{Download} In Beauty May She Walk; Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60Author Leslie Mass – Entrecielos.co

In , inspired by her father, Leslie Mass decided she would turn a lifelong fantasy into reality At the age of , she began to train for a grueling journey, a thruhike of the ,mile Appalachian Trail 'In Beauty May She Walk' chronicles Leslie's struggles and triumphs during her hike On the trail, Leslie struggles with how to balance the needs of her family and friends while making the trail a priority; how to shed years of social conditioning that dictate how a woman should act and how to know when to ask for help, while understanding that sometimes, help has to come from within As the terrain toughens, she struggles to keep up physically with the trail community she depends on socially to keep going and realizes the difficulty of maintaining her obligations to family and friends

10 thoughts on “In Beauty May She Walk; Hiking the Appalachian Trail at 60

  1. Shirley J Shirley J says:

    During 2001 and 2002, Leslie Mass hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. She humbly admits thru-hiking took endurance despite the two years she spent planning and training for the trip.

    Mass is a typical woman in many ways. Wanting to fulfill her dream of taking this grueling journey makes her most extraordinary.

    Written in journalistic style with dated entries, in each chapter she reveals her hiking progress, mishaps, and encounters with other hikers, trail angels, and a variety of creatures.

    Mass includes info about backpack essentials, trail navigation, end-of-day routines for setting up camp, first-aid, and conquering hunger with minimalist nutrition, and being wary of physical dangers.

    She is also reflective about the spiritual, philosophical and emotional benefits of making this dangerous, exhausting, and rugged hike.

    She transforms from an unskilled, naive hiker into a self-confident, intuitive traveler and proficient navigator.

    Mass traveled with watercolors and often painted while resting mid-hike or while resting at camp. Not one of her drawings is included the book. A few illustrations would have been a wonderful treat.

    In Beauty May She Walk was a candidate for the ForWard Magazine 2005 Book of the Year Award.

  2. Shira Reiss Shira Reiss says:

    I read this book b/c I plan on hiking the Appalachian Trail across Maryland at the end of March and b/c I am turning 60 this year. I had hoped to get a woman’s introspective views about aging and “encountering beauty as she walked” as the title suggested, but instead I read a journal type book (what the author ate, how many miles she walked, the weather and a few obstacles along the way.) I did not find the book personal nor did it have depth about herself or the characters encountered. She didn’t seem interested in getting to know anyone and it seemed like her only goal was to move at her own pace in a loner type manner so that she didn’t have to put up with other people. She even sounded impatient and judgmental when her daughter and brother-in-law joined her on the trail for a few days. As I read, I wondered what she thought about as she hiked. Did she enjoy the sound of her feet, the nature, did her mind wander into thinking about other people? I like to read books where I like the writer and would like to meet them. I found myself not caring one way or another about her. One thing her book did for me is that it convinced me to NEVER do a thru-hike of the AT. Her description actually made the hike sound torturous and awful.

  3. Linda Foos Linda Foos says:

    Not since Eat,Pray,Love , have I enjoyed a book so much! I felt as if I were on the journey with her and loved her descriptions of the woods, mountains and trails. Hooray for this incredible woman.

  4. Dee Mills Dee Mills says:

    I've read my share of hiking books, and this ranks high on my list. Mass is an eloquent writer and a diligent one. She wrote about each part of her hike and supplemented her narrative with her journal entries. She seems like an even-keeled sort of person and determined. She didn't let things get her down unduly. And she carried on.

    She conveyed that the hike was tough without whining about it. She revealed her problems and her solutions and took up her pack for the next trail segment.

    Hers was a flip-flop hike, meaning that she started in Virginia and hiked north to Mount Katahdin. Took a few weeks out to attend to business and rejoined the trail in Virginia where she began but hiked south. Her intention was to complete her hike at Springer Mountain, Georgia. However, 9-11 occurred, and she decided to interrupt it that year because it didn't feel right to be hiking; she wanted to be with her family. She resumed her hike the next year and completed it.

    I read in one of the reader reviews of this book on Goodreads that they thought she was unfairly critical of the south. I read the same book and was on the look-out for that. I never found that to be the case. In fact, she loved the southern trail and the people she met, both on the trail and off of it. She even dreamed of retiring to North Carolina with her husband. I thought she was very even-handed, especially after nearly getting run off the road by some southern yahoos who yelled epitaphs at her.

    I recommend this book.

  5. Becky Becky says:

    In beauty may she please walk a little faster. Sooooooooo slooooooooow. So bogged down in mountain names and description of every step along the trail. I didn't see the personal growth I was hoping for out of such a trek. I wanted to love it but could not.

  6. Arminzerella Arminzerella says:

    This is Leslie Mass' account of her Appalachian Trail thru-hike at the age of 60. She plans and completes a “flip-flop” hike - hikes north to Katahdin for the first part of the summer, and then returns to her starting point to hike south for Georgia and Springer Mountain. She ends up not finishing the southern part until the following year - as the events of September 11th intervene in the middle of her hike. I was excited to read this as that's the same time that I was hiking (although, I never met Leslie – or, ‘Gotta Hike! as she came to be known). I spent too much time being injured and then changing my mind about it being the right time for me to be hiking (still hope to go back and do it someday – with company).

    Leslie's achievement and her account of that achievement is something she should be proud of. It took such strength and stamina and ‘sticktoitiveness’ for her to complete her hike. Her story is part trail log, part philosophy, part a story of the friendships that she made along the way. It really brings the trail alive to those of us who have been there before, who have read the stories of other thru-hikers, and for those of us who want to hike, or who have succumbed to the allure of walking as a way of life. (I'm reading this at a time when I've only just fractured my foot and am told I'll be on crutches for at least the next 4-6 weeks. It's hell, believe me. All I want to do is get out there and do it myself, and I so can't.)

    It's such a big dream and such a big undertaking - and she did it! There are lots of times where she's so exhausted - mentally, physically, emotionally; the trail can just wear you down sometimes. But it's one of those big things, adventures, dreams that you go out and do, and the doing of it changes you forever. We live for these experiences - the ones that are so big and real that they can't help but alter our world view. We come down so close to the bare minimum that we're humbled by it. We learn to know what it is that we need, and what it is that we can do without. We value the people we love and the world around us. We learn that a bit of trail magic can make us cry, because there really are good people, helpful people all around us.

    All that and she was 60! That's just amazing - that she was able to put her body through its paces and not suffer any serious injuries. I'm impressed. Hope to be as limber when I’m up there (obviously envious right now!).

    This will appeal to women hikers especially, and armchair travel enthusiasts, and people who have had similar kinds of adventures. While there's some repetition of feelings and sentiments as she details her journey, it's a part of her hiking mantra - these are the things I felt, this is what I kept telling myself, this is the routine, here's how I did it...this is what I needed to stay sane and focused and in the zone. Her story is an inspiration - definitely recommended.

  7. Liralen Liralen says:

    Mass's walk on the Appalachian Trail was by and large a peaceful one. It was important to her that it be a 'woman's walk'—when possible, she sought out female walking partners; although she walked with many men, she came to appreciate female thruhikers even more because they were relatively rare.

    I marveled at the contrast between my hiking conversation with Dare and the hiking conversations I usually had when I hiked with men. Dare and I took turns talking and listening to each other; we asked questions for clarification and offered related topics for further dialogue.

    Hiking conversations with men, in my experience thus far, had been about their exploits and accomplishments, or the activities they were interested in pursuing. Seldom had my male companions discussed relationships and never had I been asked to clarify my opinion or expand my point. Hiking and conversing with a woman hiker was a novel and welcome turnabout. (189)

    It makes something of a counterpoint to Walking Home, which I read shortly before this—both women place emphasis on being on the Trail as females, but for different reasons.

    For timing reasons, Mass did a 'flip-flop' hike, hiking first the northern half of the AT (hiking north) and then the southern half (hiking south from the same starting point). She'd intended to do it all in one year, but after 9/11 she took time off—the trail felt too isolated, small communities closing ranks. September 11 doesn't mark as big a shift in the book as I'd expected from the book flap, perhaps because of this break in plan. I don't begrudge her the change in plans, of course, but although she makes an interesting point about feeling very much an outsider on the Trail after 9/11 (because, while American, she didn't belong to the communities she was passing through), the narrative remains determinedly low-key.

    Ultimately the book felt a bit bloated to me. Mass writes day-by-day, and since her biggest struggles are usually in the form of finding her own pace and compatible hiking companions, it felt like...too much minutiae. On the one hand, the AT is a marathon, not a sprint (and I have tremendous respect for her focus and preparation), and I suppose this reflects that...and on the other hand, I suspect this could have been a good hundred pages shorter without losing much.

  8. Will Waller Will Waller says:

    I was given this book by my parents who were given the book some time ago by a friend. It is an account of one woman who hiked most of the Appalachian Trail in 2001 and finished the trail in 2002.

    This book was masterfully written, relative to the other books on the market in the same hiking journal genre. However, there were significant flaws that kept me from enjoying this book to the fullest.

    Firstly, the author disparages the South again and again, stemming from her upbringing in the North. She is cloying regarding her stereotyping of the gaps and mountains in Georgia as appropriate to the state. It is a patronizing and annoying. Further, she believes she is stepping into enemy territory when she hikes south of the Mason-Dixon Line, a point-of-view that she criticizes in another hiker from the south as he heads north. I have no problem with disparaging the South - I do it at times - but don't be cloying and don't be hypocritical about it.

    Secondly, she does something other authors rarely do on this topic: she delves into her feelings about men. With the exception of her husband, men get the butt end of the stick for the author. And yet, she hikes with them. At times, she complains to her journal about their speed, yet rarely does she speak up for herself. Other times, she rejoices when it is just herself yet she is lonely on the trail. All of this is to say that she is inconsistent.

    Thirdly, she hikes a very expensive hike. It is obvious from her many nights staying in town to her numerous slackpack experiences she spent a pretty penny on the hike. And when she meets the other people of the trail - the partiers who like to smoke and drink - she criticizes them. Having a high dollar hike is okay, but don't criticize others for the way they are going to hike. All's fair in love and hiking.

    This is the best written book I've read on the AT. She's a beautiful writer but her inconsistency and hypocrisy irked me to no end. Read for the prose!

    Post-script: What ever happened to Jed and her daughter? That's what I really want to know!

  9. Debbie Debbie says:

    I loved the subject but this book was a bit of a disappointment. The author's style is very clinical; gives good information but the delivery is nothing special. I got extremely tired of (and finally offended by) her sexism. I am so intrigued by the AT (after hiking a little as a child and then reading A Walk In the Woods) but this book made it seem like such a selfish thing to want to hike in its entirety.

  10. Cindy Stavropoulos Cindy Stavropoulos says:

    I was gifted this book by my Momma during a celebration for my 53rd birthday. As a section hiker of the Appalachian Trail, reading about this tedious and strenuous adventure helps my brain obtain the mental strength just to section hike this extraordinary beast. It’s unimaginable to me the mental fortitude it requires to complete its entirety.

    With that, I began reading Leslie Mass’, In Beauty May She Walk, 5 months ago and just completed all 408 pages on the car ride home from beautiful Rocky Mountain National Forest.

    Ironically, speaking of mental toughness, my OCD tendencies to complete just wouldn’t allow the action to close it halfway through and put it on the shelf. Oh! I wanted to but I just had to unveil its conclusion. Ending it, filled my brain with many thoughts.

    First, the flip flop I had heard of but not read about. The planning that must take place has to be thought out, well planned and organized. Again, this OCD thing would never allow me to flip flop.

    Second, I found Mass to often be somewhat judgmental in her writings when hiking along side the opposite sex. She even writes about how she enjoyed hiking with females more. It was quite apparent she struggled in her relationship with her daughters’ new found love, “Jed”. But, they struggled with one another equally. I did admire that she kept comments to herself when “Jed” may have deserved some scolding. She knew her place and continued her journey in the best light possible. I do wonder if “Jed” and her daughter made it? I do love the fact that her husband, George, is so supportive of her need for completing such a task.

    Third, I do so wish she had shared her sketches and more descriptions about wildlife. Boredom set in towards the middle of the book because it seemed repetitive.

    Fourth, the moment I picked the book back up, Mass was near completion of Katahdin. “Jed” left a note to turn back. It fueled her fire and desire even more and she conquered. I so admired her for the mental toughness to prove him wrong. Her decent left me feeling emotional when her buddy, Elmo, fell off her pack. She didn’t realize it until she reached the bottom. Her description about the meaning of Elmo brought tears to my eyes. So meaningful.

    Fifth, my final thought. Mass speaks about being an introvert. She hiked her own hike but not without the struggles to identify what that meant for her. I felt she wrote about her trials and tribulations in a journal form. Again, I would have loved to see her sketches and read more about wildlife and hiker personalities. In the end, this book brought meaning to my “section hiking” goals and I thank her for writing it.