Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Walk in the Woods, finished

So I'm finished with A Walk in the Woods and I am nearly finished with the flu.  I'm now just at that stage where I'm pronouncing the letter "m" like the letter "b."  I'm easily exhausted, but no longer achey or feverish.

Bill Bryson makes it clear that hiking the Appalachian Trail is brutal and tough.  He leaves it with mixed feelings: "I was weary of the trail, but still strangely in its thrall; found the endless slog tedious but irresistible; grew tired of the boundless woods but admired their boundlessness; enjoyed the escape from civilization and ached for its comforts."  Now I am not tough, not at all.  And yet I found myself texting a friend "Want to hike the Appalachian Trail?"

I can't figure out why reading about something described as an endless slog would prompt that response in me.  Bryson describes the frigid nights when they start in March, the unbearable thirst and sweat in August, the endless breakfasts of raisins and dinners of noodles, the tedium of finally climbing a mountain just to realize there are miles upon miles of similar peaks waiting for you ahead.  Maybe it is the desire, as he puts it, to understand the colossal scale of the world.  Or maybe it is related to the part of me that, as a child, always had my Barbies getting shipwrecked or lost in the wilderness and trying to survive.

When I think about it - to be specific, when I think about having to go to the bathroom outside - I realize I will not attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I still kind of want to, though.

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