A Walk in the Woods (2015, 1 hour and 44 minutes)
|Sage on the trail|
On the trail, which seems like a freeway, the two of them are constantly passed by younger hikers who all seem in shape (and way too clean to be backpacking). And then there is Mary Ellen, a bubbly woman who has an answer for everything and drives the two of them crazy. I remember such characters on the trail and ways we tried to dump them by either hiking fast or taking a short day and allowing them to get ahead. There were also the “gear Nazis” who scrutinized packs, boots and other equipment. Bryson and Katz experiences a snow storm but no other inclement weather (they hiked the whole time with long pants and flannel shirts, which even in the month of May would have been too much clothing on most days for even then it can get hot in the Southern Appalachians). There were no rain and thunder (and no sweating on hot days). I remember hiking in thunderstorms and, when with other hikers, we'd spread out so that if one of us was struck, the other could to attempt to resuscitate. It would have been nice to have had a thunderstorm on the screen, for about half way through the movie, I could hear the rumble of thunder from outside and for a few minutes the rain poured down so loud so that I heard it inside the theater. I was reminded I was better off at the movies than on the water.
|Sage on Mt. Katahdin|
at the end of the trail...
Although Katz is seen as a womanizer (a trait that seems to be in conflict with his looks), we learn that he has given up alcohol. He admits how much he enjoys drinking (the smell, the taste, how it makes you feel) but that he knows if he takes a drink, it will be all over. After a rough life, he is now living alone eating TV dinners.
The movie ends with the two of them deciding to give up their quest and go back home. They realize they don’t have to walk the entire trail for they have nothing to prove to anyone. I agree with most of the critics that the movie doesn’t do justice to Bill Bryson’s book. However, there is a value in the movie version. We see the rewards of Bryson’s faithfulness and well-lived life. Also, even though we understand that Katz’s wasted much of his life, we can cheer him on that he’s finally gotten it somewhat together (at least the alcohol, he still can't help hitting on any woman who happens by). The two help each other (Bryson, at one point, decides not to have a drink in front of Katz as not to tempt him). The two lives create a classic “morality-play” showing the value of virtue.
I’ve written a lot about my experiences on the Appalachian Trail in this blog. To get started in reading my experiences, click here.