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Where's the Next Shelter? (Green Giant Travels) (Volume 1) Paperback – November 8, 2015
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"Where's the Next Shelter is a tour de force in storytelling. If you don't laugh out loud while reading this book, seek medical attention. Something is broken." -- Zach Davis, AppalachianTrials.com
"If Bill Bryson and Dave Barry ever had a kid, not only would that be oddly improbable, but would also likely result in an offspring who writes a lot like Gary Sizer...funnily, informatively and wonder-inducingly. God, I hate him." -- Scott Herriott, SquatchFilms.com
Award Finalist in both the "Autobiography/Memoir" and the "Travel Guides & Essays" categories of the 2017 Best Book Awards -- American Book Fest
From the Back Cover
Where's the Next Shelter? is the true story of three travelers on the Appalachian Trail, a two thousand mile hike that stretches from Georgia to Maine, told from the perspective of Gary Sizer, a seasoned backpacker and former Marine who quickly finds himself humbled by the endeavor. He teams up with Megan, a sassy college grad whose indomitable spirit eclipses her lack of experience, and Lemmy, a cartoonist from overseas whose off-kilter commentary on the wonders and frustrations of the trail keeps everyone laughing.
Sprawling through the woods and towns of the Appalachian mountains, the trail carries the trio through real and fanciful ups and downs ranging from hilarious to perilous. Much more than an orderly account of mountain tops and meals, it is an adventure about friends figuring things out as they go. It's about screw-ups and solutions, awe and inspiration.
If you long for the horizon, or to sleep under the stars, then come along for the hike of a lifetime. All you have to do is take the first step.
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This book, however, out of like the twenty or so I've read, is easily top three. If Bryson is the standard for AT books, Gary Sizer is breathing down his neck. For me, a trail story has to be more than a trail journal. The list of what the hikers did that day is great, but I'm always looking for the human side of the story. Characters. Strengths. Weaknesses. Introspect. Sizer does a good job with all of these things. His descriptions are nice, too.
IMO, this book should have many more reviews. Sizer is in a group with Bryson, Fozzie, and Carrot Quinn, my reigning trail favorites.
Of the books I have read, i.e. those dealing with the Appalachian Trail, this one, ‘Where’s the Next Shelter’ has to rank right up there with the top three or five. Gary Sizer got it right! And not only did he get it right, he has the ability to articulate his journey via the written word; folks, for a non-professional writer, this guy is good and has a wonderful grasp of the English language and the written word.
Unlike many such tales I have read there is no beating of the chest, putting down every other hiker he runs across, an over abundance of whining or (As I recently read in one account) the record of a middle age guy goggling twenty year old girls. How refreshing. Sizer tells us like it is – the good, the bad and the ugly and does it with dignity and an acute sense of humor. He is comfortable with himself and comfortable with those around him no matter how diverse these companions and such may be. To be frank, he is the sort of person I would love to hike with – or would have back in my days.
Throughout the boo the author is quite good at conveying the pain involved in this 2,000 plus mile journey and he is also quite good at describing the many wonderful experiences he had and how he was able to endure and keep enduring when many would simply throw their hands up and head for home.
If you are contemplating giving this hike a shot; or one of the other major trails, I most certainly would recommend you read this one in preparation for that trip. This book gives insights that not many others give and is a valuable resource even though it is NOT a ‘how to do it book.’ When I say ‘insight’ I not only mean physical but also mental and social.
I was rather sad and upset when this book ended and beyond a doubt will give it yet another read on down the line a bit.
I highly recommend this one!
While Bryson's book is only arguably part of the Appalachian hiking niche, what elevates it is its amazing writing and subtle presentation of the human condition, which the Trail has a way of eliciting (as anyone who has tried more than dayhiking it knows). This book is closer to Bryson than any other I've read in the Appalachian Trail genre--and it succeeds without relying on platitudes. This book was honest, clear, funny, and a great read. The author is a truly gifted writer. And unlike Bryson, he finished the trail.