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  1. #1

    Default Bill Bryson's Trail Name?

    What was it?

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    .................bill

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    .........!
    Last edited by bus; 03-22-2012 at 21:14.

  4. #4

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    Evidently he didn't have one, for it is never mentioned in his book. This has always made me wonder if he really ever hiked very much if any of the AT, because trail names are a big part of the hike. I still think that most if not all of that book is fiction, and should be classified as such.

    Bessie breeze

  5. #5

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    Doyle has hiked the AT over 10 times and doesn't have a trail name. No big deal if you don't IMHO.
    Don't Die Before You've Had A Chance To Live!

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    I've always wondered the same. He doesn't even talk about other people's trail names--knowing his writing style, you'd think trail names would be a topic he would seize on and sprinkle around all sorts of little jokes and anecdotes. Like Bessie Breeze said, more proof that he really wasn't on the trail for very long, even for as little time as he says he was.
    "Hahk your own hahk." - Ron Haven

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    Registered User Memphis Tim's Avatar
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    In the book Bryson only hiked continuously to Davenport Gap, a little over 300 miles. Then he yellow blazed huge swaths and did some day hikes. Altogether he claims to have hiked over 800 miles of the AT. I enjoyed the book but it completely left out the best part of the trail- the community. It's probably because he's a mildly misanthropic curmudgeon who only acknowledged other hikers when he was casting scorn on them.
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    Registered User Passengr57's Avatar
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    Hey everyone, I southbounded from Harrisburg to the smokies in 2000 a year or two after the book came out. The understanding I had from the NoBos was they tried to find Brysons' entries but couldn't. Some trail angles I talked to said their logs were never signed either. (shrug). One signature that was found in some logs was Mr. Earl Schaffer's, but not all. If I make it down to the trail this year im going to try to learn more on both.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCRUB HIKER View Post
    I've always wondered the same. He doesn't even talk about other people's trail names--knowing his writing style, you'd think trail names would be a topic he would seize on and sprinkle around all sorts of little jokes and anecdotes. Like Bessie Breeze said, more proof that he really wasn't on the trail for very long, even for as little time as he says he was.
    Not true - when he was day-hiking in Massaschusetts, he referred to Chicken John and related how well-known on the Trail he was. This suggests that Bryson interacted with hiker sufficiently that he knew about trail names. He just chose to not make a point of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Memphis Tim View Post
    In the book Bryson only hiked continuously to Davenport Gap, a little over 300 miles. Then he yellow blazed huge swaths and did some day hikes. Altogether he claims to have hiked over 800 miles of the AT. I enjoyed the book but it completely left out the best part of the trail- the community. It's probably because he's a mildly misanthropic curmudgeon who only acknowledged other hikers when he was casting scorn on them.
    He did more than that. After leaving Gatlinburg, he hiked a week's worth of Trail (backpacked, that is) along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Waynesboro then backpacked all of Shenandoah NP. In Maine, he backpacked for about 4-5 days before throwing in the towel. His day hikes were a little in PA, MA, and NH.

    Re his interaction with other hikers and the "hiking community" he & Katz tried to avoid shelters - something that many WBers profess to do. He indicated from the outset that he wanted to avoid crowds - not everyone who aspires to thru-hike is out for the "social trail" although it seems quite prevalent these days. For example when he started at Springer, he expressed surprise that so many others were out there; he thought he had started early before the (c)rush of thrus. And while in SNP, his scorn was heaped on those weekenders in his last shelter but beforehand, he was very friendly with and towards other backpackers he met - I think the guy's name was Connoley (don't have my book - loaned it out).

    I don't agree with everthing Bryson did nor some of his opinions and observations - some were quite unfair and certainly contrary to my experience. I too have questions about some "loose ends" and apparent discrepancies. But I've noticed some Bryson haters IMO go beyond reasonable criticism. Anyone who thinks the book was "complete fiction" either hasn't read it or hasn't backpacked much of the AT.

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    I never understood why people get their panties in a bunch over this book. Even if he never stepped foot on the trail, it doesn't matter, it's a good read. He's an author not a hiker, and most on this site fail to realize that. His target audience is not hikers. I know, he made fun of some people in the south, but if you take the time to read some of his other work, you will see that he has made a living out of making fun of himself. So what if he embellishes his story, afterall, if Mark Twain didn't know how to spin a yarn, we'd be missing out on a great American author.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pony View Post
    I never understood why people get their panties in a bunch over this book. Even if he never stepped foot on the trail, it doesn't matter, it's a good read. He's an author not a hiker, and most on this site fail to realize that. His target audience is not hikers. I know, he made fun of some people in the south, but if you take the time to read some of his other work, you will see that he has made a living out of making fun of himself. So what if he embellishes his story, afterall, if Mark Twain didn't know how to spin a yarn, we'd be missing out on a great American author.
    Well said. It doesn't matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shae View Post
    Well said. It doesn't matter.
    Someone said in an earlier thread..." he's a writer Hiking not a Hiker Writing". I've read 3 of his other works, they are all very funny and good reads. My favorite Being 'The Mother Tongue'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bessiebreeze View Post
    Evidently he didn't have one, for it is never mentioned in his book. This has always made me wonder if he really ever hiked very much if any of the AT, because trail names are a big part of the hike. I still think that most if not all of that book is fiction, and should be classified as such.

    Bessie breeze
    I don't know, I hiked the trail and never got a trail name, or didn't accept any that people came up with. I know of several people who are trailname-less and have hiked either the entire AT or large portions of it.

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    Bryson is a master at hyperbole. He never made it past Newfound Gap in the Smokies. He made it very clear that he didn't like the weather or fog or anything else in those mountains. He ended up renting a car after a few days in Gatlinburg and going to Va. to continue his hike. One thing always bothered me about his account of the Clingmans dome and Newfound gap area. He claimed that the closest paved road to Clingmans Dome was HWY 441. The road from CD has been paved for years. But I won't call him a lier(or a pretender) for this mistake. He probably wrote that and didn't remember that the road down was paved. Anyway he never really told how he got to Newfound Gap. If he walked he followed the AT and maybe never noticed that the road down was paved. But my point is he is a story teller accurate details aside. He also liked to make fun of the local folk and I will always hold that against him......
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    The day I went over Clingman's Dome, it was so fogged in that you could only see about 20 feet in front of you. I never realized the road was there either til just now. Although in retrospect, that observation tower and screaming kids should have given it away, ha ha.

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    Apparently, HYOH applies to everyone except Bryson.

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    I dont understand the Bryson haters either.

    I have read other books of his, and largely enjoy his writing style, especially his ability show the humor and absurdities that surround us everyday, as well as little-known or long-forgotten incredulous facts. He obviously has to do a great deal of research to come up with this stuff, or get a great deal of assistance.

    I have read around a dozen AT books, Id imagine all the most popular ones. His and Winton Porters are the best in my opinion. The rest are mostly just ho hum day by day narrations with possibly a few mildly interesting experiences. They are good for garnering knowledge, but not necessarilly that entertaining.

  18. #18

    Default Bill Bryson's Trail Name?

    It's a good book. Fiction or non-fiction I still enjoyed it and laughed a few times while reading it.

  19. #19

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    In the book, Katz just calls him Bryson.
    The 6-hour audiobook version (read by Bill Bryson himself) has been a favorite for long drives.
    Backpacking light, feels so right.

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    "Yellow Blaze Bill" seems apt

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