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The Last Englishman (Volume 1) Paperback – October 30, 2012
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About the Author
Keith Foskett has hiked over 10,000 miles in recent years and holds a deep respect for the outdoor spaces of this world. Well known in hiking circles, he has written three books and contributes to various outdoor publications.
His books have been shortlisted for a number of awards and his outdoor blog was voted blog of the year.
He's partial to a decent bottle of Rioja, and nurtures an unhealthy interest in down sleeping bags and woollen underwear. He was born and still lives in southeast England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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It was not full of crazy stories (well, there are some) but the A.T. is like hiking the I-95 freeway (full of people) vs. the PCT, much more of a country road....at 12,000 ft.
Some may criticize this book as being too descriptive and "flowery" but those who have awoken to a new day, filled with crimson, blues and orange and red skies... will be happy his accounts.
I have read some reviews that felt he spent too much time drinking pale-ale in any town he could find. I find that absurd. Of course when you re-supply, you're going to down some pale ales. But most of his book, I felt, concentrated on the trail, and trail life.
He ends his hike in an unusual fashion. Without going into detail, I felt he and his two cronies , were the "East Yorkshire Regiment" avoiding the Germans and the towns people were (underground) were sheltering and feeding them, and then on to their next objective - - 300 miles. You'd have to read the book to make sense of this rambling.
In any event, walking from Mexico boarder to Canada is no SAMLL FEAT. Less than % 15 ever make it. It's difficult to make this kind of journey 'interesting' for the reader. After all, hiking that long is nothing but slogging one day after another. Repetition.
He's writing style makes it 3-dimensional, with lot's of good stories; his observations on American food, people and geography etc, set it apart.
To accomplish this monumental journey, one needs;
1.) The heart and spirit of John Muir,
2.) The tenacity and perseverance of Margaret Thatcher,
3.) And the crazy and wildl sense of adventurer and humor of Steve Martin. Keith has all three in Spades!!
This was written several years ago, and it you wish to check out what 's happened since, check out his blog. keithfoskett.com/blog/
This is a great hiking read, Thanks Keith. Preparing for mine next year. Cheers! David
p.s. Hope your "friend" sends you that free backpack, I mean really, you did give him a beautiful shot of "full moons" ...
Between these two books, the Camino seemed more charming, and the Pacific Crest Trail more rugged. The last leg of the journey was particularly page-turning, as winter set in and the trail was buried under snow. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, and there were some great characters along the way. (Pockets!!)
Now I'm on to Fozzie's third installment, Balancing On Blue, where he tackles the Appalachian Trail.
The book isn't entirely without charm: the author does have a sense of humor. But in the end his personality just grated too strongly for me.
Two things really stand out about this book and Foskett's writing ability:
1. He has enormous empathy for the fellow hikers and other people he meets on the journey. He spends a lot of time on the PCT on his own, and he values that time alone. But when he meets up with others, he connects with them and seems to value those connections as much or more than the hike itself. Each of these people he meets feels like a memorable character in a novel.
2. He has a natural and original way of describing the scenery. I easily could visualize what the trail looks like thanks to these descriptions, which are never verbose and never interrupt the narrative flow.
I can't wait to dive into his other books. I feel like I found a new hiking partner.