On Trails: An Exploration
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In 2009, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others devolve? What makes us follow or strike off on our own? Over the course of the next seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. He learned the tricks of master trail-builders, hunted down long-lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet. In each chapter, Moor interweaves his adventures with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing -- combining the nomadic joys of Peter Matthiessen with the eclectic wisdom of Lewis Hyde's The Gift. Throughout, Moor reveals how this single topic--the oft-overlooked trail -- sheds new light on a wealth of age-old questions: How does order emerge out of chaos? How did animals first crawl forth from the seas and spread across continents? How has humanity's relationship with nature and technology shaped world around us? And, ultimately, how does each of us pick a path through life?
New York Times Bestseller • Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award • Winner of the Saroyan International Prize for Writing • Winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award • “The best outdoors book of the year.” —Sierra Club From a talent who’s been compared to Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey, David Quammen, and Jared Diamond, On Trails is a wondrous exploration of how trails help us understand the world—from invisible ant trails to hiking paths that span continents, from interstate highways to the Internet. While thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others fade? What makes us follow or strike off on our own? Over the course of seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. He learned the tricks of master trail-builders, hunted down long-lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet. In each chapter, Moor interweaves his adventures with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing. Throughout, Moor reveals how this single topic—the oft-overlooked trail—sheds new light on a wealth of age-old questions: How does order emerge out of chaos? How did animals first crawl forth from the seas and spread across continents? How has humanity’s relationship with nature and technology shaped world around us? And, ultimately, how does each of us pick a path through life? Moor has the essayist’s gift for making new connections, the adventurer’s love for paths untaken, and the philosopher’s knack for asking big questions. With a breathtaking arc that spans from the dawn of animal life to the digital era, On Trails is a book that makes us see our world, our history, our species, and our ways of life anew.
A strikingly original debut from a tremendous new talent, Robert Moor explores how trails help us understand the world, from the biological phenomenon of how ant trails are formed to hiking paths that span continents and oceans, from migration routes to the Internet. In 2009, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: 'How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others devolve? What makes us follow or strike off on our own?' Over the course of the next seven years, Moor travelled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. He learned the tricks of master trail-builders, hunted down long-lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet. In each chapter, Moor interweaves his adventures with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing. This deep search for meaning introduces the reader to experts who work with trails of all kind, outrageous anecdotes from his own experiences and spectacular descriptions of landscapes and animal behavior. On Trails gives an eye-opening tour, leaving us with a much richer, prismatic take on what we constantly take for granted: how we get where we're going.
Take a trip to old Japan with William Scott Wilson as he travels the ancient Kiso Road, a legendary route that remains much the same today as it was hundreds of years ago. The Kisoji, which runs through the Kiso Valley in the Japanese Alps, has been in use since at least 701 C.E. In the seventeenth century, it was the route that the daimyo (warlords) used for their biennial trips—along with their samurai and porters—to the new capital of Edo (now Tokyo). The natural beauty of the route is renowned—and famously inspired the landscapes of Hiroshige, as well as the work of many other artists and writers. Wilson, esteemed translator of samurai philosophy, has walked the road several times and is a delightful and expert guide to this popular tourist destination; he shares its rich history and lore, literary and artistic significance, cuisine and architecture, as well as his own experiences.
A chronicle of adventure and discovery in the green, deadly world of the jungle. This extraordinary first-hand account of seven explorations into the heart of the lost world of the Amazon Basin and its mountain ramparts has been made available for publication after more than a quarter of a century’s silence. On his eighth and final expedition, Colonel P. H. Fawcett vanished into the jungle wilderness; to this day his fate is unknown. Before he began his last trip he set down the story of the expeditions he had completed, and his son, Brian Fawcett, here presents it together with a summary of the attempts to solve the mystery of his father’s disappearance. Colonel Fawcett was an explorer in the great tradition. He believed that somewhere in the unmapped heart of South America were the ruins of cities whose discovery would confirm many Indian legends that had come down from the days of the conquistadores. Trained in the exacting techniques of exploration-survey, he accepted an opportunity to determine the boundary line between Bolivia and Peru, and in 1906 set out on the first of his expeditions. It and the ones that followed over the next fifteen years have become classics of exploration; Colonel Fawcett combined the discipline of a scientist-engineer with the imaginative daring of a man not afraid to gamble his life on a bold conjecture. In 1921 he set down the narrative of his first seven trips. When he failed to return from the eighth, publication was delayed until it became certain that he would never be able to complete his manuscript. But the reader will find here a wholly engrossing story of a great search written with modesty and great skill, the work of a brave and mature man who possessed both a purpose and a dream. The result is a book which will remain a classic in its field.
A classic in many planning curricula, this is a 1991 reprint of the 1928 work by the originator of the Appalachian Trail and a founder of The Wilderness Society. The New Yorker in a 1989 series by Tony Hiss-analyzing attempts to control growth and preserve the environment-called it a long-lost classic. This edition includes the 1962 introduction by legendary social critic Lewis Mumford, a close MacKaye associate, and a foreword by planner David N. Startzell, executive director of the Appalachian Trail Conference since 1986.
From the acclaimed author of Dispatches From Pluto and Deepest South of All comes a rollicking travelogue from East Africa. NO ONE TRAVELS QUITE LIKE RICHARD GRANT and, really, no one should. In his last book, the adventure classic God’s Middle Finger, he narrowly escaped death in Mexico’s lawless Sierra Madre. Now, Grant has plunged with his trademark recklessness, wit, and curiosity into East Africa. Setting out to make the first descent of an unexplored river in Tanzania, he gets waylaid in Zanzibar by thieves, whores, and a charismatic former golf pro before crossing the Indian Ocean in a rickety cargo boat. And then the real adventure begins. Known to local tribes as “the river of bad spirits,” the Malagarasi River is a daunting adversary even with a heavily armed Tanzanian crew as travel companions. Dodging bullets, hippos, and crocodiles, Grant finally emerges in war-torn Burundi, where he befriends some ethnic street gangsters and trails a notorious man-eating crocodile known as Gustave. He concludes his journey by interviewing the dictatorial president of Rwanda and visiting the true source of the Nile. Gripping, illuminating, sometimes harrowing, often hilarious, Crazy River is a brilliantly rendered account of a modern-day exploration of Africa, and the unraveling of Grant’s peeled, battered mind as he tries to take it all in.
A lyrical account of an activity that is essential for our sanity, equilibrium, and well-being, from the author of Silence ("A book to be handled and savored." —The Wall Street Journal) Placing one foot in front of the other, embarking on the journey of discovery, and experiencing the joy of exploration—these activities are intrinsic to our nature. Our ancestors traveled long distances on foot, gaining new experiences and learning from them. But as universal as walking is, each of us will experience it differently. For Erling Kagge, it is the gateway to the questions that fascinate him—Why do we walk? Where do we walk from? What is our destination?—and in this book he invites us to investigate them along with him. Language reflects the idea that life is one single walk; the word "journey" comes from the distance we travel in the course of a day. Walking for Kagge is a natural accompaniment to creativity: the occasion for the unspoken dialogue of thinking. Walking is also the antidote to the speed at which we conduct our lives, to our insistence on rushing, on doing everything in a precipitous manner—walking is among the most radical things we can do.
Legendary Grand Canyoneer Harvey Butchart climbed, hiked, floated and bushwhacked 12,000 pioneering miles below the rim during a 42-year obsession with the world-famous gorge. Here for the first time is Harvey's life story: his years as a fatherless child in the mountains of China, his struggles in America during the Great Depression, and finally, his all-consuming drive for greatness by exploring one of the West's last unknown wildernesses. Lace up your boots and follow along as the authors retrace Harvey's footsteps on dangerous cliff edges while chronicling his thrilling exploits, heart-breaking tragedies, and lasting triumphs. Part biography, part modern-day adventure, Grand Obsession will take you deeper into the soul of this fascinating man - and Grand Canyon - than you have ever been before. Contains over 170 photographs, many never-before-published, and Harvey Butchart's hand-stenciled maps showing his treks in Grand Canyon.
The first history of the American hiking community and its contributions to the nation’s vast network of trails. In the mid-nineteenth century urban walking clubs emerged in the United States. A little more than a century later, tens of millions of Americans were hiking on trails blazed in every region of the country. This groundbreaking book is the first full account of the unique history of the American hiking community and its rich, nationwide culture. Delving into unexplored archives, including those of the Appalachian Mountain Club, Sierra Club, Green Mountain Club, and many others, Silas Chamberlin recounts the activities of hikers who over many decades formed clubs, built trails, and advocated for environmental protection. He also discusses the shifting attitudes of the late 1960s and early 1970s when ideas about traditional volunteerism shifted and new hikers came to see trail blazing and maintenance as government responsibilities. Chamberlin explores the implications for hiking groups, future club leaders, and the millions of others who find happiness, inspiration, and better health on America’s trails. “With rich historical context Silas Chamberlin inspires new appreciation for trailblazers, while sharing the legacy of hiking and its growing importance today, as people find their way to a new relationship with the natural world.”—Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and Vitamin N “Chamberlin has demonstrated that what at first looks simple—walking on our own two feet—has a complex history of changing cultural associations, social infrastructure, and national significance.”—James Longhurst, University of Wisconsin – La Crosse
Popular historian D’Arcy Jenish recreates the adventure and sacrifice of mapmaker David Thompson’s fascinating life in the wilderness of North America. Epic Wanderer, the first full-length biography of David Thompson, is set in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries against a broad canvas of dramatic rivalries -- between the United States and British North America, between the Hudson’s Bay Company and its Montreal-based rival, the North West Co., and between the various First Nations thrown into disarray by the advent of guns, horses and alcohol. Less celebrated than his contemporaries Lewis and Clark, Thompson spent nearly three decades (1784-1812) surveying and mapping over 1.2 million square miles of largely uncharted Indian territory. Travelling across the prairies, over the Rockies and on to the Pacific, Thompson transformed the raw data of his explorations into a map of the Canadian West. Measuring ten feet by seven feet, and laid out with astonishing accuracy, the map became essential to the politicians and diplomats who would decide upon the future of the rich and promising lands of the West. Yet its creator worked without personal glory and died in penniless obscurity. Drawing extensively on David Thompson’s personal journals, illustrated with his detailed sketches, intricate notebook pages and the map itself, Epic Wanderer charts the life of a man who risked everything in the name of scientific advancement and exploration. From the Hardcover edition.
Maine historian John Neff's compelling and comprehensive narrative traces the history, legend, and legacy of Mount Katahdin--the spectacular peak that looms over Maine's Great North Woods--from the earliest Native American stories to colonial exploration through the logging industry's peak to today's conservation successes and opportunities.
Winner of the BC National Award for Non-Fiction, and short-listed for both the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the 2011 Hilary Weston Writer's Trust Award. Eating Dirt is an extended postcard from the cut blocks—a vivid portrayal of one woman's life planting trees, her insights into the forest industry and its environmental implications, and a celebration of the wonder of trees. Charlotte Gill spent almost twenty years working as a tree planter in the forests of Canada. During her million-tree career, she encountered hundreds of clear-cuts, each one a collision site between human civilization and the natural world. Charged with sowing the new forest in these clear-cuts, tree planters are a tribe caught between the stumps and the virgin timber, between environmentalists and loggers. Also available in paperback.
Showing why Prince George is a truly special place to call home, visit, or use as a staging point for British Columbia's northern hinterland, this guidebook encourages exploration of the city and the surrounding area, with an accent on self-discovery. The rivers, treed escarpments, abundant green spaces, and surrounding backcountry are waiting to be explored winter and summer. Urban walks and wilderness hikes mix with interesting facts, historic memories and practical information.
Through a greater understanding of trees in the Golden Horseshoe, we can become more rooted to the land beneath our feet, and our place in it.
The Toronto Carrying Place trail linked Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe, and helped shape the development of Ontario. Its influence is still felt today, though much of the original trail is obscured. Glenn Turner guides readers on a three-day journey that reconnects modern-day Toronto with its history, Native heritage, and the natural world.
An award-winning writer and photographer tells the extraordinary story of a lone black wolf who, showing up on his doorstep, returned again and again to interact with the people and dogs of Juneau, giving humans a rare chance to understand it a little more. 40,000 first printing.
Explore the world one step at a time. Wanderlust presents legendary walking routes with inviting maps, practical tips, and inspiring landscape photographs. The exciting Canyon Trail in Zion-National Park, the spectacular El Caminito del Rey in Spain, the pilgrim trail on the holy Kumano Kodo in Japan or a mythical hiking path in the land of the giants in Norway - Wanderlust explores legendary hiking trails in enchanting corners of the world and over a variety of terrain: thin ice and desert sands; coastal tracks and forest pathways. Spectacular photography illustrates journeys to sharp summits, astonishing vistas, and phenomenal locales. With maps featuring noteworthy locations alongside background information and practical tips by Cam Honan, an expert who has hiked many of the trails himself, Wanderlust will suit both intrepid beginners and seasoned trekkers. From modern-day transcendentalists or those who simply desire a casual break from concrete scenery, Wanderlust allows readers to live vicariously through vivid portraits or use the trips as impetus for their own hiking journey. Following faded footsteps of migrating animals or paths of ancient trade routes, the trails featured in Wanderlust offer both outdoor exploration and enjoyment.
Hundreds of valuable tips and advice based on Justin Lichter's more than 35,000 miles of hiking across the country and beyond. Whether you're a new hiker looking for expert advice, an experienced hiker looking to hone your skills, or a thru-hiker gearing up for a 6-month trip, this book is packed with priceless information to make your trip a successful and comfortable one.