This Christmas, my mom killed it on picking out awesome books for me. One of the books she picked out, Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail, I’d never heard of before. I’ve read a lot of trail stories and sometimes they’re great and sometimes they’re almost annoying (Wild, ahem…) so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this book.
It didn’t take long for me to become invested in Suzanne, Erika, and Dionne. The John Muir Trail was a serious undertaking and they were a little inexperienced but since it was a shorter trail than the Pacific Crest Trail and they didn’t seem as clueless as Cheryl Strayed I was much more open to liking them. Suzanne did great job of illustrating her personal struggles and triumphs on the trail. Some of her observations really hit home. This quote, specifically, really made me feel like she understood why it is that I go hiking:
The severe cliffs and the granite domes made me feel small. We think we are so important, our problems so large, but then a place like this renders us small, our problems nothing more than the echo of birdsong in wind, maybe not even so much as that. Against the immensity of the granite domes I felt a humbling, a sense of being little on a large planet, a tiny part of a larger universe, a speck of dust in the cosmos, a billionth of a second in the time frame of the world. Connected. I realized that if I ever felt smaller than someone else, I could just compare us both to a galaxy or a star or even one of Yosemite’s giant granite domes.
Ultimately, though, it was the examination of the complexities of female friendships that made this a unique trail story. Dionne seemed to come to the trail struggling with an eating disorder and Erika seemed brash and unable to relate to the struggles both Suzanne and Dionne had along the way. Ultimately, however, the women worked together to achieve their goals, mostly accepting each other the way they were.
I read this book in just a day over Christmas Break. It grabbed me and I couldn’t wait to finish it. If you enjoy travelogues, I think this is a great read! It was the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award winner in Outdoor Literature so I wasn’t alone in really enjoying it.
Check out the book trailer. It does a great job of introducing the story: