May 052015


So I have been avoiding my beloved blog, right here where you now sit, like the plague. Why? Because it reminds me that I’m not doing anything, and by “anything” I mean that no matter what magnificent accomplishments my mind is conjuring, my ass sits firmly within a receptacle somewhere in the same 30 square mile radius. I’m still. And April, the month that would usually seduce me from anywhere, has come and gone. Sitting still is rough. Sitting still in April is cruelty. But alas I am on a different “trail” towards a different “Canada” and firmly attached to the follow-through. So I’ll just keep padding my bruisey ass and plough forward.

And Fozzie has thrown me a line. Not an actual line of rope or cord which I might need after so much inactivity, but he’s thrown me a line of sanity by mailing me a copy of his book, “Balancing on Blue”, telling the story of his 2012 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I’d known from reading his PCT memoir, “The Last Englishman”, that Fozzie knows how to walk me through an experience. Of course I can relate. I’ve done thru-hikes. But the way he brings you into the story, makes you care, even if you  can’t relate, is masterful.

He starts “Balancing On Blue” having a cast of characters, including himself,  introduce themselves to you. At this point in the story you of course have no idea why you want to hear these people’s voices, but as the story progresses, you are happy they poked in and said hello. They develop into their own adventures and it’s wonderful to know where they came from. The story is linear, following the line of the trail itself, letting events and revelations present themselves organically, as they would if you yourself were walking the trail. It’s funny, it’s soft, it’s endearing, and it’s honest. Though a unique story, it’s everyman’s thru-hike, and the next best thing to being there when your ass is ensconced in a receptacle.

I don’t want to give away the story so I won’t, but the end of the book has an epilogue where the peckle of characters we came to know and love throughout the story, including Fozzie, poke in and speak to you again. You find out in their words, what happened to them, in the experience of walking the Appalachian Trail, and the reverberations felt through their lives afterwards. It wasn’t just a bunch of declarations of how great it was or wasn’t, but thoughtful and very actual descriptions of what a thru-hike like that does to one’s life. It made me want to read an entire book that was only that, titled maybe “Now what?”.  It also provides some insights into what is the “dromomania” urge, the nomadic urge to continue wandering and adventuring one’s way through life. It took me many years to make peace with that urge, and his writings help me to celebrate it.

Fozzie has already set off on a new adventure, thru-hiking all 3,100 miles of the Continental Divide Trail. His compass points to Canada once again. I wish the greatest adventures upon him and also the fertilization of a new story to share. If you can’t wait for the book, follow his blog at You can also buy his book there or on the Amazon links posted earlier.


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