No Walk in the Woods
Dahlonega, Georgia (at the start of the Appalachian Trail) — Two weeks of testing complete and 31 subjects done. Hiked on the trail for about 10 miles on Wednesday to see how my subjects were doing and give out some trail magic. Trail magic describes the good deeds people do along the trail for thru-hikers. It ranges from bringing snacks and drinks up to setting up a full breakfast on the trail. I saw about 12 of the subjects and they were all in good spirits.
A Walk in the Woods. Bill Bryson wrote the book, millions read it. The following year after its publication over 2000 people attempted the Appalachian Trail, hundreds more than in previous years. The dropout rate that year was the highest recorded.
What people found is that the Appalachian Trail is not “a walk in the woods.” It is a very difficult 2,174 mile hike that is a physical and psychological challenge. Normally, about 20-25% of thru-hikers who start the trail ultimately make it to the trail terminus in Maine. What I have found so far is that many hikers attempt the trail to go into the woods to find themselves, almost in the same way Henry David Thoreau did many years ago. I have not seen the other end of the trail yet so I am excited about doing the post-testing in Maine to see the outlook on the trail and life from the hikers who complete the trail.
Oh, back to the Bill Bryson book. Many of the real thru-hikers and Appalachian Trail veterans do not like the book. Many feel that it trivializes the trail in many ways, others feel it is a work of fiction. While put forward as non-fiction, word on the trail is that many of his exploits on the trail were either made up or borrowed(?) from other hiker’s experiences.
So what is next for A Walk in the Woods? The trail goes Hollywood! They are starting a movie version of the book, staring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, yes, Newman and Redford. Supposedly filming is going on at the start of the trail right now. So much for the peace and serenity of the trail after the movie comes out.
That’s it for now. Happy trails to you!!
Posted: Fri, March 23rd, 2007 at 1:40PM