Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Appalachian Trail Books: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Just finished 's well known Appalachian Trail book, A Walk in the Woods. Someone had placed a new paperback copy in my mail box at the office. Likely because they know I've been backpacking long sections of the Appalachian Trail for a few years now. Even though Google shows 5,176 reviews for Bryson's book, here's my take on A Walk in the Woods.

First, Bryson's style is most enjoyable and he cleverly weaves facts into his narrative of his year long series of hikes along the Appalachian Trail. We learned a few things, such as the history of the Delaware Water Gap, that we would have liked to have known before our hike of the same section. (Fortunately, we have not yet sectioned Mount Greymore in MA, so we'll have a better appreciation of the war memorial and buildings when we arrive some years hence.)

Second, Bryson was faithful in recreating just how difficult, tiring, and mentally tough any long hike of the Appalachian Trail really is. We too have stood at the abyss and had to weigh our desire to continue hiking or just pack it in and go home. Anyone planning a through hike or even an extended hike of a section of the Appalachian Trail is well served by reading Bryson's book and taking seriously his recollection of just how tough the Appalachian Trail really is. There's a reason why so many hikers abandon their hike of the trail year after year. Bryson should be commended on his honest descriptions and having the integrity to reveal that he too found a through hike beyond what he wished to endure. While we have only hiked about 200 miles of the 2, 178 mile trail, like Katz and Bryson, we too have "hiked the Appalachian Trail" and will be forever changed by it.

Its an inexpensive paperback book and its found in most libraries. If you've got some time for reading, its worth it. If you want to save some cash, you can read a large excerpt of A Walk in the Woods on Google Books.

Disclosure: We select and purchase the product(s) reviewed. We have no material connection to either the manufacturer nor the retailer(s).

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm going to hike the Appalachian Trail

I have played with the Xtranormal cartoon tool in the past, and I am ashamed I didn't think of this before now. Lori did a great job summarizing the usual discussion that takes place when others hear you are planning to hike all or part of the Appalachian Trail. It's a bit long, but worth the time.