Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

4 Star Read

I was once asked, after revealing my hometown of Berea, Ky, if we had yet discovered the technology of flushing toilets. You know, the system where you hit a button and water washes away your bodily fluids to a treatment plant, and so on and so forth.

Taking the man for a prankster I simply replied, yes, we figured that one out long ago.

As proof, he asked me which way the water would spin in the bowl. I told him and then added, to impress him my higher than third grade education, that in Australia the water spins the opposite direction.

That actually backfired because he had no idea what I was talking about... 

The point is, having shared with a stranger that I grew up at the base of the Appalachian Mountains I was immediately stereotyped into the group of 'mountain people', with no running water, or flushing toilets, most likely uneducated in the traditional sense, and I'm sure he was curious if I had a social security number.

To be fair, I've met quite a few true Appalachians who fit the bill.

Now, I am not an avid hiker. I've hiked a lot of trails, any I could find or any I heard about within 50 miles of my home searching for photographic opportunities, but I despise camping and all my hiking escapades have been short day trips that require no more than a few bottles of water and a granola bar or two.

I have no ambition to hike the Appalachian Trail, but I can't help wonder at the amazing photographic opportunities a trip like that would provide...

I have two main reasons for wanting to read A Walk in the Woods. First was to read an outsiders view on the landscape and the people of Kentucky and the Appalachian mountains, which sadly I discovered he did not pass through the area. My second reason was to talk a friend out of walking the Appalachian Trail.

From the first few chapters you get a feel for Bill Bryson, sarcastic, a bit in your face, but upbeat and generally a nice guy. He's outspoken, funny and likable. 

The book starts off slow, lots of facts about the trail, plenty of gruesome bear attack stories, and I began to wonder if reading the book itself would be as much an undertaking as walking the dreaded 2,000 mile (or more) Appalachian Trail.

It picks up a bit with some good hearted humor and chuckle worthy tales and encounters, and lots more facts. In all, it's a good weekend read where you can learn a bit of history and fun facts while you're at it. Bryson is an intriguing writer, has a great sense of humor, and more than a bit of crazy for undertaking the Appalachian trail.

A Walk in the Woods is a pleasurable read for a few chuckles and more than a few reasons to enjoy the indoors and daily hot showers.

This book was given to me for review by blogging for books.

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