Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Barry Veden's "Coming of Age" Reviewed

There is an article posted online on 4 March 2008 at the Chesterton (IN) Tribune web site by Kevin Nevers titled "Area author Barry Veden finds himself on the Appalachian Trail." Veden has written about his 'mid-life crisis' hike at age 50 and titled the book Coming of Age on the Appalachian Trail.
"Hiking the A.T. is hardly a cake walk, though. Its precipitous heights, the extremes of temperature and weather, the sheer daily mileage required just to hit the next shelter by night fall, make it a grueling test of muscle and stamina for even the fittest. Still, in his new book, Coming of Age on the Appalachian Trail, Veden makes a strong if unstated case that, in some profound way, youth may be wasted on the A.T.

"Coming of Age resists easy classification. It’s part memoir, part fiction, part meditation, and nothing at all like Veden’s previous book,...."
Clearly, some would argue with that premise, but the case can surely be made that the older hikers appreciate the experience more--often having looked forward to and anticipated the hike for years--and that they certainly bring a richer life experience to their hikes. Don't you recall having seen young hikers making their thru-hikes into a kind of movable outdoor party extension of dorm life? The older hikers are often more contemplative, observant and purposeful. Hike your own hike.

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