AMC Books Announces the Publication of Blazing Ahead

September 21, 2017

Appalachian Mountain Club Books is pleased to announce the release of Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery, and the Rivalry That Built the Appalachian Trail

By Jeffrey H. Ryan
Paperback • 304 pp • 6″x 9″

The Appalachian Trail is one of America’s most revered resources, a path of near-mythic proportions combining rugged natural beauty and human determination. But few know the story of its journey to creation. The idea could have died in the pages of a journal had it not been for the efforts of many people—including two, in particular: Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery. While the men shared a common goal, their vastly different personalities meant it was only a matter of time before these sometimes-allies, sometimes-adversaries reached a dramatic falling out.

Blazing Ahead tells the remarkable story of a dreamer and a doer, weaving together history and biography to detail the internal and external forces the trail builders faced: raw ambition, unbridled egos, a driving love of nature, the 1929 stock market crash, looming World War II, and the prevailing opinions of the day on wilderness and recreation. Drawing upon never-before-published archives, as well as the men’s own correspondence and vivid storytelling, Blazing Ahead uncovers the true but largely unknown story of a shared vision, the rivalry it bred, and the legacy of the men behind one of our nation’s greatest treasures.

Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery, and the Rivalry That Built the Appalachian Trail

“Without the vision of Benton MacKaye and the often abrasive tenacity of Myron Avery, the trail as we know it today would not exist. This book should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand how such a complex project begins—and survives.”—Mills Kelly, Department of History, George Mason University

About the Author
The Maine-based author, speaker, and photographer Jeffrey H. Ryan has a contagious passion for exploring the outdoors, particularly on foot. In 1985, he began section-hiking the Appalachian Trail with a childhood friend, a journey that took nearly three decades to complete and inspired both his first book, Appalachian Odyssey, and his investigation into the dynamic relationship behind the trail’s creation.

Ordering Information for AMC Books
AMC Books are available nationwide through booksellers and outdoor retailers, and can be ordered directly from AMC at or by calling 800-262-4455. (AMC members receive a 20% discount.) E-book versions are available online through Amazon, iBooks, and Barnes & Noble. AMC Books are distributed to the book trade by National Book Network.

Also from AMC Books

About AMC
Founded in 1876, AMC promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America’s Northeast. AMC helps people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. With chapters from Maine to Virginia, guidebooks and maps, and unique lodges and huts, AMC helps people get outdoors on their own, with family and friends, and through activities close to home and beyond. We invite the public to support our conservation advocacy and research, youth programming, and care of 1,800 miles of trails. Learn more at

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