More True Words Have Never Been Written

General Palm Springs area.

More True Words Have Never Been Written

Postby TRumble24 » Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:12 pm

Hey All,
I'm reading this book called "A Walk In The Woods" by Bill Bryson, it is his hilarious description of his through hike of the Appalaichain Trail. I highly reccomend it, it's an awesome read, but anyhow. There is this one section of the book that I read and it reminds me of my own experience in hiking crazy trails such as Skyline. This hit home with me, and probobly will also hit home with those like me, who hike extreme trails while never quite being "in-shape".

"The hardest part was coming to terms with the constant dispiriting discovery that there is always more hill. The thing about being on a hill, as opposed to standing back from it, is that you can almost never see exactly what's to come. Between the curtain of trees at every side, the ever-receding contour of rising slope before you, and your own plodding weariness, you gradually lose track of how far you have come. Each time you haul yourself up to what you think must surely be the crest, you find that there is in fact more hill beyond, sloped at an angle that kept it from view before, and that beyond that slope is another, and beyond that another and another, and beyond each of those more still, until it seems impossible that any hill could run on this long. Eventually you reach a height where you can see the tops of the topmost trees, with nothing but clear sky beyond, and your faltering spirit stirs-- nearly there now!-- but this is a pitiless deception. The elusive summit continually retreats by whatever distance you press forward, so that each time the canopy parts enough to give a view you are dismayed to see that the topmost trees are as remote, as unatainable, as before. Still you stagger on. What else can you do?
When, after ages and ages, you finally reach the telltale world of truly high ground, where the chilled air smells of pine sap and the vegetation is gnarled and tough and wind bent, and push through to the mountain's open pinnacle, you are, alas, past caring. You sprawl face down on a sloping pavement of gneiss, pressed to the rock by the weight of your pack, and lie there for some minutes...Finally, with a weary puff, you roll over, unhook yourself from your pack, struggle to your feat and realize-- again in a remote, light-headed, curiously not-there way-- that the view is sensational..." - Bill Bryson

Hope all is well!
-Tim
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Postby klxbilly » Fri Oct 27, 2006 12:46 pm

Good read, thanks for posting it. Reminds me that life is mostly about the journey, not the destination. But it's nice to finally arrive somewhere, especially if that's at or near the top... :))
Billy Dean
Happiness is like moonshine -- make your own and you'll never run out...
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Re: More True Words Have Never Been Written

Postby turtle » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:06 pm

TRumble24 wrote:I'm reading this book called "A Walk In The Woods" by Bill Bryson...

[Quoting Bryson...]

"When... you finally reach the telltale world of truly high ground... you are, alas, past caring. [You] realize -- again in a remote, light-headed, curiously not-there way -- that the view is sensational..."

Tim, I remember that passage well, and was very fond of it too. But it struck me as eerily close to the opening passage in Krakauer's "Into Thin Air", written one year earlier (1997) than "A Walk in the Woods" (1998). Describing his feelings atop Everest, Krakauer writes...

"I understood on some dim, detached level that the sweep of earth... was a spectacular sight... But now that I was finally here, actually standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn't summon the energy to care."

I've always wondered if Bryson "borrowed" some ideas or notions (if not actual verbage) from Krakauer.
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Postby Hikin_Jim » Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:06 pm

Bryson's such a good writer. I'm sure he's drawing on personal experience not Krakauer's earlier work, particularly since the other parts of the passage describe very un-Everest like features (trees for one).

happy trails,

Hikin' Jim
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