I did a quick re-read of this book as well, since you read about things differently when it’s for entertainment and when it’s for something you actually are planning to do. It struck me that Davis was also not that prepared before starting her trip (“also” referring to Bill Bryson). She started with ill-fitting old gear, and did not know basic camping skills like how to cook and clean dishes, how to set up her tent, or how to hang a bear bag. She attended the Appalachian Trail Institute before doing her thru-hike and I find it hard to believe that they didn’t go over any practical concerns like that. She struck me too as being a bit sheltered, with her shock and offended sensibilities at a lot of the other people she came across. This is starting to sound negative but I actually loved her book. For her to do that on her own is just amazing. Not many 21 year olds are self-possessed enough to handle themselves the way she did. I really enjoyed her trail descriptions, her encounters with other people, and her resilience through a lot of trials on the trail. This was a very inspirational story, and I love that she was using the trail not just as something to do but as a way to figure out her life.
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