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Recently John and I both read a book that was recommended to us by our friends, Jim and Wendy in Houston. The book A Walk through the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail written by Bill Bryson. Jim said he thought this guy wrote a lot like John (when we get him to write) and interestingly enough to us, he grew up in Iowa. Bryson was actually a travel writer for many years in England and traveled all throughout Europe and has written columns and books about some of those adventures. This book was written after he had returned to the US and was living in New Hampshire, not far from the Appalachian trail.
I know many of my fellow RVers and bloggers like to hike and for that reason I think you will enjoy this book. Bryson decides to start at the southern end of the trail and hike it north. He starts early in the spring as the trail is approximately 2100 miles from Georgia to Maine. If you want to hike the whole trail it takes until fall and the snow is falling again.
One of the interesting things in reading this book is learning all the history of the trail and all its unique traits and changes over the years. I learned about the demise of the chestnut trees, the workings (or not workings) of the park service, and a lot of mountains that I had no idea about. I think, like Mr. Bryson, I find the idea of doing a hike like this a romantic idea and part of me sees doing something like this as a challenge. However, after reading the book I think hiking parts of it would be enough for me.
Mr. Bryson is a somewhat irreverent fella and I did enjoy some of his observations. Here is one that actually appeals to me about a long journey:
“Time ceases to have any meaning. When it is dark, you go to bed, when it is light again you get up, and everything in between is just in between. It’s quite wonderful really.”
One observation that really made me laugh was a result of his research on bears before he left and a story he’d read of a group of bears coming into a camp.
“What on earth would I do if four bears came into my camp? Why I would die of course. Literally shit myself lifeless. I would blow my sphincter out my backside like one of those unrolling paper streamers you get at children’s parties - I daresay it would even give a merry toot - and bleed to a messy death in my sleeping bag.” As you can see, he has a gift for description that can be both crass and funny at the same time. I found myself laughing out loud several times as I read.
So for those of you who enjoy a good hike and like a good book, you may find this a good read. I plan on reading a few of his other books as well. And to Jim and Wendy, thanks, Bill Bryson definitely has John’s sense of humor and his way with words too. :)
|A beautiful Texas sunset|