A Walk in the Woods begins like no inspirational travelogue should, with the myriad ways you can die on the Appalachian Trail. There is tree destruction, lightning, bears; myopic owls and eastern equine encephalitis. And then you come to the “crazy hillbillies who have been destabilized by unclean corn liquor”. At no point do you feel like you actually want to go through these introductory pages. But Bill Bryson doesn’t have to sell it, does he?
The Appalachian Trail is “the grandfather of long walks” and runs 2,100 miles along the east coast of America from Georgia to Maine. “It wanders through fourteen states,” writes Bryson, “through pretty hills whose names – Blue Ridge Smokies, Green Mountains – seem to be an invitation to stroll.” Revered for its difficulty –