Watch Bill Bryson’s Funny Bear Story to Calm Your Fears

Near the end of Bill Bryson’s speech in Frederick, MD the other evening, he took questions from the audience.  He answered questions about all of his books, but this article addresses the comments regarding his book, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.

Bryson answered a question about his and Katz’s inability to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail (AT).  He commented that he really admires thru-hikers.  He remarked that thru-hiking is tough, tougher than most can accomplish.  One only has to look at the number of thru-hiking attempts vs. completions to gain an appreciation for the difficulty of accomplishing a thru-hike.  Bryson said he was really bothered by their not walking the whole trail.  He didn’t spend many words on it in the book, but Bryson said he was bothered by it for a few months.

Of course, thru-hiking isn’t the only way to travel the Appalachian Trail.  One remark triggered an eruption of applause from the audience.  Bryson commented that he believes section hiking the trail “seems the most reasonable.”  After the applause finally quieted, he added, “for me at least.”  It is hard to describe, and difficult to test, but there seemed to be a message in the extended applause.  It seemed as if the audience appreciated a person of authority giving them permission to enjoy the AT without committing to a 6-month thru-hike.  Finally, it was ok to walk less than 2000 miles.

Bryson added that the Appalachian Trail must be celebrated, whether by traveling nearly 2200 miles or strolling 2 miles.

Any reader who has begun to read A Walk in the Woods will tell you that Bryson was concerned about bear attacks.  The author spent much time and quite a few pages describing the dangers of bears and other creatures along the AT.  The book’s cover photo reveals Bryson’s main concern for wildlife.

After his book was published, some readers provided guidance on bear encounters in the wild.  One letter included a story about grizzly bears out west.  Bryson said he shares this story with all audiences.  You’ll find the bear story at 25:57 in the video clip below.

What has kept you from completing a long hike? 

What is your greatest fear in the backcountry and why?

Learn What Bill Bryson Really Thinks of the Movie, A Walk in the Woods

Bill Bryson knows a lot about writing books, a bit less about producing movies.  Last night he commented on the movie adaptation of his best-selling book, A Walk in the Woods, during a book reading event in Frederick, MD.

In answering a question about the movie, Bill Bryson was quick to point out two things – 1) he “liked the movie very much,” and 2) he had nothing to do with it.

Bryson sold the movie rights of his book to Robert Redford.  The world waited for the movie as the idea sat for years.  In 2014, Robert Redford began filming the movie.  Bryson indicated he had little to do with the movie production after he sold the rights.  He made it clear that he trusted Robert Redford.

Bryson first saw the movie at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015.  He sat between Robert Redford and his wife (i.e., Mrs. Bryson). He reports that he and his wife were looking forward to seeing the movie, and hoped that they would be accurately portrayed. 

Bill Bryson told last night’s audience that it took a while to get used to Robert Redford answering for him on screen.  Bryson seemed very pleased with the choice of Robert Redford to play him in the movie.

Bryson shared that the only uncomfortable time during the movie screening was when his character (Robert Redford) and an innkeeper (Mary Steenburgen) began to flirt.  The Brysons were afraid the flirting might lead to something less innocent.  The movie quickly moved on without either character engaging further.  Bill Bryson leaned over to his wife during the Sundance screening and said, “That didn’t happen!” He has told his audiences since the movie’s release, “That didn’t happen!”  He told last night’s audience in Frederick, “That didn’t happen!”

If not Redford and Nick Nolte playing Bryson and Katz in the movie, who?  I would have liked to have seen Jack Black attempt to play a Katz.  Who would you have casted for Bryson and Katz?

Wonder About Backpacking in a Tropical Storm? Watch This and Wonder no More

What would keep you from your backpacking plans?

Would you let the remnants of a hurricane keep you from the trail?

These two backpackers said, "No!" As Tropical Storm Matthew made it's way up the east coast, these two headed to the Roan Highlands.

The Appalachian Trail, always open.

No backpackers were harmed in the making of this video.