Bill Bryson Interview with AT Journeys

No doubt everyone who reads this blog will want to see the film, “A Walk in the Woods,” released September 1. A good picture of the two lead actors, Robert Redford and Nick Nolte appeared on the cover of the AT Journeys, Summer 2015 issue. A good part of the magazine was devoted to the film. Brian King, AT staff, interviewed Bill Bryson while he was on the set. If you’re an AT member, you’ll see the article. I thought the first question Brian asked was the most interesting:

“Soon after the book came out, you told some interviewers the hike wasn’t exactly a joyous experience. Nineteen years out now, what are your three best memories of your time on the Trail?”

Bryson responded: “I didn’t tell SOME of the interviewers that. I told EVERY interviewer that. Trying to hike the Appalachian Trail was the hardest thing I have ever done. I have never been so cold, wet, sore, and generally wretched. It was also the best thing I have ever done. I have never been so healthy, self-reliant, spiritually uplifted, and at one with nature. That is the thing about the Appalachian Trail. It is immensely challenging but also immensely rewarding. You can’t have the one without the other. To answer your question specifically, my three best memories are:

1. The joy of reaching a summit and getting a view, especially when you know that the only way to get that view is to hike up to it.
2. The camaraderie of other hikers (especially my companion, Katz) and the kindness often shown by people living near the Trail.
3. The inexpressible satisfaction of seeing an America that most people don’t even know exists.

Three worst? Four, actually:

1. Rain
2. Snow
3. Day upon day of unrelieved grubbiness.
4. Missing family.”

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