A Walk in the Woods (Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail).
In A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson has just returned from spending twenty years in England, where he wrote for the Times and the Independent. He settles, with his family, in a small town in New Hampshire. While exploring his new habitat, he discovers a path at the edge of town and there is a sign saying "Appalachian Trail". The Appalachian Trail runs more than 2,100 miles, from Georgia to Maine, across fourteen states, through a wide variety of deep forests, mountains and valleys. It is the "grand-daddy" of all hiking trails.
Bill starts thinking about hiking the Trail. He forms several rationalizations. It would get him into shape. It would be a great way to reacquaint himself with the scale and beauty of his native land. It would be useful to learn how to take care of himself in the wilderness. Last, but not least, the trees along the Trail are dying in frightening numbers. If the global temperature rises by 4 degrees centigrade over the next fifty years, the whole of the Appalachian wilderness below New England could become savanna (a treeless plain). Bill decides that if he is going to get the full forest experience he had better go now! He announces to all his friends that he is going to hike the whole Appalachian Trail. He buys some books and talks to people who had done the trail in whole or in part and he gradually comes to realize that this venture is way beyond anything he had attempted before. In his own words, "Nearly everyone I talked to had some gruesome story involving a guileless acquaintance who had gone off hiking the trail with high hopes and new boots and come stumbling back two days later with a bobcat attached to his head or dripping blood from an armless sleeve and whispering in a hoarse voice, 'Bear!!' before sinking into a troubled unconsciousness.".
The decision is made to start in Georgia and hike north in early March.