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Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail | [Bill Walker]

Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail

Why would a middle-aged businessman who had never even spent the night outdoors, attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail? Bill Walker, a former commodities trader in Chicago and London, and an avid walker, had developed a virtual obsession to hike this historic 2,175 mile footpath in one hiking season. In the spring of 2005 he set off from his home state of Georgia, hoping to make it to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine before the arrival of winter.
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Publisher's Summary

Why would a middle-aged businessman who had never even spent the night outdoors, attempt to hike the entire Appalachian Trail? Bill Walker, a former commodities trader in Chicago and London, and an avid walker, had developed a virtual obsession to hike this historic 2,175 mile footpath in one hiking season. In the spring of 2005 he set off from his home state of Georgia, hoping to make it to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine before the arrival of winter. Immediately, he realized he had plunged into a whole new world. For starters, the Appalachian Trail has some ferociously difficult terrain, winding through dramatically diverse geography and covering the East's highest peaks. Walker's 6'11" height earned him the trail name, "Skywalker", and drew envious attention from his fellow hikers. However, the height made him more susceptible to weight loss, cold weather, and crushing fatigue. An elemental fear of bears and snakes, as well as getting lost, also loomed large. Skywalker was especially struck by the rich culture this jewel of a trail has developed over the years.

Included is a history of how the Appalachian Trail has become such a stunning American success story over the decades. It is a model public-private partnership. As many as 4,000,000 people hike some part of it each year. Mortals are compelled - or perhaps cursed - to relive their lifetime adventure. This is Bill Walker's unforgettable version, leavened with ruthlessly self-deprecating humor. Some have joked that the book is as much about what not to do, as what to do. Skywalker couldn't agree more!

©2008 Indigo Publishing Group (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (54 )
5 star
 (24)
4 star
 (19)
3 star
 (9)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
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Overall
4.3 (51 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (9)
2 star
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1 star
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Story
3.9 (51 )
5 star
 (22)
4 star
 (12)
3 star
 (10)
2 star
 (5)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
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  •  
    E.S. 09-01-14
    E.S. 09-01-14

    Reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    Story
    "Amateurish"
    Would you try another book from Bill Walker and/or Bill Walker?

    No -- I wouldn't try another book from this author. While I'm sure the story is interesting, I couldn't get past how poorly the editing was. It felt like a good "how I spent my summer vacation" essay.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    I only got about 45 minutes in and then had to quit. I couldn't take the adverbs: "He said forlornly."


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator has a thick Georgia twang...which I guess is okay, except he constantly sounds as though he's lining up the punch line of a joke. I'm not sure if that's intentional or not. I kept anticipating "You might be a redneck" coming at the end of every sentence. What was more detracting, though, was that the narrator didn't have a good sense of speed or intonation. It sounded very "read" instead of performed, as I have heard excellent readers do.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I love the topic, and I'm sure the writer/narrator is a great guy who did have a very memorable experience.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Bentonville, AR, United States 06-03-15
    Amazon Customer Bentonville, AR, United States 06-03-15 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awkward narration"

    To sum up the other reviews this is a funny entertaining story. The narration is rushed. I kept checking to see if my speed was set correctly. At one point I even slowed it down to .75. Still Walker is difficult to understand as he slurs words and rushes his delivery. I suggest you pass on the audio and just buy the printed version.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Silva 03-31-15

    Rich S.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A good story flawed by a lackluster narrator"

    The story is entertaining and l believe l would have enjoyed the story more had the author not narrated. l found that the accent distracts. l would have enjoyed this book as a printed version as opposed to listening to the Southern twang for hours on end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane 07-12-15
    Jane 07-12-15

    2moresheep

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hilarious--entertaining as well as informative"
    What did you love best about Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail?

    Skywalker's willingness to laugh at himself and the difficulties he ran into.


    What other book might you compare Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail to and why?

    There are dozens of other books about hiking the AT. This is the most entertaining one!


    What does Bill Walker bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Skywalker's slightly amateurish reading voice made this audiobook come alive. I wanted the book to keep going forever.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When his mom drove him to the trail...I loved it. (Mind you, he was in his forties.)


    Any additional comments?

    Looking forward to listening to his other audiobook(s).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    pops5356 05-14-15
    pops5356 05-14-15 Member Since 2014
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    2
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    Story
    "Great listen"

    Great story, Bill's reading style kept me wanting more tales of the trail.
    Will listen to his hike of the PCT.







    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terry 04-15-15
    Terry 04-15-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Not sure about those less than 3 stars reviews"
    If you could sum up Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail in three words, what would they be?

    Humble
    Humiliating
    Creative


    What did you like best about this story?

    That he narrated


    What about Bill Walker’s performance did you like?

    I listened to this book on my evening runs and to and from work. It was like he was running with me and riding in my truck with me


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes it was.


    Any additional comments?

    Not sure why all the 3 stars and less review. Oh well Hike your own hike and read your own read. Nope not kin to Sky Walker and don't know him personally so this my 5 star review.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia OCONOMOWOC, WI, United States 04-01-15
    Virginia OCONOMOWOC, WI, United States 04-01-15 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "What NOT to do on the AT"

    I found this humorous, lighthearted. A good example of somebody in their mid life wanting to try a new adventure.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debushka 03-05-15
    Debushka 03-05-15

    Deb

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I Tried"
    What would have made Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail better?

    I really did try to get through this whole book & because I want to finish it I will... but... I needed a break from the narration. My son is on the AT at this very moment and I love reading everything I can get on the subject, but this book was difficult to listen to from the very beginning. Bill Walker was rushed in his narration, often flying through words so that they were "almost" mumbled which often caused me to focus more on that than the story line.


    Would you recommend Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail to your friends? Why or why not?

    No. There are many more wonderful books that better convey the beauty, challenge and spirit of an AT thru-hike.


    How could the performance have been better?

    A different narrator who took their time to relish and live the words.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-22-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Great Trail Hiking Literature! !"

    I read this after being so disappointed and disgusted by Oprah's recommendation of Wild. Skywalker is what I was really after in this classification of travel and adventure. Bill Walker's sense of humor and enthusiasm for lie and adventure have made this one of my Audible favorites.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim 01-07-15
    Tim 01-07-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Was like a bad sequel"

    In the same vain as "Home Alone 3" or "Caddyshack 2" this book was a different story about the same thing as "A Walk In The Woods" but it was by far inferior to that book. I enjoyed listening to it, but it will not be a book I would listen to again and again as I have the aforementioned. The author was really not the best choice of narrator in my opinion. I do admire that he is a true "thru hiker". Often times I would get lost in the abundance of trail names.
    I liked the book but I did not love it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Mr D A Kay
    5/22/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Should the author always read?"

    Whilst I really enjoyed the story, and I still think that it's best to get the author to read the story themselves, there were plenty of occasions when I had to question that in this book. Walker's enthusiasm is great, but the speed he reads at fluctuates a lot, and many parts aren't clear to hear. Surely the producer should be listening carefully and redo sections that are mumbled and rushed. It did spoil the story quite a bit, but the actual content was very enjoyable and is the second of Walker's I've listened to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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