A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
A Walk in the Woods Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail Author:Bill Bryson Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes--and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides e... more »ndless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is destined to become a modern classic of travel literature.« less
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I'm a backpacker; the kind of person who packs up a pack with a tent and food and disappears for long periods of time in the woods on marked trails. When not in the woods, I'm frequently on a backpacking discussion forum. From time to time, Bryson's name comes up as the ultimate definition of "not a backpacker". When this happens, half of the posters defend him, stating that even though he did not hike the entire Appalachian Trail, his text is inspiring enough that it has led others to the trail. The other half of the posters call him a sniveler and a whiner.
I had to see for myself, so I ordered a copy of his book. Okay, so Bryson is not a trail legend like Jack Tarlin or Minnesota Smith (the latter being someone who is known to overpack toilet paper to the tune of six rolls for a week long hike). But while Bryson cannot contribute an expert's account of a difficult sport, he can provide a humorous tale of two average folks who are ill equipped for the rigors of backpacking. Furthermore, he does it while incorporating a good deal of interesting trail history.
So to those who would quibble about whether the mileage Bryson has logged qualifies him to write a book, I say: "Put down your argument and pick up this book!"
Karin H. (AuntieK) reviewed A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail on
Helpful Score: 20
We read this book aloud to each other on a long car trip, and what a great choice it was! It lent itself well to being shared, and was incredibly funny. Mr Bryson provides a delicious account his personal trip on the Appalachian Trail, adding information about the history of the Appalachian Trail, some of the flora and fauna, and some information about the National Parks Service, of which he most definitely has an opinion. Don't let the information bits put you off reading the book; you need the breaks from laughing.
This was a great read! I am basically a fiction reader, but this book got me from the first page. The author really makes hiking the Appalachian Trail sound very interesting...lots of facts, humor (and opinions) about the trail, the locales and the people you meet along the way.
Bill Bryson is a wonderful story teller. The book is about his adventure hiking the Appalachian Trail, the people he meets along the way, facts, figures and history about the forests, the trail, and spots along the way. Just as several of his other travel books, this one is filled with wit, wisdom and a story like few are able to tell.
I've read this book multiple times, and find myself falling in love with the Appilacian Trail more and more each time. Bryson's wit and insights into history pertaining to the trail keep me hooked, even when the book drags a little.
I really enjoyed this book. As a camper and hiker (not anything like Bryson, however), a journey on the Appalachian Trail intrigued me. Bryson is a great storyteller, and I found myself laughing aloud at some of the characters he meets along the trail and the strange situations he encounters. His traveling companion is a book in himself. The only drawback to the book for me was that Bryson sometimes gets on his soapbox about environmental issues, which while completely worthy of discussion, sometimes detracted from the story for me. I still give it 4 stars and have recommended it to several people. This book led me to read Wild by Cheryl Strayed about her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Is this guy for real? YES. And that's what makes this book so good. How does anyone go backpacking only half prepared and know so little of real life on the trail. This was a 2000, mile trail. Who does that? Apparently Mr Bryson did. These two were side splitingly funny sometimes. A great novel about life among the wild. I loved it.