The book chronicles the adventures of Bill Bryson, a middle-aged, out-of-shape travel writer, and his on again, off again alcoholic friend Stephen Katz as they attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail. Bill Bryson's use of humor and his honesty about his own lack of outdoor prowess spoke to me. I can relate to Bill Bryson's sticker shock at the gear shop, his staggering down the trail under the weight of an unnecessarily overstuffed backpack, and his irrational fear of bears.
I have only hiked about 20 of the 2,000+ miles that comprise the Appalachian Trail. Yet, the book makes me feel as if I know the trail intimately. The book engenders a love for both the Appalachian Trail, and outdoor places in general. I appreciate that while he entertains us, Bill Bryson also informs us, and ignites within us a desire to respect and conserve wild places.
The movie version of A Walk in the Woods was recently shown at the Sundance film festival, and is to be released to theaters this summer. It stars Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. I, for one, am not much for trips to the movie theater. I prefer trips to the trail head, or in the canoe. But I plan to see this movie. If it's half as hilarious and entertaining as the book, it will be worth the trip to the movies.
A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
Copyright © 1998
Broadway Books, a division of Random House Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
I did not receive compensation for book reviewed in this post. I have read this book, and comments made are based on personal opinions and experience.