Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson is a travel book that chronicles the author’s attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail. The book follows Bryson and his friend Stephen Katz as they traverse the 2,200 mile trail, encountering a variety of people and places along the way. The book is filled with humorous anecdotes and observations about the natural world, as well as reflections on the history and culture of the Appalachian Trail.
The main themes of the book are exploration, visions of the Appalachian Trail, man and the natural world, technology and modernization, fear, perseverance, isolation, and friendship. Bryson and Katz explore the wilderness and learn to survive in nature, while also reflecting on the differences between the civilized world and the wild. They experience deprivation and discomfort, but also find moments of joy and gratitude. Along the way, they learn lessons about the importance of companionship, kindness, and knowing your surroundings.
At the end of their journey, Bryson and Katz have gained a greater appreciation for the beauty of the Appalachian Trail and the power of nature. They have also learned valuable lessons about friendship, perseverance, and the importance of taking time to appreciate the world around us.
What I Liked
Everything! It was a joy to read. And most importantly, it actually spurred me to do stuff in the real world.
Two weeks after finishing this book, I took a day hike on the Appalachian Trail for the first time, even though I had lived 50 miles from it for 15+ years. That day hike led to my first overnight backpack which has led to 12+ years of backpacking, camping, environmental volunteering & advocacy, and passing along a love of the outdoors to my own kids.
What I Did Not Like
Not a whole lot! It’s a thoroughly fun book from start to finish. Now that I have read more about the conservation movement, I think he takes a few things out of context to make a joke, but it’s really nothing that takes away from the book.