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Trail Ways, Path Wise: An Appalachian Trail Through-Hike Paperback – November 1, 2005
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The author's style is breezy, intimate; he talks to you, to himself, to his trail mates. When he describes a day on the AT you see it, feel it, as if you are there. He writes fluidly, always compellingly readable. --Jane Weinberger, Windswept House Publishing
Just in time to counteract Bill Bryson's lumbering, A Walk in the Woods, here is a book by a guy who actually made it through. John Illig is light on his feet and writes with tripping prose. --John Hanson Mitchell, Author of Ceremonial Time, Living at the End of Time
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
"There is no single right way to hike the trail. There is no one correct way to experience the woods...Fast or slow, my hike meant more to me than anyone would ever know." Here author John Illig finishes a thought about the solace and beauty that attracts so many different types of people to the woods (and the Appalachian Trail, in particular). Illig is one of those people and fortunately for us, Illig shares his Appalachian Trail (AT) through-hike with readers in a way that is at once engaging, exhilarating, and deeply honest.
Illig, an athlete and outdoorsman but an inexperienced hiker, approaches the formidable challenge of through-hiking the AT in an endearingly naive and humorous fashion (the way most of us would probably would). The 29-year old Illig had the summer of '93 off from his job coaching squash in Maine and thought that the 2,147-mile trail, spanning 14 states, would not only be an excuse to spend time in the woods, but for someone self-described as "restless", an opportunity to, "fulfill a primordial urge and get up and go - and go, and go...!"
Trail Ways, Path Wise is most simply Illig's tale of hiking the AT from its southern end, Springer Mountain in Georgia, to its northernmost tip, Mount Katahdin in Maine. Illig writes in the present but laces his narrative with retrospective morsels, and tells us upfront that he was able to hike the entire trail. When one goes into the woods and stays there, in the "the green tunnel" as Illig calls it, an inevitable transformation takes place; hiker, trail, and woods coalesce.Read more ›
In the author's defense, however, he most likely was summarizing right out of his daily journal. But still, the book would've been infinitely better with a little reorganization (and elimination of repeated events).
But I would still recommend you read this ! He does tell some great stories (about himself and others), some tragedy along the way (his and others'), and some wonderful observations and thoughts. Really, the other reviewers' complaints come from those passages where the author is relating his reactions and point-of-view to things along the way. What's wrong with that?
I can't resist quoting my favorite passage...one couple he met had their dog with them walking free, and he observes:
"Dogs on the trail have freedom to romp amid endless smells, sights and sounds. I wondered what they think it's about . Do they think there is a reason for the trek? Do they think they are going somewhere? Do they ever expect to reach a destination? Do they care? Do they have an awareness of time? Do they worry those early days whether this sudden magical fun isn't merely a
temporary gift? Do they believe that the world is an endless, limitless place?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great trail book. Author is using the book to politicize a bit, which gets annoying. Atheist, anti-gun, vegetarian, etc. Not necessary to tell the story, but I get it.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I really enjoyed this book! If you want to know what it's like to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, this book if for you. Read morePublished 12 months ago by 1993 AT Thru-Hiker
It was an ok read. I didn't like the trail notes he left that made him seem like a mental case.Published 15 months ago by C R Elliott
Great book. Great story. Very well told. Would recommend to any hiker or outdoor enthusiast.Published 18 months ago by Bradley
Wonderful book which projects both the hiking and the human experience.Published 21 months ago by H.Robert Herman
I read all three of the books in this trilogy and the first one was by far the best. The first half of this book is the best part. Read morePublished 21 months ago by AJ
Really great book. The best part is its only the 1st book of three by this author. Highly recommended to anyone interested in hiking stories.Published on March 3, 2014 by Max