A Walk in the Woods
Rediscovering America on the Appalachian TrailBook - 1999
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 endless 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 has become a modern classic of travel literature.
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Hanging above Interstate 95 and other major roadways in our area (I’m looking at you, State Route 3 and State Route 610) is a blue streak made up of swear words emitted by drivers frustrated by traffic and suburban sprawl. Residing in a busy area of Stafford County and commuting to Northern Virginia until recently, I’ve often fantasized about living in the country, away from the perpetual… (more)
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"If there is one thing the Appalachian Trail teaches, it is low-level ecstasy-something we could all do with more of in our lives."
In America, alas, beauty has become something you drive to, and nature an either/or proposition--either you ruthlessly subjugate it, as at Tocks Dam and a million other places, or you deify it, treat it as something holy and remote, a thing apart, as along the Appalachian Trail. (p. 200)
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