On February 26, 2011, Nate Damm stood barefoot in the Atlantic Ocean on the Delaware coast, then put his shoes on and started walking west. Over 3,200 miles passed under his feet over the following seven-and-a-half months, and he found himself in San Francisco, having walked across America. This is the story of what drove Nate to hit the road and what he found once he got there. Featuring a cast of quirky, wild, and endearing characters, this is a story of heartbreak, redemption, random acts of kindness, blisters, idiotic drivers, no less than one bear attack, small towns, sanity lost somewhere in the desert, love, and what it takes to find peace and happiness at three miles per hour.
There's no doubt that Damm has at least some skill with words. I've read other "Life Changing Hike/Walk" books written by people who have no business writing more than a Facebook status. This book was very engaging, and I was impressed by how someone so dumb could write such an engaging book.
Dumb? Yeeessssss. Forgive me for saying so, but Nate Damm was an idiot. I can only hope he has shaped up in the years since the happenings of this book. What kind of dingbat decides to hike across America and does almost no research about how to go about it? He fully admits to not researching certain things, and at some points it almost sounds like he's bragging about going into everything unprepared. There should be some kind of disclaimer for impressionable young people who pick up this book, reminding them to prepare and research for a walk of this magnitude or it'll come back to bite them in the butt. Honestly, Damm is kind of lucky to have made it across the whole United States without being killed or maimed. Sheesh.
Also, I did not understand his relationship with Alissa at all. Thankfully, once you get past oh, say, Kentucky or so, Damm quits his pouting about her. I couldn't have handled it if he'd kept going on and on about her through the entire book.
So those complaints aside, I actually did really enjoy reading this book. I had no idea the ADT even existed, and am determined to hike a bit of it myself someday. I value my daily shower far too much to walk for 8 months, though. Shudder.
I loved the story of the bear in Colorado. It was pretty funny. I think Damm is a tough, intense sort of guy (to walk 40 miles in a day?! you have to have intensity and toughness to pull something like that off) and I hope that things turn out well for him. Because they could have easily turned out badly, due to his dumb dumb dumb lack of planning and/or foresight. The ending was kind of a bummer (possibly due to his lack of planning) - the way he just decided to be done so close to his goal was disappointing. But hey, I'd have quit 3 blocks through Delaware, so I've got no room to talk.