Spread the love

Book Cover

In 2004, celebrating her 50th birthday, the author, along with her best friend, Z, threw an “over-the-top party.” Only days later, Z was killed by a drunk driver. Attempting to come to terms with the loss, Griffin escaped to Yosemite, where she camped and read. There she found inspiration in the words of the Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue: “When the mind is festering with trouble or the heart torn, we can find healing among the silence of the mountains…” She felt the sudden desire to walk the John Muir Trail, a long-distance hike of approximately 200 miles in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The author describes planning and training for the event before setting out in the summer of 2006 with two female friends, Cappy and Jane (Jane leaves the trip on the sixth day). The memoir records 27 days the author spent in the wild, where Griffin experienced terrifying mountaintop storms, beautiful waterfalls, and struggles with sprained ankles, blisters, and mosquitoes. She also met many other fellow hikers who became “trail friends,” one of whom, Zoe, joined their hiking party after splitting with her hiking partner. The author has a delightfully unconventional descriptive style that charms the reader from the outset. Her portraits of other hikers prove particularly vivid: “His mouth spread into a wide grin that pushed his cheeks up until they bumped into his eyes, scrunching them into an endearing whole-face smile.” Griffin eloquently communicates her physical and emotional progress, building to a true moment of epiphany in the mountains: “I was stronger, so the challenges were easier, and my fears, along with my aches and pains, diminished.” She was also fully aware of the awesome scenery surrounding her and deftly transports the reader into the landscape: “Unlike Mount Muir and the other sharp pinnacles, Whitney was an upside-down soup bowl, a vast rounded chunk of granite.” There are occasions when the author repeats observations, such as the sound of “nylon against nylon,” while walking. This minor flaw does not detract from the elegantly crafted prose.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *