I grabbed A Walk In The Woods randomly while wandering in Chapters and giggled a few times to myself while I read it in Starbucks. It is so delightfully hilarious. Bill Bryson does an excellent job of making the reader laugh while at the same time educating us about the Appalachian Trail. The trail itself is impressive, stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine and is the longest hiking exclusive trail in the world. Bryson creates an effortless reading experience that uses humor to propel the reader through loads of information, the history of the trail, it’s condition and the work done by various organizations to the trail.
As the full impact of his trip comes crashing down, he starts to look for someone to accompany him and is beyond relieved when his old friend agrees. “Good old Katz. Good old anyone with a pulse and a willingness to go walking with me.” Bryson and Katz hike a good portion of the trail together and are certainly an odd pair to join up for such an undertaking. Though it makes clear the unpleasantness of the bugs, heat, cold, rain, etc. you never get a sense of slogging, it all flows quite smoothly and I enjoyed it very much. This is definitely a recommended read.
If you are considering a hike on the Appalachian Trail, or really any lengthy hike through mountains, A Walk In The Woods can give you a glimpse into the experience. Not that reading a book can be a replacement for the real thing, but it helps you understand that while it is magnificent, it is certainly not all sunshine and roses.
If you are interested in learning more about the Appalachian trail, check out the conservancy website here: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/
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