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Posted January 11, 2012
My Favorite Backpacking Resource
I've had this book for about four years, and among all resources on hiking it is the book I keep going back to for inspiration and information. Ms. Wellman smoothly braids three strands throughout: her journals of hiking (Pacific Crest and Appalachian Trails), the development of her skills as an ultralight backpacker, and the saga of her evolution into a strong, confident, self-supporting individual. Sparkles of humor and ribbons of poetry highlight the the composition.
There is an extensive section on creating your own gear, with clear, precise instructions. I think these could be improved upon with illustrations, but by reading carefully and re-reading before attempting, the reader can form mental images that suffice.
Suggestions are given for making do with items you already have, and substituting thrift-store and yard-sale finds for costly commercial clothing and supplies.
Comprehensive packing checklists are included, and serve as my reference every time I go hiking. In addition, I have read the entire book through several times just because I enjoy and am inspired by Ms. Wellman's story.
I have noted some glitches in spelling and syntax; also, in some cases she switches from past to present tense as though sections are copied directly from her hiking journals without editing. These are minor annoyances, far outweighed by the (so far for me) unparalleled information on ultralight, alternative gear; by the way she gets me thinking outside the box; and by the power and entertainment value of her stories.
If you are a hiker always looking for better and lighter ways, you will be glad to own this book.
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