Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Week 5, Part 2

First, Bill Bryson described the possibilities of mountain lions living in New England, and how pointless hunting has led to the extinction of many species of birds. Returning to the story, Bill met Chicken John, who was famous for somehow losing the AT. Before separating, Bill reminded Chicken John that he was walking in the wrong direction.

While hiking, Bill became very, very hot, but he finally came to a Burger King, where he bought a very large Coke. Later, he ran into a man with a handheld called "Enviro Monitor," which could measure eighty values, which were mostly useless.

As Bill was hiking the White Mountains, a mist came and it became cold. He realized that he had forgotten his waterproofs, and he began to worry about hypothermia. As he walked, he was getting cold and wet, and every time he looked at his watch, it read the same time! Bill was sure he was losing his mind, and he described several strange effects hypothermia can have on the brain. When he finally got to a lodge, he realized that his watch was stuck.

Then he came to Mount Washington, where it was so windy that you could sometimes get blown into the air! Bill made a long description of the history of hotels at Mount Washington.

A Walk in the Woods has a pattern for each chapter, it seems. Bryson will start by telling a specific story of someone who was in the same area that Bill is in. This expands into a topic spanning about three or four pages long. When the monologue has finally ended, Bill will return to the story and describe his experience hiking this particular area, and will add various facts, figures, and anecdotes. Finally, he will usually start over again with a topic which will continue until the chapter ends.

Now, I have enjoyed this book without a doubt. Bill’s hiking story will span just enough pages to keep me reading. The problem is that now Katz is gone. Since Bill has been day-hiking, he’s been alone for the most part, and the book is starting to get dull. Chapter 17 was an exception, as the story was fairly entertaining, although it made me feel somewhat queazy (I still feel somewhat lightheaded at the moment, so perhaps it wasn’t the book’s fault). I hope that Bill will hurry up and go home, so the time can speed up to a week per page until Katz joins up with him again.

In a way, though, Katz’s absence has been refreshing. His mouth has been the source of the majority of swearing in A Walk in the Woods. But although Katz f-words have been annoying, you’d think I’d be used to it. I’ve heard worse on the random online forums that I sometimes talk on. Also, Katz’s language isn’t usually presented in a positive light, and the author doesn’t ever stoop to his level of language. Bill prefers to use “goodness” instead (which I actually find more offensive than the f-word, but I won’t go into right that now).

So in general, I miss Katz and hope that his personality re-enters the book very soon.

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