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The Country Northward: A Hiker's Journal, On the Trail in the White Mountains of New Hampshire Paperback – June 21, 2010
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From the Author
Thirty-five years later, I still experience a thrill when I read the story of my walk through the mountains in July 1975. So I publish it again with the fewest possible changes. I've quietly fixed a few errors of fact, along with one great personal failing, taking out all references to the cigarettes I smoked along the way. (I quit smoking the following year, at ten o'clock in the morning on May 4.) Otherwise, where it seemed advisable to update what I wrote at the time, I have put the new stuff in brackets [like this]. -- Daniel Ford
From the Back Cover
'Lively, entertaining ... an excellent piece of work'
So wrote the editors of Yankee magazine when this book was first published. "It is a story about backpacking," wrote another reviewer. "It is a story about a quest for solitude and untrammeled nature, and it is a story about Daniel Ford, whose personality and point of view lend the book a distinctive and human character."
A generation has passed, and much has changed, since Dan's trek across the White Mountains in the summer of 1975. Even the Great Stone Face--the Old Man of the Mountains--has fallen. (The cover shows the Old Man after a spring snowfall, a week before the icon collapsed in May 2003, in a photo by Jeffrey Joseph.)
But the wilderness endures, and so does this story of one hiker and the men and women he met along the trail.
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Top customer reviews
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Aside from that, this was a really great narrative of a nature lover hiking the high huts in the White Mountains.
What impressed me most about Mr. Ford's book are: the excellent prose, and the interesting side stories.
Daniel Ford is clearly a writer. I have read many fiction and non-fiction books that are fouled by the author's inability to communicate in writing. It makes for a rough ride. Mr. Ford, conversely, is eloquent yet efficient with his writing, and places the reader within the piney boughs and rocky outcroppings that open along the singletrack trails. Strength in writing moves the hiking adventure along at a full and enjoyable pace and allows us, the reader, to share the maple leaf dappled sunshine, menacing storm clouds and babbling brooks experienced during this hike.
Daniel does not stay only with his personal experiences---the overcrowded AMC huts, eating pemmican, the hikes up and down the mountains---but has plenty of stories about the founding trailblazers of the Whites, the climbers wanting to conquer the 4000 foot peaks (and who scoff at peaks any smaller), the ski races down Tuckerman's Ravine, and dozens of other tales of lore from the Whites. These are an education unto themselves and make the book worthwhile.
In the closing chapters, the 100 mile long hike winds down and Mr. Ford describes his sense of accomplishment, and the physical and mental fortitude that the hike has given him. He, then, has the most profound writing in the entire book: He describes the balance between man's need to have solitude and be in the wilderness--and man's desire for structure and regulation, even in the wilderness. As more seek solitude, more use our park system, and regulations follow. A chance meeting with the author/hiker and a father and son on dirt motorcycles is very enchanting and thought-provoking in the final pages.
A strong book, much better than I had even imagined. I am so pleased at having picked up a copy on Amazon. I appreciate that Mr. Ford did not entertain us with wrestling bears or other theatrics; he simply brings us along through the bountiful Northeast and shows us the balance of man and nature.
I had wanted to read about the richness of New England, and instead I received a whole lot more from The Country Northward by Daniel Ford. Highly Recommended.
I think anyone who has hiked in the northeast, especially in the White Mountain National Forest, can relate to this book. It's well written, engaging, and a treasure of interesting facts. I've already gifted the book to a few friends.
This is about him hiking for a couple of weeks in New Hampshire's White Mountains and some history of the area I had never read.