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

This is from my review on GoodReads.


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.


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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