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Skywalker--Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail (Paperback)
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Why would a middle-aged businessman, who had never even spent a single night outdoors, attempt to hike the entire 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail? Bill Walker, a former commodities trader in Chicago and London, and an avid 'streetwalker', had developed a virtual obsession to thru-hike the AT, which runs for fourteen states from Georgia to Maine. In the early spring of 2005 he set off, determined to hike this Georgia-to-northern Maine wilderness trail before the arrival of winter. Immediately, he realized he had plunged into a whole new world. The AT has some ferociously difficult terrain, winding through dramatically diverse geography, and covers the very highest peaks in the East. Walker's near 7-foot height earned him the trail name, Skywalker, and drew raves from fellow hikers. But that same height made him more vulnerable to weight loss, cold weather, and crushing fatigue. An elemental fear of bears, snakes, and getting lost also loomed large. The journey often seemed like a see-saw battle between his determination vs. his blunders. No other country has a footpath even remotely as popular as the Appalachian Trail. Up to 4,000,000 people hike on the AT during any given year. Mortals are compelled--or perhaps cursed--to relive their lifetime adventure. This is Bill Walker's (Skywalker's) unforgettable version, leavened with ruthlessly self-deprecating humor. His fondest hope is to inspire other rookies and novices, to give the Appalachian Trail a try as well.
About the Author
Bill Walker attended the University of Georgia in Athens. He earned a bachelor's and Master's degree in Accounting, which he now considers a big mistake. Walker spent ten years as a commodities broker at the Chicago Board of Trade, and four years in London with Nomura International. Walker then sharply reversed course and did a year as a Volunteer in Service to America (VISTA), before spending three years in four Latin American countries as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. Walker hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2005 and the Pacific Crest Trail in 2009. Pursuant to those journeys, he wrote the popular narrative Skywalker--Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail. In 2010, Skywalker hiked the most popular trail in Europe--El Camino de Santiago. This is an 1,100 year old medieval trail that is variously considered a spiritual pilgrimage, or "the European Divorcee Trail." He recently completed a narrative on that journey, 'The Best Way--El Camino de Santiago'.
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