Books on Walking
1. I Went Walking, by Sue Williams.
OK, this is a toddler’s book and not really about walking like the following titles, but at the same time this book is exactly about walking as I enjoy the activity. I go walking, and have no idea what I’ll see or who I’ll meet. A walk with a toddler is always an adventure; everything you see is new and interesting. Toddlers walk slowly, without purpose, except perhaps for the adventure of discovery. To walk with a toddler takes patience, but to stroll along a wooded pathway exploring together can be one of the best adventures of the day.
2. Granny D by Doris "Granny D" Haddock is the true account of an 90 year old woman that chose to walk across America, from California to Washington DC, in the hopes to draw attention to Campaign Reform. She started at the age of 89 and finished the walk after she had turned 90. She describes walking in the summer heat of the desert, and then through West Virginia in the middle of a snowstorm. This walk was not chosen for pleasure but instead to draw attention to an issue that was very important to Mrs. Haddock. It is wonderful to think that a person of her age could walk so far and in such different conditions, and I believe it is wonderful to read about a person so committed to her ideals that she would chose to walk as a method of spreading the word. Granny D crossed the country on her own two legs at an age when most anyone else might be found living in a nursing home or using a walker.
3. A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins. Peter discovered and related his walk and discovery of his country and the people in two books about the journey. He started the walk with his dog, but after an accident he had to finish on his own. He would walk, camp, and find jobs as needed, and live with other families. I especially remember his living with an African American family in the mountains of North Carolina while he worked and earned money to continue the journey. Anyone reading this book will learn more about our country and how we live as well as what it might be like to attempt this adventure.
4. The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson is a kind of study on walking by exploring why, who and where. Geoff writes about other walkers and he also shares his walks. Reading one book often leads to other discoveries, and this is true for me. Geoff writes about a nude walker that journeys in England, walking and often getting arrested for his manner of dress, or lack of dress. I looked up a documentary on this person, and then remembered my own adventures walking through a camp of nudists. I remembered my father telling me to keep my eyes on the path as we passed through, and of course I remember all that I saw that was not on the path. I enjoyed this book and reading it reminded me of the joy of walking no matter where I might be, city, town, or country.
5. Walking by Thoreau is an essay on the joy of walking. This is the type of writing that causes the reader to want to hop out of his chair and start walking across the fields and streams, spending the entire day out of doors. Sadly most of us can’t find places that fit his description of just walking without direction; there are highways, private property and fences in the way. I plan to try walking for an entire day soon, without direction, but it will be different than the experiences he had. That is OK, we each have to find our own adventures.