I’ve been reading through the first edition (there are four today) of Colin Fletcher’s The Complete Walker for the past week, absorbing valuable information on boots, packing, and other outdoorsing know how chapters at a time. Fletcher is known for being the first man to hike the entire distance of the Grand Canyon, all by himself at that with the aid of an occasional air drop of supplies once a week or so.. oh and also walking the entire length of California, that too. Often hailed as the godfather of the hiking movement of the 1960’s. His writing isn’t so boringly straight-forward technical information as one might expect from a book like this, rather it is imbued with a strong sensibility and humor of his personality.
“I was gently accused of escapism during during a TV interview about a book I had written on a length-of-California walk. Frankly, I fail to see how going for a six-month, thousand-mile walk through deserts and mountains can be judged less real than spending six months working eigh hours a day, five days a week, in order to earn enough money to be able to come back to a comfortable home in the evening and sit in front of a TV screen and watch the two-dimensional image of some guy talking about a book he has written on a six-month, thousand-mile walk through deserts and mountains.”
It’s also enlightening to hear him talk about all the new gear that was coming out at the time, the book was written at a pivotal time where new brands popped up every year and products evolved just as quickly as more people took up hiking.