleep and also, I learned to order my readers around from Zach in his book…hehe)

Okay, now that Zach owes me thousands of Badger points, I can post this, because seriously, all this waiting is getting annoying. Oh, and in just over two months I’ll be on the Appalachian Trail, experiencing my very own Appalachian Trials!