Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Published in 1998, A Walk in the Woods
is a captivating account of author Bill Bryson's personal journey along the famous 2,100 mile Appalachian trail (AT). While he starts in
Georgia with the goal of hiking the whole route, his unpreparedness for the trail leads to him quitting in Tennessee and continuing a different journey by finishing the AT in sections.
The book's humor is based in the exploration of the depths of both the physical and mental limitations of carrying a heavy pack for weeks on end. Exploration comes through the hikes as well as the relationship Bryson has with his hiking partner. As with all good adventures, Bryson goes through the process of self-discovery.
While Bryson tells the story as a personal account of his hiking, it is interlaced with the deep history of the trail as well as a critique of America's misuse of natural resources. Bryson sums up his journey, as well as the book by noting:
ÒBut I got a great deal else from the experience. I learned to pitch a tent and sleep beneath the stars. For a brief, proud period I was slender and fit. I gained a profound respect for the wilderness and nature and the benign dark power of woods.
I understand now, in a way I never did before, the colossal scale of the world. I found patience and fortitude that I didn't know I had. I discovered an America that millions of people scarcely know exists. I made a friend. I came home." Submitted by: Sarah Knapp