About M-noelle Baxter
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Name: M-noelle Baxter
[ book tip by M-noelle Baxter ] This extraordinary travelogue abounds in humour, pathos and even ecology lessons. Essentially Bryson, at this time in his forties, decides to tackle the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. As travelling companion we meet again his former adolescent buddy, ex-drug addict, reformed drinker, Stephen Katz who thinks that Twinkies are essential trail tucker and literally falls off the wagon mid-trip.
From stories of Bear attacks and woodland diseases to meeting legends like Chicken John (whose sense of direction was so bad that once he was thirty-seven miles off course in Georgia and the police had to rescue him and show him the way), we are led on a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences; there is nothing like the wilderness to strip a person down to their core. I still quote from Katz, who after a night killing mice in a typically inadequate Trail shelter says, ‘There’s nothing like a good night’s sleep and that was nothing like a good night’s sleep.’
Bryson starts with an interesting history of the Trail in a humorous tone. The instigator in 1921 was the luckless Benton McKaye, who really got involved after his suffragette wife committed suicide. Then, the unlikeable Myron Avery pushed it ahead and inevitably the two fell out in 1935 over a National Park Highway plan to traverse Shenandoah Park, and the two never spoke again.
Bryson and Katz start the trail on a freezing and snowy day in early March, and after many stops, breaks and exclusions (they wisely leave out the 100mile wilderness) and summer daytrips, Bryson eventually finishes by early November alone. He had completed 870 miles, a feat of endurance but still a disappointment, as that’s only 40% of the Trail. This book is a must-read for mountaineers and armchair travellers alike and yes, you will laugh out loud.
[ Favourite quote ] 'There's nothing like a good night's sleep and that was nothing like a good night's sleep' Stephen Katz
[ book info ] Bryson, Bill: A Walk in the Woods.
(Book language: english)