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Fresh off of Camp McFradd’s hop across the pond – Scotland in general and the West Highland Way specifically – I thought I’d share a bit of the homework that went into our journey.

Jay and I have upped our trail time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in an attempt to prepare ourselves to hike the 96 miles that make up the West Highland Way. We did a few back-to-back hikes, to get our bodies use to walking on tired legs, but I’m not sure anything could have completely prepared us for the 7-day trek.

On the Boulevard trail to Mount LeConte

The trail time also gave me a better sense of what I need to pack, especially the day we hiked during a monsoon. I also learned how to mentally prepare for hours of walking with my darling (the short version: he doesn’t like talking the entire time, so I packed headphones and downloaded an audiobook.)

Together we created an epic road trip playlist), but I think audiobooks are fitting, given I would have never known about the West Highland Way if not for…

Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God by Margaret Feinberg

Several years ago, I listened to the audio version of this book, read by the author. In the opening chapter, she describes her time on the trail. Before the trip, I borrowed the book from my online library to remind myself of what ignited the desire to tackle the miles.

Single Malt Murder (Whisky Business Mystery – Book 1) by Melinda Mullet

Curious as to why I’d read a fictional account of murder for the trip, Jay assumed the read would scare me. He’s not big into fiction and doesn’t understand the appeal of a cozy mystery. I assured him I had no fear that I’d ended up dead, floating in a vat of whisky, unless of course, I tipped over with a straw in my hand.

I first mentioned these next two in my Sharing 4 Quick Stories post, but felt that they needed to be included here as well.

How to Break a Dragon’s Heart by Cressida Cowell

I finished all but the last 15 minutes of this audiobook on day 7 of our hike. I enjoyed hearing the accents as we walked, and had no trouble creating a mental picture of the setting.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

This selection came highly recommended from a variety of people, so much so I was surprised by its explicit content. Naively, I assumed the graphic nature of the television adaptation I had been warned about had not originated in the book. I read most of the book during the week of our walk, reading when my muscles couldn’t take another step. While I enjoyed reading the book as an extension of our vacation, I’m too much of a prude to adore the series as much as most. I won’t continue reading the book series, or streaming episodes of the show online.

Before the trip, Jay also purchased a guidebook about the West Highland Way. I’ll write more about it when I post about the trail itself. Which parts are you most interesting in reading about?