In 1993, Suzanne Roberts and two friends decided to hike California’s John Muir Trail, 211 miles, over twenty-eight days. In 2012, the University of Nebraska Press published her memoir about the trip – Almost Somewhere: Twenty-Eight Days on the John Muir Trail. Suzanne currently teaches for the low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College (my alma mater), and I bought a copy of her book at the Literary Lollapalooza I attended at SNC last year.
Roberts’s memoir is written from journal entries and drawings she kept throughout the twenty-eight day adventure. Each chapter is begun with a quote from John Muir, and helps the reader track how many miles the women hike each day. It was as if I was right there with Suzanne, Dionne, and Erika, except I was able to shower, eat as much food as I wanted, and my legs weren’t killing me by the end.
Reading this book made me want to have a similar trip. Maybe not an entire month, but a week of camping and hiking really sounds like it would be a fun idea. The women in this book learn a lot about themselves, and each other, during their trip. When they end in Mount Whitney, they are stronger than when they left Yosemite a month earlier, and not just physically. Despite many people doubting they would make it, they finished the trail.
Suzanne and her companions confront bears and a bevy of strange men, along with the breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevadas. There is even a fun scene involving an obnoxious couple intruding on their space, and Erika’s decision to get rid of them in an interesting way. This book is equal parts a search for ‘girl power’, humor, truth, nature, and coming-of-age. It’s not only an entertaining read, but also very well-written.
I loved this book, which won the 2012 National Outdoor Book Award. The only thing it was missing, was photographs from the mountaintops. I guess I’ll just have to get out there to see it all for myself.
I purchased a copy of Almost Somewhere and received no compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are my own, because I just really liked it and wanted to share it with my readers.