May 22, 2014

The Appalachian Trail

by Ronald M. Fisher

After reading A Walk in the Woods I though it would be nice to see a different view of what hiking the AT is like. Had this one on my shelf from a library discard sale. It's written decades ago, which is interesting because you see how the trail has changed over the years. The author hiked through small farming communities, sheep fields, even people's backyards. By the time Bryson came along, most people had been moved out of the area, or the trail re-routed so it was pretty much all through wilderness.

So this book is more a look at the culture and livelihoods of people who live near the trail, than the hiking experience itself. The author and his two photographer friends took frequent side trips to see local festivals or visit farmsteads. It's a sampling of small-town American life in the Appalachians. I did enjoy the photographs- dated as they are- and got through the book much quicker than I expected because they really are a main feature, but near the end found myself simply bored. There was never enough. The nature writing and descriptions of scenery not really satisfying. Never much explanation about where they were or why. It took me twenty pages in to realize they weren't thru-hikers at all but just doing segments. So it wasn't really what I expected. I learned some history, looked at some nice photos, now it's done.

By the way, did you ever heard of grass-skiing? I hadn't!

Rating: 2/5      200 pages, 1972

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