“A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson was published in 1997 and has been reprinted several times since then. Of course, it has now been made into a film starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. The book has been republished as a movie tie-in.
“A Walk in the Woods” is the account of Bill Bryson’s attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail which stretches about 3500 kilometres from the south to the north in the eastern United States from Georgia to Maine, passing through Virginia, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New York and New Jersey. Many people try to hike this trail through forest and wilderness, and one year Bryson decided to try it himself, roping in a slightly crazy friend, Stephen Katz, to do it with him. They set off together, and meet with various misadventures, other hikers (sometimes very eccentric), and experience the unique and unequalled beauty of the trail, as well as the vicissitudes involved in such an endeavour.
Bill Bryson is a travel writer, observer of the human race, raconteur and gatherer of all kinds of facts. He is also very, very funny. Parts of the book will have you laughing out loud.
Bill Bryson will also take you off the path, so to speak, as he explains some of the natural history of the trail, the political history of areas he walks through, lots of interesting anecdotes and musings. Some of it will make you thinks, some of it might seem a bit dated and very much the U.S., but that is in keeping with the scope of the book.
Bill Bryson is always worth reading. He is always uniquely funny and engaging, and never fails to educate.
Worth reading – or listening to as an audiobook.