On Trails An Exploration
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail. The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas. With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey. An instant classic, riotously funny, A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.
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
The life of Colonel Fawcett is now the subject of the major motion picture The Lost City of Z. The disappearance of Colonel Fawcett in the Matto Grosso remains one of the great unsolved mysteries. In 1925, Fawcett was convinced that he had discovered the location of a lost city; he had set out with two companions, one of whom was his eldest son, to destination 'Z', never to be heard of again. His younger son, Brian Fawcett, has compiled this book from letters and records left by his father, whose last written words to his wife were: 'You need have no fear of any failure . . .' This is the thrilling and mysterious account of Fawcett's ten years of travels in deadly jungles and forests in search of a secret city.