First, congratulations on your hike! My son did two weeks on the Appalachian Trail in Maine when he was a teenager. Rained the whole time. I have some appreciation for the effort it takes to make this trek. Persistance and grit.
I have a question: who is your audience? Are you writing this for others who might make a similar journey or is this a journal for family and friends? The reason I ask is that it reads as both, which to me is confusing. If you are providing a groundwork for other hikers (with the rules, the gear suggestions, etc.), that's one type of book, an informative guide to hiking the AT. If you're story telling, then I would probably leave all the gear suggestions as a separate addendum at the end of the book.
Personally, I would love to hear the story and am sure others would as well. To get me to read it (I did begin to skim because I wasn't engaged enough), bring me along with you as you make this slog but don't make me slog through the book.
Damn what a beautiful view. The fog covering the lake with the mountains in the background. Straight from a Lord of the Rings movie. I couldn’t help but be in awe. It was then I knew whatever decisions I made were right in my life.
Your words above really draw me in. This, to me, is where your story begins. Where is that view? I want to know! You can add backstory about getting to this point but draw the reader into your wonderful experience from the first sentence, then keep it up.
Several years ago, I bought a self published book at a writers' meet by a guy who had written about the Louisville Little League winning the Little League World Series. They were an underdog team with little support who surprised everyone, a great example of mouse beating cat. Half the book was filled with team statistics. Where was the story? I put it in the library donation bag.
Show us your amazing feat and take us with you! Love your socks, by the way!