Saturday, June 2, 2012

Walker, Writer P J Wetzel

P J Wetzel has officially hiked more than 2000 miles of the Appalachian Trail this year, as of May 9, 2012. I met Pete through the Eldersburg Critique group and have been following his adventures through his blog

“It's a big milestone, and yet it's not even half of the 4368.4 miles I must hike this calendar year to achieve my goal: to be the first person to hike the entire AT both ways in one calendar year without ever spending an overnight on the trail,” Pete wrote.

Reading about his adventures on the trail reminded me of  Bill Bryson’s "A Walk in the Woods," which I read several years ago The book was a hilarious account of Bryson’s walk along a portion of the Appalachian Trail. I found it hilarious, as well as educational and read several more of his travel books.

Pete is walking the entire, Appalachian Trail, which is a 2,184.2-mile long public footpath that goes through the Appalachian Mountains.  The Appalachian Trail is a. Conceived in 1921, built by private citizens, and completed in 1937, today the trail is managed by the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers. The trail is maintained by agencies such as the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and thousands of volunteers.

It is long, rough, often lonely walk and offers a challenge to hikers. Pete has traveled through cold, snowy and icy conditions and also through beautiful sunny days. He spent many solitary days along the trail, but also met a wide variety of people during the hike. His pictures, factual details and insights, make me feel I am traveling with him, but without the discomfort.

Pete wrote: “The very popular book "AWOL on the Appalachian Trail" began as a series of journal entries, some of which the author wrote for his local newspaper. I've not recruited a local paper, but if everything works out I will have a unique story to tell (nobody else has hiked the entire trail twice in one year without spending a night camping-i.e. off the trail every night.) There may be a book in that.”

Let’s hope so. Pete is a writer, a climate scientist and a hiker, an interesting combination. While reading the blogs, I wondered if Pete would combine his notes and publish a book? He should. I haven’t been able to read all the entries, but I found those I read very insightful.

I discovered that there is hope. Responding to one of my comments, Pete wrote, “I’m definitely planning to work on turning my blog posts and personal journal entries into some kind of book….” I look forward to reading it and traveling the Appalachian Trail through Pete’s eyes. You can check out his Pete’s reports at

1 comment:

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