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Along Virginia's Appalachian Trail (Images of America Series)
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Along Virginia's Appalachian Trail (Images of America Series)

by Leonard M. Adkins

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The Appalachian Trail was proposed by Benton MacKaye in 1921. Approximately one-fourth of the Georgia-to-Maine pathway passes through Virginia, going across some of the state’s best mountain scenery and affording access to small-town life. The trail was, and still is, primarily built, maintained, and overseen by volunteers. Selected from the archives of the


The Appalachian Trail was proposed by Benton MacKaye in 1921. Approximately one-fourth of the Georgia-to-Maine pathway passes through Virginia, going across some of the state’s best mountain scenery and affording access to small-town life. The trail was, and still is, primarily built, maintained, and overseen by volunteers. Selected from the archives of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the National Park Service, and local Appalachian Trail maintenance clubs, the approximately 200 photographs in Images of America: Along Virginia’s Appalachian Trail provide a look at life in the mountains before and during the trail’s creation, how it developed, who its early champions were, the many relocations the trail has experienced, and the volunteers who have constructed and maintained it.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Title: Book details Appalachian Trail in Va.

Author: Monica Orosz

Publisher: Charleston Daily Mail

Date: 12/27/09

Leonard Adkins' latest hiking adventure was grueling in its own way, though he didn't even have to don his sturdy boots to accomplish it.

The Charleston native who now lives in Richmond, Va., has hiked all over the world, and his favorite spot is the 2,176-mile Appalachian Trail, which runs from Georgia to Maine.

Adkins is among a rare breed of hikers that has hiked the trail numerous times. He's done it five times, a feat shared by fewer than 50 people who officially have recorded their efforts since 1936, when the trail was completed.

When Adkins isn't hiking, he's often writing about hiking, nature and travels, and he has 15 books to his credit. Make that 16, with the most recent, "Along Virginia's Appalachian Trail," produced in cooperation with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Adkins hopes it will be the first in a series that eventually will cover all portions of the trail.

The 127-page book is composed of historical photos and captions and much like Adkins' first effort to hike the Appalachian Trail around 1980, it was way more difficult than he thought it would be.

"I said, 'It's just going to be a picture book; how hard could that be?' " Adkins said.

Then he began searching the archives of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and visiting locations at Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway. He contacted maintenance clubs responsible for caring for the trail throughout Virginia.

And he dug through photographs, sometimes very well organized, sometimes stuffed into boxes and file cabinets or tucked into photo albums.

What he discovered eventually was a treasure trove of history -- images that showed Benton MacKay, who first conceived the idea in a 1921 issue of "Journal of the American Institute of Architects," and Myron Avery, the man credited with making the trail a reality and the first person to have walked the trail's full length.

Adkins dug up photos of hikers through the decades, and they chronicle just how far hiking gear has progressed.

He found photos that demonstrate just how massive a volunteer effort has been required to clear and maintain the trail.

"Some had great information and documentation," Adkins said. "And some were just the photographs, so I had to go digging. It certainly taught me the value of on every one of my photos putting the date, naming the people, and saying why it was taken.

"There were many photos I would have loved to put in there, but I couldn't find information. I had more photos that I could have put in the book, anyway."

Arcadia Publishing wanted Adkins to focus only on the trail through Virginia, and he hopes it will prove popular enough that he can proceed on books for the other parts of the trail.

The book does mention the two points that the trail touches West Virginia, at Harpers Ferry and on Peters Mountain near Petersburg.

In his introduction to the book, Adkins noted the volunteers who have given their time over the decades to build and maintain it.

"There have been trips where the ground conditions were so tough that, despite the best efforts of 20 or more volunteers, less than 100 yards of trail were built during a Saturday and Sunday work hike," he wrote. "Yet, regardless of this, more than 2,000 miles of the Appalachian Trail exist! It is astounding that people take whatever bit of leisure time they have in their busy lives and volunteer to do hard manual labor just so that you and I can take a walk in the woods."

The book is $21.99 and may be purchased with an accompanying pack of Appalachian Trail postcards for $7.99. It can be purchased online through www.amazon.com.

Title: On the Trail: Book reviews

Author: Staff Writer

Publisher: Bristol Herald Courier

Date: 1/11/2010

Hiker shares his knowledge of famous trail in new book

“Along Virginia’s Appalachian Trail: Images of America,” Leonard M. Adkins and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (Arcadia Publishing, $21.99, 2009)

Renowned Appalachian Trail hiker Leonard M. Adkins shares his knowledge of the famous footpath in a new pictorial history.

Published in conjunction with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, “Along Virginia’s Appalachian Trail: Images of America” focuses on places in Southern Virginia, Central Virginia, Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah National Park.

In Southern Virginia, Adkins shows not only where the trail is today, but he also takes you on the older route in the book’s first chapter, showing off Galax, Fries and the Pinnacles of Dan.

Other images reveal the streets of Damascus, Whitetop Mountain, Thomas Knob Shelter and the wild Mount Rogers Ponies.

Adkins is the author of several other books, including the recently revised “50 Hikes in Southern Virginia.”

Title: Charleston native, hiker Adkins to sign books Wednesday

Author: Staff Writer

Publisher: Charleston Gazette

Date: 2/11/2010

Veteran Appalachian Trail through-hiker and author Leonard Adkins will return to his hometown of Charleston next week to sign his new book, "Images of America: Along Virginia's Appalachian Trail."

Adkins newest book makes use of nearly 200 vintage photos from hiking clubs, the National Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to help Adkins describe life in the mountains before the trail, how the trail came into being, and work done by early trail builders.

The book includes photos of the two places in West Virginia the trail enters West Virginia -- Jefferson County and the Harpers Ferry area and Peters Mountain in Monroe County.

Adkins has hiked more than 19,000 miles in Europe, the Caribbean and North America, including five 2,175-mile through-hikes of the Appalachian Trail. The University of Charleston alumnus has written 16 books about hiking, the outdoors, nature and travel, including "The Appalachian Trail: A Visitor's Companion," "Walking the Blue Ridge," and "West Virginia: An Explorer's Guide."

On Wednesday, he will sign copies of his new book, and several of his previous releases, at Taylor Books on Capitol Street in downtown Charleston from noon to 2 p.m., and at Books-A-Million at Dudley Farms Plaza on Corridor G from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

Product Details

Arcadia Publishing SC
Publication date:
Images of America Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Author Leonard M. Adkins has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail five times and is the author of 15 books about the outdoors and travel, including four concerning the trail. He has aided the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in identifying and protecting rare and endangered plants by being a natural heritage monitor and a ridge runner. He has also been on the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club’s board of directors and a volunteer maintainer of a trail section near McAfee Knob. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is a volunteer-based nonprofit organization that manages the 2,178-mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail, a 250,000-acre greenway extending from Maine to Georgia, so that future generations can enjoy clean air and water, scenic vistas, wildlife, and opportunities for backcountry recreation, education, and renewal.

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