I finished reading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson this morning.

This is from my review on GoodReads.

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I read The Lost Continent: Travels in Small Town America, also by Bill Bryson, and I was not impressed. However, I had loved some of his other books which I read for my Master’s degree in English. So I didn’t know what to expect from this book.

I’ve had the dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail since sometime in the 90s. Well, that was 20-odd years ago and I’m not 20-something anymore but I’ve held onto that fantasy as something to do when I retired. (I’m realistic enough to know that it takes a while to hike the trail.) A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail taught me just how much of a fantasy my dream was.

I’m not a hiker; I’m a Volksmarcher. (Google it.) I’m a casual walker. I’ve long held hikers in awe. They walk miles and miles and miles. Me, I feel well-walked at 3 miles. These people log 20+ miles a day! The longest I’ve walked was 7 miles at the State Fair. Bill Bryson walked over 800 miles and barely covered a third of the trail.

Bill Bryson, like most hikers, did stuff like carry food for days on end. And that’s all he got to eat! He carried a water bottle with a filter on it! I don’t even like my water to be warm. Before a volksmarch (and after), I like to stop off for breakfast at McDonald’s. I don’t like sleeping in a sleeping bag. I don’t want to carry a tent. My fantasy included the idea that there were camps/hotels that a day hiker would spend each night at (as I’ve heard about in other countries). The Appalachian Trail isn’t like that.

I really enjoyed the idea of two middle-aged, out-of-shape men hiking the trail. Other than I’m female, that’s me! Old-aged and out-of-shape. Up until I realized that I’m older than:Bill Bryson when he hiked the trail. If he couldn’t do it with a wife living near by (my family would be half a continent away) as a support system, how can I expect to?

In many ways, Bill Bryson destroyed my dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. I was willing to risk the blisters but I’m unwilling to give up too many creature comforts. I don’t think I’ll ever make the transition from Volksmarcher to hiker.

But at least Mr. Bryson allowed me the opportunity to experience the Appalachian Trail vicariously. For that, I’m grateful.

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About scribedscribbles

Like most people, I hate filling out profile pages. Who am I? Well, I’m a wife, teacher, daughter, and friend. I’m also an intellectual, an introvert, a night owl, and a bookworm. I work with struggling readers and overachievers, ages 11 to 15. I take care of students, a cat, two rabbits, friends, and my husband. I enjoy geocaching, reading, volksmarching, gardening, crocheting for charity, lecturing, science fiction, learning, and teaching. My favorite colors are blue, green, and purple. I am judgmental, dyslexic, sweet, overweight, graying, short, generous, loving, supportive, and chronically early to meetings. I’m afraid of snakes, putting my head underwater, heights, depths, and failure.

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