- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Pilgrim's Tales, Inc.; 1st edition (October 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0977053628
- ISBN-13: 978-0977053629
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps Paperback – October 1, 2010
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"This is my favorite kind of adventure tale: Against all odds, in the face of health, weather, interpersonal, navigational and culinary issues, Brandon Wilson and his somewhat reluctant wife hike it because it's there - or, it's supposed to be. I laughed, I winced, and then I started checking to see when I was next scheduled to be anywhere near the Via Alpina." - Kyle Wagner, travel editor, Denver Post "This lighthearted hiking narrative reflects the positives of such an experience: overcoming hardship, laughing at their inability to find trail blazes, Europe's apparent fear of switchbacks on trails ascending 1000-plus meters per col, and the bond and struggle with your trail partner..... Recommended for armchair travelers and anyone interested in hiking the Alps." - Library Journal "Informative, entertaining, and original... a pioneer in a groundbreaking genre of travel writing." - Midwest Book Review "Wilson brings his considerable intellect and wry sense of humor to this epic adventure, and the result is brilliantly accessible and wonderfully subversive." - Richard Bangs, author of Quest for the Sublime and PEAKS "Marvelous account of a long hike...told with a fine eye for detail and a keen sense of humor." - Royal Robbins, legendary rock climber "For outdoor enthusiasts, this book will awaken the travel bug within and inspire adventure. For others, it's a worthwhile armchair journey through beautiful country with friendly guides." - ForeWord Magazine ""Over the Top & Back Again" suggests that maybe a little madness isn't too crazy after all." - WEND Magazine "It's great fun trekking through the Alps with the Wilsons...They do all the hard work - and we get all the pleasures - rendered with warmth, insight and humor in Brandon's inimitable style." - Maui News "Wilson walks the way Forrest Gump runs. He's driven to it...As for the connection between the outer journey and the inner journey, Wilson never pushes it. You get it in small bits, as he does, because that's the way it comes. It has a lot to do with savoring the simple pleasures of life that surround us every day. Wilson's books point the way toward this happy state of mind: just be bold and endure a few vicissitudes." - GoNOMAD.com "Makes you want to grab your walking stick, step into your hiking boots and climb a mountain." - Christopher Elliott, syndicated travel writer
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Just as he wakes up each morning to begin another day, he also takes you! You are not just reading. In [his] world, one you thought you might be able to imagine, he unfolds this enormous, several-countries, trek. He is always immediate, in the now. You are too! At once he so personal and then again through the magic of his writing you step completely INTO his journey. You too have been invited to challenge each and every step! [Its really something, after reading for several hours, to literally look up and find yourself in your own home!]
What I experienced (once again) was how his non-fiction becomes my realty with each page. I could 'feel' the blisters of the up and down, up and down and down and up. I become starved [with him] and oh-so-very-wet from the constant and unforgiving rain. I'm shivering in [his] cold weather, wondering if there is hot food, a warm fire anda I-don't-care-how-hard-it-is-bed .... just let there be one at day's end! Perhaps at the next dawning, you will screech at sun's delight! You hold your breath, wishing it oh oh so to be true! In some ways Brandon's book reads like a thriller!
I could 'see' the Alpine vistas with him. I heard myself laughing aloud when meeting all the different native people. I could smell not only the beauty of alpine air and the majesty of it all, but I could even smell myself from [his] effort! HA! What a delight! 'We' become additional companions, as his readers. What a gift!
Truth is, with each of his books, Brandon makes one remember to be sensitive to even the smallest of Life's treasures. We learn to trust our relationships even more through reading his. And he teaches us to salute the smallest of victories, forgive our mistakes and what it takes to forgive others and move on, no matter what.
After all, as he demonstrates once again through his fine writing style, we are only 'one step' away to our own humanity, as well as oh so close to others.
The book is extremely satisfying for armchair travelers - taking you over 1,000 miles of the high Alps, through eight European countries (and their culture, people and foods). The story includes enough suspense and bad luck to keep your interest or stir your empathy (e.g., "the agony of de feet"), but not so much that you can't visualize yourself right there with Brandon and his wife Cheryl.
The book is a must-read for anyone considering hiking the Via Alpina themselves. My husband and I have been talking about this trail ever since it was created. Reading "Over the Top & Back Again" was the tipping point - we ARE doing it, starting next summer (hiking a few weeks each summer until we've done it all). And we hope to benefit from some of the author's lessons learned.
Finally, I've used the book as an engaging geography lesson for our 9-year-old grandson. Combining the line drawings of the trail segments with an atlas for orientation, and the photos in the middle of the book to prompt questions, we had a wide-ranging discussion about Europe and the Alps and mountain ecology and rural cultures.
This book will be a repeat item on my gift-giving list for this December holiday season.
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