Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Walk in the Woods: Chapters 1-4

So far, A Walk in the Woods seems to be an enjoyable book to read. The book is about Bill Bryson's experience on the Appalachian Trail.

He decided to go on the trail because he wanted to experience the wilderness before it disappeared, and because he didn't want to be considered a sissy.

Apparently, there is an infinite number of items needed to buy in order to go camping, or at least that is what Dave Mengle thought. Dave was a salesman who showed Bill Bryson around the store, and he helped him to pick out the "needed" equipment. To name a few, he bought "a three-season tent, self-inflating sleeping pad, nested pots and pans, collapsible eating utensils, plastic dish and cup, complicated pump-action water purifier, stuff sacks..." (14; ch. 1).

He certainly goes into detail with the amount of tragedies associated with the AT. "Nearly everyone I talked to had some gruesome story involving a guileless acquaintance who had gone off hiking the trail with high hopes and new boots and come stumbling back two days later with a bobcat attached to his head..." (5; ch. 1).

If you ask me, Bill ended up with the worst possible companion for his trip. His name is Stephen Katz. "He was limping a little and breathing harder than one ought to after a walk of twenty yards" (32; ch. 2). "'Yeah, I gotta eat something every hour or so or I have, whaddayacallit, seizures'" (32; ch. 2).

During their trip, Bill and Katz met some very interesting, including a strange woman named Mary Ellen, who irritates them to no end. To give a good example, "'say, is that a Hostess cupcake?' Before I could speak or Katz could seize a log with which to smite her dead, she said, 'Well, I don't mind if I do,' and ate it in two bites. It would be some days before Katz smiled again" (81; ch. 4).

Bill Bryson explains his introduction to camping and how he felt about it, usually in a humorous way. He shows how much there is to learn about hiking the "AT," which may help others if they were to start hiking themselves.

He seems to be worried about the environment. "If the global temperature rises by 4 degrees C over the next fifty years, as is evidently possible, the whole of the Appalachian wilderness below New England could become savanna" (5; ch. 1).

Although this book is nonfiction, the events are very abnormal, and by the way the story has unfolded so far, I can safely say that this book will be very enjoyable to read!

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