A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods

Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail

Book - 1999
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"Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes -- and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings. For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods is destined to become a modern classic of travel literature." -- p. [4] of cover.
Publisher: New York : Broadway Books, 1999, c1998.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780767902526
Call Number: 917.4044 BRYSON
Characteristics: 276 p. : map ; 25 cm
Subjects: Bryson, Bill -- Travel -- Appalachian Trail.
Natural history -- Appalachian Trail.
Appalachian Trail -- Guidebooks.


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A comedic memoir of the author's attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail the longest trail of it's type in North America. Besides the humor and story behind the trek the author has compiled an amazing number of scientific facts which he easily incorporates into the flow of the book.

Jul 01, 2019

There is some picturesque description here, if you can find it buried among all the snobbishness, sexism, and fat-shaming.

May 19, 2019

My absolute favorite of Bryson's books- and I love a lot of his work.

You just cannot beat the humor of his sidekick, Katz. The situations in which these two adventurers find themselves in on the trail and in these tiny America towns often made me laugh out loud. It was the perfect foil for the sections in the book where he lays out facts and biting commentary about nature, the National Parks system, and Americans.

I even read it with my 13 year old son and the humor and touching friendship that the two hikers developed sustained him through the other parts of the book that were a bit over his head.

This book is on my top 50 books.

ArapahoeJill Dec 19, 2018

This book sucked me in like a novel. It's a great tale about the author's summer hiking the Appalachian trail with his friend Katz, both equally out of shape and pretty much hiking beginners. This book made me laugh at every turn, with Bryson's wit and ability to describe the "characters" they meet along the way, including a few bears. Bryson's brand of humor is a bit snarky but good-natured. You get a sense of what it might be like to head out in the wilderness, meeting fellow hikers (all with their own nicknames) and longing for real food, which they sometimes enjoy on their stops into town. A wonderful jaunt into the travelogue genre, full of entertainment and information about the history and local ecology.

Aug 27, 2018

There are so many parts of this book that I laughed out loud. Bill Bryson is a great storyteller. A Walk In The Woods is a must read for anyone who has ever even thought about tackling the Appalachian Trail. It puts people in two categories, those who after reading this can't wait to start their own adventure. Or those (like me) who after reading of all the hilarious and sometimes scary mishaps, will stick to the local trails at the park.

Aug 07, 2018

A walk in the woods was a surprisingly fast read. Bill Bryson does a great job of integrating history, geography, and his story into an easy read. His part about the bears cracked me up. I will definitely not be hiking the Appalachian trail, but I enjoyed experiencing it through Bryson's book.

Jul 20, 2018

Most of the other commenters have covered my experience of Bryson's book on hiking the trail and I loved adding the geological notes on where he walked on the trail. also those who he met, the thru walkers, and the segment(?) walkers (and the lifetime walkers). As I read it, I had Bryson's "The Appalachian Trail" oversize picture book to look at and visualize the over 2,000 miles of country and trail. I recommend this book. And the hysterical comments that you have to share with anybody close by because he can be pretty funny. I have also enjoyed Wild about the Pacific Coast Trail and books (including Shirley McLain's) about the Spanish trail including talking with friends who have walked the trail in Spain.

SPPL_János Mar 21, 2018

Contriving to hike the Appalachian Trail, Bryson turns his droll wit on America. Joining him is the friend with whom he hitchhiked Europe in "Neither Here Nor There", now somewhat estranged and definitely out of shape. Together they are hopelessly out of their depth before even leaving the sporting goods store. They don't come anywhere close to hiking all 2,100 miles as planned, but Bryson delivers a charming observation of America, self-reliance, the environment, and friendship.

Nov 25, 2017

A real half-and-half book. An extremely funny and entertaining half when he was talking about the preparation, the hike, and the people he was with (or met) on the trail coupled with an almost boring textbook half telling the history of the trees and area. I discerned a palpable dislike for the government incompetence when it comes to the forestry service.

This was a fun book to read. Bryson's writing has a lot of humor in it, making this book much more entertaining. Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a daunting task, but Bryson does hike the trail (though ends up finishing in segments). He shares a lot of lore and facts about the trail so that the reader learns about the towns and sights around the trail. Interesting and fun--especially his friend Katz.

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Jul 28, 2015

"If there is one thing the Appalachian Trail teaches, it is low-level ecstasy-something we could all do with more of in our lives."

Oct 22, 2011

In America, alas, beauty has become something you drive to, and nature an either/or proposition--either you ruthlessly subjugate it, as at Tocks Dam and a million other places, or you deify it, treat it as something holy and remote, a thing apart, as along the Appalachian Trail. (p. 200)


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