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Posted July 15, 2013
I came across this book in the local library while waiting for my wife to choose some books. I read it over a two day period and basically couldn't put it down. It is essentially a book of contrasts in that the author walks out of Times Square, New York with all its bustle, through Harlem and out of the city to the north before entering country areas as he heads towards Vermont. Part of the book is in the City, part is on the Appalachian Trail and part is on the Vermont Long Trail. On the way he stays with friends, camps in shelters on the trail, filters his water, and then on the odd occasion stays in a nice hotel. I was interested in his observation that as soon as hikers entered the towns they would do what they needed to do such as have a good meal and then they would be anxious to be back on the trail again. Walking day after day is more like the world we evolved in rather than this artificial protective shell called civilization that we have built for ourselves. On the way there are interesting historical observations - who would have thought that George Washington would have paid $500 to have his horse rescued from a fall (and was he over charged - $500 was a lot of money in 1777).
Despite the hardships on the trail you get a feeling that the author really came alive on this trip. The longest I have ever walked in one day is 20 miles and I have every admiration for the long distances covered here hiking day after day through what are often tough conditions. I have only done short hikes on the Appalachian Trail although I did a huge amount of hiking in England but whenever I look at a map of the Appalachian Trail you can see immediately that it is a tough hike with a lot of altitude changes. Wren met a lot of interesting people on the trip, many of whom were hiking alone which is probably the best way to do it.
This is the kind of book that you could buy and then open up and read again five years later and I can recommend buying this one. I hope that Christopher Wren is enjoying his retirement in Vermont and that he still finds time to hike.
Posted April 17, 2005
I loved this book! There was just something wonderfully magic about this tale of discovery of the people and places we all often just 'pass by' in our pursuit to get where we're going. The humor in this story is delightful, and the story of the hike itself is great. I picked this book up to read on a plane & honestly was surprised when a few hours later the plane landed & my eyes had not left these pages the entire flight! I wanted to begin hiking to discover my own familiar paths immediately. Thank you Christopher Wren!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 18, 2004
The journey taken on foot has long been part of literature and philosophy. Herman Heese for instance wrote beautifully reflective vignettes of life in the valleys and hills of his own country. There are a number of books based in America from the genre; and even when done badly they all offer something to the reader because life from street level can't fail to be intriguing and illuminating. WALKING TO VERMONT is a winner; starting out from glittery grand New York and slowly descending to less celebrated plains, where making a living takes on a whole new and tougher meaning. As a journey to the soul, I heartily recommend IN THE GHOST COUNTRY which is an astonishing and haunting true story that is worth checking out.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 26, 2009
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