Friday, January 29, 2010

Dreaming the Appalachian Trail

The Man - Brad Viles
I encourage you to read Brad Viles's book, Dreaming the Appalachian Trail. I write this blog in admiration for a man I have never met in person. We have corresponded via email, have chatted on the phone, and have exchanged books. Indeed, I have read many of his writings in the Bangor Daily News.

I was so enthralled with Dreaming … that I just had to have my wife Cathy listen as I read her two chapters of beautiful prose that reminded me of reading Robert Frost’s, “Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled by”. I pictured Brad reading to an intent group of outdoor enthusiasts by a campfire next to a river in Maine.

Snippets from Contents of Dreaming
Dreaming the Appalachian Trail is a fictional account of Brad’s Appalachian Trail (AT) hike from Georgia to Maine. Along the way he encounters violent storms, strange people, spectacular scenery and events that change his life. The trail itself is a major character in this story of imagination and wonder.

I absolutely loved Non-stop’s frog/tadpole metaphor. “A frog can’t explain to a tadpole what he will become when grown. The tadpole can’t understand about having legs, no tail and breathing air, even though a frog is exactly what the tadpole would become when it’s an adult. I could not express to anyone what it was like to walk over two thousand miles, so I was a frog, surrounded by tadpoles.” Gosh, I read that, and said, there is my answer when people ask me what it is like to paddle 100 miles on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

The Voice made me pause and feel Maine-tainer merge with the “AT”. I ask myself, hmm, so that is what it is like to have the AT talk to me.

Topo Man made my imagination go wild, and his appearance with Compass was unexpected and appropriate. I could see a person tattooed from head to foot with the map of the AT, and yet this person was always losing his way on the AT.

If you want a book to tell you directions and points of interest on the AT, as most AT books do, then this book is not for you. If you want to "feel" this man's connection to the AT, if you want to be absorbed and believe an AT hike, and if you want to read poetry, then buy Dreaming the Appalachian Trail.

I felt so moved after reading Dreaming the Appalachian Trail I posted a five-star(*****)review on

Purchase Dreaming the Appalachian Trail
To buy Dreaming... ($10.00 72 pages) go to

Brad writings include special outdoor enthusiast columns describing his personal exploits. You can read his outdoor pieces by Googling keywords, “Brad Viles Maine”.

Enthusiast passes on tips, stories, love of outdoors
In the January 16, 2010 issue of the Bangor Daily news, Brad wrote a book review of Outdoor Enthusiast titled, Enthusiast passes on tips, stories, love of outdoors. Click here to read it.

An Invitation to Hike Acadia National Park
Brad and I do plan on meeting in person. Brad has graciously invited me to join him in hiking his special trails in the Acadia National Park of Maine. In fact, as I shared Brad’s invitation with my own “characters’ in Outdoor Enthusiast, many have asked if they might join us. Maybe if Brad reads this blog he will smile like his AT trail name of “Maine-tainer”, and I can introduce him to three or four of my fellow outdoor enthusiasts.

My Maine Connection
In the process of interviewing me for his BDN article, I recalled my Maine adventures - after all this review is for "Mainers”. Gosh, I am really connected! Not only was my Dad from Maine, I have aunts and cousins throughout Maine, and we are doing a genealogy search to verify my great great grandmother was indeed a Penobscot Indian.

Moreover, Outdoor Enthusiast describes seven paddling treks in Maine including the Allagash, the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race (with my TV dump at Six-mile Falls), Kennebunk Fireman Triathlon, Kennebec White Water Rafting, and the Androscoggin Trek to the Sea. My Maine club memberships are the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Maine Island Trail Association.

I trust my motivational presentation at the Naval Ship Yard Kittery encouraged sailors to enjoy Maine’s outdoor opportunities. Chapter Eleven of Outdoor Enthusiast has Places to Play in Northern New England - the Maine Way

Be sure to never say, “I wish I had spent $10.00 to read, Dreaming the Appalachian Trail

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