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Bill Bryson describes his reasons and rewards for returning to America.

Bill Bryson reads two selections from A Walk in the Woods:
Bill and Steve are found by some bears, with nothing to defend themselves but a flashlight and a pair of nail clippers. The flashlight is out of batteries.

Bryson describes the serious side of A Walk in the Woods.
These streaming audio clips can be played with the RealPlayer or RealAudio player, available free from Progressive Networks.

A Diary of Bill Bryson's First Month
On the Appalachian Trail

Day 1
Stephen Katz and I begin our great adventure at Springer Mountain, GA. Within hours, Katz throws half his pack, including most of our food, over a cliff.

Day 2
We proudly make coffee using toilet paper as filters.

Day 4
We meet Mary Ellen. "I have long known that it is part of God's plan for me to spend a little time with each of the most stupid people on earth, and Mary Ellen was proof that even in the Appalachian woods I would not be spared."

Day 5
Arrive at a town. Ingest white bread and Coke, conveying us to the brink of orgasm.

Day 8
Hit major road. Hitchhike and get picked up by drunk driver with wanton fiancée, who drive us to Hiawasee, GA.

Day 9
Meet hiker who informs us that Mary Ellen is telling everyone on the trail that Katz and I are a couple of overweight wimps (actually pussies (and that we don't know the first thing about hiking.))

Day 9
Arrive at Big Butt Mountain. 'Nuff said.

Day 11
Get snowed in at a motel in Franklin, NC. Katz buys a TV Guide and 18 cans of cream soda.

Day 18
Reach the Smokies, which run exactly between North Carolina and Tennessee. Katz and I practice urinating across state lines.

Day 18
Spend restless night at rodent-infested shelter. Katz awakes gleeful--during the night he managed to kill seven mice with his water bottle.

Day 30
Get to Waynesboro, VA. Katz meets "Beulah" at the laundromat and gets chased by her husband, "Bubba T. Flubba."

Day 31
Encounter a bear! Katz arms himself with a nail clipper, while I reach for a butter knife.

Adapted from A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson. Copyright © 1998 by Bill Bryson.
 
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    Photo of Bill Bryson copyright © Jerry Bauer.