International Interest Growing in the Appalachian Trail
Greetings from Riga, Latvia. Yes, a bit off the beaten path here along the arc of the Baltic Sea. Yet even here one hears
intermittent interest in America’s great trail of the masses, the Appalachian Trail. And of course when someone mentions it,
I feed it. “It’s the best way to see America,” I regale audiences. “Don’t go to Disney World or Las Vegas. You will get to see the
real America on the Appalachian Trail (AT).”
Of course British hikers have long been a fixture on the AT, since publication of their national hero, Bill Bryson’s AT memoir,
A Walk in the Woods. And while on my annual AT trek this year in Maine, I noted an unusual number of German hikers. Expect
more. The German public television station did a German language documentary this year on the AT.
And this is all before the release of the movie version of A Walk in the Woods, starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. But I am
not daunted one bit as my atttiude is unequivocally catholic: the more people on the Appalachian Trail, the better off we will all
be. It ranks as one of those enlightened human activities.
Bill Walker is author of various hiking books including Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail. He is also author of Skywalker–Highs and Lows
on the Pacific Crest Trail, The Best Way–El Camino de Santiago, and Getting High—The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.