Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail

Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail

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by Suzanne Roberts
     
 

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Day One, and already she was lying in her journal. It was 1993, Suzanne Roberts had just finished college, and when her friend suggested they hike California’s John Muir Trail, the adventure sounded like the perfect distraction from a difficult home life and thoughts about the future. But she never imagined that the twenty-eight-day hike would change her life

Overview

Day One, and already she was lying in her journal. It was 1993, Suzanne Roberts had just finished college, and when her friend suggested they hike California’s John Muir Trail, the adventure sounded like the perfect distraction from a difficult home life and thoughts about the future. But she never imagined that the twenty-eight-day hike would change her life. Part memoir, part nature writing, part travelogue, Almost Somewhere is Roberts’s account of that hike.

John Muir had written of the Sierra Nevada as a “vast range of light,” and this was exactly what Roberts was looking for. But traveling with two girlfriends, one experienced and unflappable and the other inexperienced and bulimic, she quickly discovered that she needed a new frame of reference. Her story of a month in the backcountry—confronting bears, snowy passes, broken equipment, injuries, and strange men—is as much about finding a woman’s way into outdoor experience as it is about the natural world she so eloquently describes. Candid and funny and, finally, wise, Almost Somewhere is not just the whimsical coming-of-age story of a young woman ill-prepared for a month in the mountains but also the reflection of a distinctly feminine view of nature.   

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Editorial Reviews

ISLE - Bradley John Monsma
"Readers who have walked sections of the John Muir Trail will appreciate Roberts's accurate descriptions of lakes and passes, of trail-worn feet, and of the fleeting moments when you seem to float down the trail."—Bradley John Monsma, ISLE
Fleda Brown

“In Almost Somewhere we get to travel both the physical John Muir Trail—its history, its flowers and trees and shadowy peaks—and the gritty emotional landscape of the three women who make the journey. Where are we in the world, anyway? Suzanne Roberts helps us know that the only place we can be is here, giving it all we have, day by day.”—Fleda Brown, author of Driving with Dvořák

ForeWord

"Almost Somewhere is, at all turns, a gratifying read. It is intimate and funny, sharp and pensive, and its readers—if not inspired to undertake their own adventures—will certainly be sad to leave Roberts at the trail's end."—Michelle Schingler, ForeWord

— Michelle Schingler

Booklist

"Roberts dares to combine a hiking adventure with a healthy dose of humor and female bonding in all its complicated and turbulent best. . . . An utterly refreshing outdoors memoir free of the seemingly manufactured drama so many similar titles contain. A delightful and quite literary diversion."—Colleen Mondor, Booklist

— Colleen Mondor

Shelf Awareness

"Almost Somewhere is a contribution to the growing body of women's nature writing, and a worthwhile, entertaining and occasionally funny story of the California wilderness."—Julia Jenkins, Shelf Awareness

— Julia Jenkins

Lake Tahoe News

"[Almost Somewhere is] a 260-page journey that is bound to take you beyond the John Muir Trail."—Kathryn Reed, Lake Tahoe News

— Kathryn Reed

National Parks Traveler

"This is not a backpacking primer, but rather one on young females in search of themselves as they prepare for life after college. We read about insecurities, jealously, lust, self-esteem, tears, bingeing, self-realization, learning to appreciate oneself for oneself, and interpersonal relationships. And come away with the author's realization that mountains in general, and the JMT specifically, provide a spectacular backdrop to work through these issues and absorb the associated lessons."—Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveler

— Kurt Repanshek

ForeWord - Michelle Schingler
"Almost Somewhere is, at all turns, a gratifying read. It is intimate and funny, sharp and pensive, and its readers—if not inspired to undertake their own adventures—will certainly be sad to leave Roberts at the trail's end."—Michelle Schingler, ForeWord
Booklist - Colleen Mondor
"Roberts dares to combine a hiking adventure with a healthy dose of humor and female bonding in all its complicated and turbulent best. . . . An utterly refreshing outdoors memoir free of the seemingly manufactured drama so many similar titles contain. A delightful and quite literary diversion."—Colleen Mondor, Booklist
Shelf Awareness - Julia Jenkins
"Almost Somewhere is a contribution to the growing body of women's nature writing, and a worthwhile, entertaining and occasionally funny story of the California wilderness."—Julia Jenkins, Shelf Awareness
Lake Tahoe News - Kathryn Reed
"[Almost Somewhere is] a 260-page journey that is bound to take you beyond the John Muir Trail."—Kathryn Reed, Lake Tahoe News
National Parks Traveler - Kurt Repanshek
"This is not a backpacking primer, but rather one on young females in search of themselves as they prepare for life after college. We read about insecurities, jealously, lust, self-esteem, tears, bingeing, self-realization, learning to appreciate oneself for oneself, and interpersonal relationships. And come away with the author's realization that mountains in general, and the JMT specifically, provide a spectacular backdrop to work through these issues and absorb the associated lessons."—Kurt Repanshek, National Parks Traveler
Kirkus Reviews
A travelogue chronicling a journey through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and along the path to self-discovery. When Roberts (English and Creative Writing/Lake Tahoe Community Coll.; Three Hours to Burn a Body: Poems on Travel, 2011, etc.) graduated from college with no plans for the future, she decided to take a monthlong vacation from worrying and embark on a serious hike with two girlfriends. Battling injuries, eating disorders, insecurities and each other, the three women hiked the John Muir Trail in the opposite direction of most hikers, attacking the hardest part of the hike first and ending on an easy note. Though Roberts dealt with many questions about her obsessive journaling, her attention to the exercise pays off in this memoir written almost 20 years after the trip. The writing is mostly engaging and keeps the long days of hiking and fighting interesting to the last page. Even when the constant competition between the girls--over men, how many miles to hike, how much food to eat, who makes the decisions and more--becomes grating, most readers will continue to turn the pages. Though Roberts waxes poetic about feminism and finding happiness outside of a relationship, it is obvious these lessons did not sink in until after the trip ended. Occasionally, these girl-power sidebars feel heavy-handed for a travel memoir, but in general, they flow naturally and honestly from the narrative. Will appeal to readers of travel and nature books, as well as those who enjoy reading about social interactions and group dynamics.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803240124
Publisher:
UNP - Bison Books
Publication date:
09/01/2012
Series:
Outdoor Lives Series
Pages:
280
Sales rank:
230,061
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

What People are saying about this

Booklist - Colleen Mondor
"Roberts dares to combine a hiking adventure with a healthy dose of humor and female bonding in all its complicated and turbulent best. . . . An utterly refreshing outdoors memoir free of the seemingly manufactured drama so many similar titles contain. A delightful and quite literary diversion."—Colleen Mondor, Booklist

Meet the Author

Suzanne Roberts teaches English at Lake Tahoe Community College and for the low-residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College. Named “The Next Great Travel Writer” by National Geographic Traveler magazine, Roberts is the author of four collections of poetry, and has published work in numerous journals and anthologies.

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Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
KristyMcCaffrey More than 1 year ago
Ms. Roberts' tale follows her and two college girlfriends as they hike the John Muir Trail in California (Mt. Whitney to Yosemite). With enough description of the trek and scenery to make you feel you're there, nevertheless it's the narrative that will keep you reading. The leader is Erika, a commanding athletic girl who has little patience with slackers while chumming up to the occasional male to cross their path to prove her prowess. Dionne, petite and suffering from bulimia, swings from helpless to strong then back again. And Suzanne, who's never hiked before and names her ungainly backpack 'Big Heiny', struggles with her own self-confidence. Anyone with girlfriends will appreciate the group dynamic--at times warm and supportive, then competitive and combative. This is a wonderful story showcasing women who are real. 
Brenda76 More than 1 year ago
Just finished this book last weekend and found it delightful. I would heartily recommend it to anyone, especially any woman who likes to hike.