"We stood for a moment before the venerable signpost marking the summit. Scored with graffiti and the constant onslaught of weather, it stands perhaps three feet high, a wooden A-frame painted Forest Service brown with recessed white letters:
KATAHDIN 5268 ft.
Northern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail
Below this were a few waypoints: Thoreau Spring, 1.0, Katahdin Stream Campground, 5.2. At the bottom of the list: Springer Mountain, Georgia, 2160.2. More than two thousand miles. It was simply a number, too large and incomprehensible to have any bearing on me. The farthest I had ever walked in a day was ten miles and that was with a daypack. Now I was contemplating a journey of months, covering thousands of miles. All of a sudden, there on the summit with the clouds screaming past us, it didn"t seem like such a great idea.
I turned to my sister, half-expecting to see the same doubt mirrored in her face. But her eyes were shining, and she smiled with an almost feral inensity. It was a look I would come to know all too well over the next year and a half, and it meant, I am going to do this and no one had better try to stop me. "We"re really doing this," she shouted over the wind"s howl and the lashing rain. "We"re hiking the Appalachian Trail!""
--from the book
At the ages of twenty-five and twenty-one, Lucy and Susan Letcher set out to accomplish what thousands of people attempt each year: thru-hike the entire 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Tril. The difference between them and the others? They decided to hike the trail barefoot. Quickly earning themselves the moniker of the Barefoot Sisters, the two begin their journey at Mount Katahdin and spend eight months making their way to Springer Mountain in Georgia. As they hike, they write about their adventures through the 100-mile Wilderness, the rocky terrain of Pennsylvania, and snowfall in the Great Smoky Mountains--a story filled with humor and determination. It"s as close as one can get to hiking the Appalachian Trail without strapping on a pack.
Lucy Letcher is an artist and a writer. She has an MFA in printmaking from Edinburgh College of Art, and has exhibited in galleries in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany. She currently lives and works in Berlin.
Susan Letcher is currently a doctoral student in ecology at the University of Connecticut. After graduation, she will be working as a professor for study abroad courses in Costa Rica with the Organization for Tropical Studies.
"Rarely will you find books that explore the human emotions of a long-distance trek so honestly and clearly."
--Roger Williamson, Campmor, Inc.