The Laughalachian Trailby Tom Waite
A thru-hike on the 2179-mile Appalachian Trail is like an experiential comedic play that lasts for months. Thru-hiking cast members are hairy, emaciated, hilarious. And it's not just their serial-killer look that makes them so funny. It's also their repartee, delusions of awesomeness, voluntary celibacy, dietary excesses, and so much more. This book celebrates hiker… See more details below
A thru-hike on the 2179-mile Appalachian Trail is like an experiential comedic play that lasts for months. Thru-hiking cast members are hairy, emaciated, hilarious. And it's not just their serial-killer look that makes them so funny. It's also their repartee, delusions of awesomeness, voluntary celibacy, dietary excesses, and so much more. This book celebrates hiker humor in all of its guises - surreal, frivolous, morbid, and even scatological.
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Probably few people know of the concept of 'thru-hiking' and even fewer know of the Appalachian Trail that stretches 2179 miles from Maine, through New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, to Georgia. Tom Waite introduces this 'obsession' to us in one of the most original and hilarious books of the year. He manages to inform us of all aspects of preparing for the 'thru-hike', conditioning, mentally readying, the supplies needed, the forces to be faced, the basic loss of 40 pounds of body weight to be expected during the hike, the living conditions, the kindness of strangers, the lack of privacy for tending to the needs of the body while at the same time making these seemingly insurmountable obstacles of a 'trip' one of some of the strangest series of incidents and encounters with human nature set to paper. Tom Waite is a professor of Ecology as a day job, but takes these hikes regularly - enough so that he has complied stories that are humanistic as well as funny - though some of the humor stretches the imagination of comedy! Everyone who sets out on a 'thru-hike' takes on a name for the experience: Waite's hiker identity is Ledge and just t make sure we are not hearing tales of history or of other people's experiences, Ledge stays with us through the book. He shares the personalities of some bizarre types form the loquacious Gonad to the fellows that encounter excretory emergencies along the trail to the good friends he adopts in the various pit stops to the foods (and aftermath) on the trail. Just when it seems he will not be able to make us laugh anymore, up pops an even stranger situation that bots the previous one. With Ledge's help we feel the exhilaration of the hike, and we also witness the surreal aspects of taking a long period of time to commit to just hiking over 2000 miles. This is a cult unknown to most of us and that aids in making it a source of new comedy. As an aside, Ledge gives us a complete list of the dos and don'ts of becoming involved in a thru-hike adventure. And there is much sound ecology and environmental appreciation and good sense health in these pages. For many reasons this is a book that will inform and lighten the otherwise corporate cubicle life so many see as the extent of the world. Highly Recommended reading. Grady Harp
Great story telling (and a bit of philosophy) about the people and events encountered during a 2,178 mile "thru-hike" of the A.T. The author (Ledge) completed his thru hike southbound from Maine to Georgia in 2009... then bicycled all the way back to Maine. In the winter! Country Runner MEGA (SOBO)'09
While sitting in front of a fireplace in the Smoky Mountains I enjoyed all 248 pages-even the Glossary and References. Tom tells a remarkable of "life" on the trail. The characters came alive. The settings were perfect and his various reflections are worth thinking about. A great read. RTK Canton, Mississippi