Penn State

P.J. Capelotti - associate professor of anthropology, Penn State Abington

Book Title: The Complete Walker

Author: Colin Fletcher

Book Description:

Colin Fletcher's Complete Walker was published in 1973, when I was 13. It became my bible and, with it, I prepared to hike the Appalachian Trail by myself when I was 16. The book was a rich mine of the technicalities of long-distance hiking, of course, but over time I came to realize that what the book actually taught me was that life is, or rather should be, a long walk, one that can be carefully prepared for even though the terrain one crossed and the weather one encountered could be variable, unpredictable, often harsh, yet very often beautiful. I began college two years after the Appalachian Trail, in 1978, and only now, at the age of 51, did I achieve tenure. It has proven to be a long walk indeed, one filled with harshness and beauty and everything in between, just as Colin Fletcher promised a 13-year-old boy nearly forty years ago.


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