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Owner Review - Book - A Walk in the Woods - David Wilkes

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  • amatbrewer
    Since there was a call for OR s on books this month, I figured I would submit the following review of a booking I recently finished. Here is a link to the HTML
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 27, 2008
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      Since there was a call for OR's on books this month, I figured I
      would submit the following review of a booking I recently finished.

      Here is a link to the HTML version
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/Owner%20Rev\
      iew-%20A%20Walk%20in%20the%20Woods/
      <http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/test/OWNER%20REVIEWS/Owner%20Re\
      view-%20A%20Walk%20in%20the%20Woods/>

      A WALK IN THE WOODS
      Reviewed By DAVID WILKES
      OR
      July 27, 2008

      TESTER INFORMATION

      NAME: David Wilkes
      EMAIL: amatbrewer@charterDOTnet <mailto:amatbrewer@charterDOTnet>
      AGE: 42
      LOCATION: Yakima, Washington USA
      GENDER: M
      HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
      WEIGHT: 198 lb (89.80 kg)
      SLEEVE LENGTH: 20 in (51 cm)
      CHEST: 42 in (107 cm)

      I started backpacking about 13 years ago when I moved to Washington
      State. Since then I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I
      have usually only managed time for 1-3 trips a year averaging 2-5 days,
      and as many day hikes as I can. I am currently getting into condition to
      summit some of the higher peaks in Washington, Oregon, California. I
      prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I
      continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most
      important to me. My current pack is around 30 lbs (14 kg), not including
      consumables.

      PRODUCT INFORMATION

      Title: A Walk in the woods
      Format: Paperback
      Author: Bill Bryson
      Publisher: Broadway Books
      City and State of Publishing: New York, New York USA
      Publisher's URL: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.broadwaybooks.com
      <http://www.broadwaybooks.com> " LINK TEXT = "www.broadwaybooks.com
      <http://www.broadwaybooks.com> ">>
      ISBN: 0-9679-0251-3
      Year Published: 1999
      Pages: 276
      MSRP: 14.95 USD
      Measured Weight: 259 g (9.15 oz)*
      *Weight was measured on a digital scale made by Escali that claims
      accuracy to 1 g or .1 oz.


      Review

      I normally avoid books like this as they often focus more on subject
      matter than the quality of the writing. The result is all too often a
      book with lots of good and sometimes even useful information, which is
      so poorly written or organized that it is difficult if not actually
      painful to read. I picked up "A Walk in the Woods" for two reasons,
      first and foremost was that I was on a trip and absolutely desperate for
      something to read on a long flight. Second was that a review of the book
      said the author was an accomplished author and very funny. I was
      pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the book despite being
      disturbed, if not horror-struck, by some parts. I read most of it on
      that trip and held off reading further so I could take it with me to
      finish during an upcoming hiking trip (3 days hiking and climbing Mt
      Shasta in California).

      The concept of a novice hiker taking on the Appalachian Trail and
      bringing along an overweight, out of shape, non-hiker who he had not
      seen in years, required a level of sheer gall and foolishness that I
      found myself horrified by and envying at the same time.

      The following excerpt [pg 21&22] is not exactly the way I would describe
      someone I would choose to spend a few days on the trail with, let alone
      months.

      "He had partied for years, until there was no one left to party with,
      then he had partied with himself, alone in the small apartments, in
      T-shirt and boxer shorts, with a bottle and a Baggie of pot and a TV
      with rabbit ears." "…the last time I had seen him was about five
      years earlier in a Denny's restaurant where I was taking my mother for
      breakfast. He was sitting in a booth with a haggard fellow who looked
      like his name would be Virgil Starkweather, tucking into pancakes and
      taking occasional illicit nips from a bottle in a paper bag, It was
      eight in the morning and Katz looked very happy. He was always happy
      when he was drunk, and he was always drunk."

      The quality of the storytelling and writing along with a sense of humor
      that was right up my alley made the book enjoyable to read. Moreover,
      the view of trail life from a fresh pair of eyes reminded me of how much
      I enjoyed taking my daughter on her first backpacking trip as well as
      why I got into hiking in the first place.

      I consider myself a very considerate hiker who tries to practice "leave
      no trace" as best I can, and am focused on (if not obsessed with)
      self-sufficiency in the backcountry. As a result, some parts of the book
      really raised the hair on the back of my neck. In particular, I was
      disturbed by one character dumping most of the contents of his pack
      along the way in order to lighten his load (I can't even leave behind
      the unburned end of a match without feeling guilty), a climb up a
      particularly nasty peak without some basic equipment, and above all the
      main characters taking on such a trek with virtually none of the
      necessary experience or skills. However, I do admire the author freely
      exposing his poor judgment or lack of knowledge, and his skill at
      describing the lesions he learned.

      In addition to the amusing antics and adventures of the two main
      characters, the author wove in some interesting and enlightening
      information about the Appalachian Trail and its history as well as some
      not so subtle hints into his opinion of how the Department of Forestry
      is run and funded.

      SUMMARY

      I found the book a joy to read, so much so that I will be actively
      looking for other books by this author. In addition, I have started
      looking to see if there are any similar books about trails or places in
      my part of the country. I would highly recommend the book for light
      reading.



      This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
      Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Jamie D.
      PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT! Thanks for your Owner s Review. It has been added to the Owner Review Queue and will be picked up by an
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 4, 2008
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        PLEASE READ THIS EMAIL IN FULL. IT IS MOST IMPORTANT!

        Thanks for your Owner's Review. It has been added to the Owner
        Review Queue and will be picked up by an Edit Moderator soon. If you
        are new to BackpackGearTest.org, welcome to the community! The
        Editors will work with you, within their own time constraints, to
        get your first two Owner Reviews approved and upload in a timely
        manner. Do not worry if nothing happens with it for several days.
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        To assist in this process, if this is your first Owner Review we ask
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        experience is that it is more efficient for both the Editors and
        yourself, if you post your first review, have it edited, approved
        and uploaded before you post your second and subsequent reviews.

        Once your first two Owner Reviews have been approved and you have
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        You may receive edits or comments from other members of the group.
        These edits and comments, while not official, should be considered
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        If you'd like to keep track of the progress of your OR while it's in
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        Edit Administration Manager
      • pamwyant
        EDIT: A WALK IN THE WOODS - DAVID WILKES PRODUCT INFORMATION Title: A Walk in the woods ### EDIT: `Woods should be capitalized. Publisher: Broadway Books
        Message 3 of 4 , Aug 6, 2008
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          EDIT: A WALK IN THE WOODS - DAVID WILKES

          PRODUCT INFORMATION

          Title: A Walk in the woods

          ### EDIT: `Woods' should be capitalized.


          Publisher: Broadway Books
          City and State of Publishing: New York, New York USA
          Publisher's URL: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.broadwaybooks.com
          <http://www.broadwaybooks.com> " LINK TEXT = "www.broadwaybooks.com
          <http://www.broadwaybooks.com> ">>

          ### Edit: Since Broadway Books is a subsidiary of Random House,
          using a subpage of www.randomhouse.com, and a Walk in the Woods also
          shows up when searching the main Random House site, the URL should be
          www.randomhouse.com. You might consider making the
          publisher "Broadway Books, a subsidiary of Random House, Inc."

          ### Comment: You might give the dimensions of the book.


          However, I do admire the author freely exposing his poor judgment or
          lack of knowledge, and his skill at describing the lesions he learned.

          ### EDIT: …describing the *lessons* he learned.

          ### Comment: The only other thing I might suggest is that you
          comment on whether you actually learned anything new from the book
          that you might use in the future, or make a comment to the fact that
          you did not learn anything you think you will use in the future.
          What comes to mind for me is whether you leaned any of the traditions
          of the AT such as the `half-gallon challenge', about resupply, or
          shelter use etiquette.

          Go ahead and upload when you've made the necessary edits and optional
          changes to:

          http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Books/General/A%20Walk%20in%
          20the%20Woods/

          Thanks for all your hard work on this interesting review!

          Pam
        • amatbrewer
          Edits complete, new version uploaded and original deleted. Thanks for the edits and comments. Dave
          Message 4 of 4 , Aug 11, 2008
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            Edits complete, new version uploaded and original deleted.
            Thanks for the edits and comments.
            Dave
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