Yup, I’m reviewing…

A Journey North: One Woman’s Story of Hiking the Appalachian Trail
By: Adrienne Hall

First and foremost Adrienne Hall repeatedly refers to herself as a thru-hiker. She is NOT. When you quit the trail, twice, and go home you’re NOT a thru-hiker. When you hop a bus and bypass part of the trail because you’re not enjoying yourself you’re NOT a thru-hiker. If you don’t walk the entire trail, you’re not a thru-hiker.

That being said this book is a rough read. Very short sections discussing her experience on the trail are interrupted incessantly by lectures and soap-box diatribes about just how horrible we humans are at taking care of the wilderness. We’re treated to pages and pages on the plight of salamanders, the history of the trail, the wolves that didn’t make it, the poor health of the trees, indian legends, etc. etc.

I didn’t pick up a text book about the ecology of the Eastern Seaboard I picked up a book to read a female’s viewpoint on walking the AT. We actually get very little of that and that consists almost entirely of complaining and whining and crying about how horrible the trip was and how insanely hard the trail was to hike. It makes one wonder if all the other authors accounts of walking the Appalachian Trail were candy coated or if Ms Hall was just not suited to the lifestyle and only embarked on and completed the trip in fear of losing her boyfriend as it’s touched on early in the book that her making this trip was some sort of ‘test’ to see if she’d be worth having as a wife/girlfriend.

The two reviews on the back of the hardcover praise Hall’s humor in her writing… I must have read a different version as I didn’t see anything even mildly humorous in her disjointed writing style (one review also praises her writing skills) in which we flit back and forth from place to place, time to time and subject to subject. She’ll be discussing New Hampshire, segue into some irrelevant bit of history and then jump back to something she suddenly remembered happening months beforehand a thousand miles from where we’re standing.

As kindling this book would make a good fire starter as a book it fails on so many levels. If you’d like a good read about an Appalachian Trail thru-hike check out David Brill’s ‘As Far as the Eye Can See‘ it’s far superior to this dreck.

One Star (yes, one!)

Hawk (would rather read a cereal box…)

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