Recently, I finished reading Bill Bryson‘s A Walk in the Woods. I had started reading it right after Christmas and eventually got distracted by other books. But I took it with me on a 6-day backpacking/camping trek through the Grand Canyon because I thought it was appropriate. Ok, so the Grand Canyon is different terrain than the Appalachian Trail, but it was appropriate enough.
Bill Bryson, an American, spent 20 years in England before moving to New Hampshire with his family. In order to reacquaint himself with his native land, he decided to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, which spans from Georgia all the way to Maine. The book details his ensuing adventures and tribulations.
Bill Brysonis obviously a writer who will make you start giggling like a maniac when you’re reading by yourself in a
coffee shop, and you’ll try to keep your mouth closed, but the laughter will splutter through anyway. My mother was reading the same book in the Grand Canyon, and she started laughing a number of times while reading in our tent. What makes A Walk in the Woods especially funny is the fact that neither Bryson nor his hilarious sidekick Katz is a natural born hiker or anything close to an athlete. The contradictions, such as fueling a journey through the wilderness with Little Debbie cakes and Snickers bars, are so spot-on American.
And besides being funny, A Walk in the Woods is quite informative as well. I knew next to nothing about the Appalachian Trail when I first picked up the book and thumbed through it, but I learned a lot and felt pretty darn inspired and protective of the AT by the end of it. Bryson really makes a plea for preserving the Appalachian Trail and the vision that led to its creation. It really is magnificent. In fact, I almost felt like climbing out of the Grand Canyon and trekking on over to the Appalachian Trail.
All in all, this is an enjoyable, informative, and rather quick read that will instill patriotism and perhaps get more people outside.