DREAMS

I have some big dreams. I often wonder if I’ll ever take the steps to reach them. On the small side of big is doing a brevet (and if you’ve been following along, I’m currently taking baby steps to achieve this one). On the big side of big is riding, not racing the Tour Divide route and backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail or Appalachian Trail. My love of backpacking was rekindled after reading Bryson’s book, A Walk In The Woods several years agoI highly recommend this book, even if just for the humor. I’ve recently completed two wonderful books about backpacking, Wild and Hiking Through. The first, currently a best seller, written by Cheryl Strayed.

WildTP_Books-330Both of these books are about backpacking, though there’s remarkable differences between them. The first written by a woman and the other, a man. Obviously these are two different trails, on opposite sides of the continent.  Paul Stutzman (Hiking Through)

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is a family man with children and a career, who had dreamed of long-distance backpacking for years. He embarks on his dream after the death of his wife. Cheryl on the other hand is much younger and had never even been on an overnight. But she too plunges onto the trail searching for answers and healing after the death of her mother. Both books are about wonderful, resilient people who discover some answers to their questions and more, about themselves.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “DREAMS

  1. I am following a blog right now of a lady hiking through the Appalachian trail. Another of a lady who is trekking to Everest bass camp soon. My dream is cycling across the US. and yep I to wonder if I will be able to find he time to Donna some day!

  2. MG

    I just finished Wild and loved it all the way through. Thank you for the other recommendation. All the best pursuing your own dreams as well.

    • Thanks so much for visiting! Hard to put into words reading such similiar books written each by a different gender. But there are differences. I didn’t really want to get into that on my post but let me know what you think if you read Hiking Through.

  3. Another good (and humorous) read is “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson, about his travels on the AT.

  4. As I’m an AT 2,000 miler, having thru-hiked the AT in 2001, I have to say do whatever you can do to make your dream come true. It was the best, and scariest, decision I’ve ever made. It was the best experience of my life. I wanted to recreate that feeling of a long distance journey with my attempt at the TransAm route last summer. It failed miserably. But I still have wonderful memories from the AT.

    I always tell people that the best way to make a trip like that happen is to “set a date”, and tell all your friends. It’s seems like such a small thing, but setting a date is such a huge commitment. It really gets the ball rolling.

    I’ll admit Bill Bryson’s book has some wonderful laugh-out-loud moments. But his work is largely considered a work of fiction amongst the thru-hiker community. My wife is currently reading Wild and is enjoying it very much (she did the thru-hike with me in 2001).

    • Hi Doug! Then you’re a wealth of knowledge. Did you subscribe to the ultralight school (though I think it’s gotten even crazier the last few yrs.)? Right now I’m looking at ultradistance cycling, but those trails are simmering in the back of my mind.

      • Me, a wealth of knowledge? I don’t think so. I’m learning everyday just like everybody else. Some of us are way ahead of the curve on a few things, and way behind the curve on most other things.

        The ultralight craze was revving up big time way back in 2001. We were preached to about the “Ray Way” (Ray Jardine methods) more times than we cared for during our thru-hike because we were packing a bit heavier than most and people felt the need to free us from our burdens. The code on the Appalachian Trail is to “hike your own hike”. But many people broke the code and freely told others they were doing it all wrong.

        In the end, we were doing it right because we were the 1 in 10 that finished our thru-hikes. Ultralight methods are good to know and practice. But one needs experience as well. I saw many times inexperienced people trying to follow the Ray Way get themselves into real trouble. Like in the Smokie Mountains during a Spring snowstorm that dropped a foot and a half of snow. We were prepared with warm clothes and winter sleeping bags. We watched three ultralighters show up at an AT shelter near frozen. One was well into the grips of hypothermia and the other two were close. Carrying only summer weight bags, minimal layers and no stoves. They were lucky we were there, had a stove to make hot water, and enough fuel to share.

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