On Trails: An Exploration

On Trails An Exploration In while thru hiking the Appalachian Trail Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet How do they form Why do some improve over time while others fade What makes us f

  • Title: On Trails: An Exploration
  • Author: Robert Moor
  • ISBN: 9781476739212
  • Page: 399
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In 2009, while thru hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet How do they form Why do some improve over time while others fade What makes us follow or strike off on our own Over the course of the next seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive He learnIn 2009, while thru hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet How do they form Why do some improve over time while others fade What makes us follow or strike off on our own Over the course of the next seven years, Moor traveled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive He learned the tricks of master trail builders, hunted down long lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet In each chapter, Moor interweaves his adventures with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing combining the nomadic joys of Peter Matthiessen with the eclectic wisdom of Lewis Hyde s The Gift.Throughout, Moor reveals how this single topic the oft overlooked trail sheds new light on a wealth of age old questions How does order emerge out of chaos How did animals first crawl forth from the seas and spread across continents How has humanity s relationship with nature and technology shaped world around us And, ultimately, how does each of us pick a path through life Moor has the essayist s gift for making new connections, the adventurer s love for paths untaken, and the philosopher s knack for asking big questions With a breathtaking arc that spans from the dawn of animal life to the digital era, On Trails is a book that makes us see our world, our history, our species, and our ways of life anew.

    One thought on “On Trails: An Exploration”

    1. This book is endlessly fascinating, but don't expect it to follow a straight line. Instead, it pursues its own meandering road.When Robert Moor hiked the Appalachian Trail back in 2009, he became interested in the history of the trail itself, and in all other kinds of trails humans follow. He wondered why we like trails, why we build so many of them, and why some paths survive and others don't. After a lot of research and a fair amount of hiking, he arrived at this book, which isn't really a hik [...]

    2. Man is built to walk. Actually, man is built to jog, slowly, speaking from a physiological point of view. However you ambulate, our bones and muscles are constructed to move and keep moving. Sedentary life is no life at all (he says while sitting in a chair, typing up this review). I love to walk. If you have been reading my reviews or blog for long enough, you'll know that. This is part of the reason I was so worried when I blew my back out in late 2014 and was so relieved when my surgery in 20 [...]

    3. This wide-ranging study examines many aspects and types of trail-making. Along the way Moor thru-hikes the Appalachian Trail, herds sheep in Arizona, observes elephants, follows ancient Native American paths on deer hunting vigils, and travels to Morocco to scope out new sections for the International Appalachian Trail. At times I had trouble seeing the connections between all the disparate elements (everything from ant behavior to Cherokee language and the Internet); Moor tries for an overarchi [...]

    4. "Complete freedom is not what a trail offers. Quite the opposite; a trail is a tactful reduction of options."Moor states in the very first chapter that this book is not a ladder and does not lead up to any sort of conclusion, but like the trail, it winds and meanders. By and large, the wandering on this book trail was great fun: Moor recounting his through-hike on the Appalachian Trail (although this is more of a stage setter, it is definitely not the theme of the book like A Walk in the Woods: [...]

    5. My incentive in reading Moor's On Trails is my own enjoyment of hiking. The book delivers so much more than an examination of walking in the woods, though. Moor is a hiker himself, what he calls a thru-hiker, one who hikes long distances over established trails of great length. He describes some of his own experiences in spending 5 months hiking the entire Appalachian Trail from its beginning in Georgia to the ending on Maine's Mount Katahdin. Moor writes interestingly on why people hike and wha [...]

    6. Moor is a long distance walker, he took five months completing the Appalachian Trail, but rather than just the exhilaration in completing this 2190 mile journey he realised that he now had questions about just why we create trails. In exploring this phenomena he is shown some of the oldest fossil trails, he learns how and why animals do the same thing, from ants that use pheromones to guide others from the nest to sources of food. He has a go a shepherding to see how sheep make trails, and manag [...]

    7. Shiiii. I picked up this book because I figured it was about hiking, and I was in a dope bookstore that I wanted to support. Best of both worlds. I got waaaay more from this book than I was expecting. It was an incredible exploration straight from day 0 of trails (ediacaran trails), to ants, to animal's migratory paths, to first nation's paths to wow. wow. This was a delicious read.

    8. Ranks with the likes of Annie Dillard and Edward Abbey, an important book for the modern nature reader: Read my review in Chicago Review of Books. chireviewofbooks/2016/08/

    9. A good book that admittedly I was stopped from appreciating to its fullest by the second worst narrator I’ve ever listened to. Let’s get that out of the way then- the audiobook was poorly edited, the sound was not normalized, many sentences were repeated, and the narrator did “accents” which were almost ALWAYS inappropriate to the speaker and were often too nasally and/or quiet. The narrator treated the audiobook like an acting reel, and that probably also explains why I’d never heard [...]

    10. Like the very best of trails, this book meanders through a layered landscape connecting the personal within a historical and cultural context, with lots detours for philosophical observations, both the authors and the dozens of people he tracks down to visit. Even nicer, he invites reader participation. RM is no fly-by-night journalist. He does not so much interview his experts, he tags along, often assuming a small but crucial role in the process of grounding himself solidly in experience.

    11. The Overdrive audio for this returned to the library as I was on the final chapter - I'm reserving final judgement until I get to hear those last words!

    12. the path of humanity is ever branching. all roads need not lead to times square.a meditative, yet active inquiry into the nature of trails (human, animal, and technological), robert moor's on trails: an exploration seamlessly blends science, history, philosophy, and a poet's unerringly observational eye to create a varied and constantly engaging work that spans several genres. like a long meandering hike where one is gifted with myriad overlooks, disparate perspectives, and plenty of thought-pro [...]

    13. Amazing read. A beautiful compilation of personal, scientific, historical, and philosophical writings that wanders from interesting to funny to incredibly moving. It's the kind of book that makes you want to stop and think almost every paragraph, and also to keep going and going so that you can hear more about what the author has to say.

    14. This is one of the best books I've read in a while and definitely my favorite non-fiction in years. Fantastic writer! Everyone should read this.

    15. This is a meditation on the nature of trails. Maybe every living creature trails. People do of course, and elephants, and ants. To point out the size spectrum of trail makers and users. And it’s seemingly second nature to all of them. The author decides trails are at bottom a string of signs, “go here,” “don’t go there.” You have to be credentialed to pronounce such things. And as a through-hiker (all in one go) of the Appalachian Trail and others he is.But maybe the highlight of the [...]

    16. “We are born to wander through a chaos field. And yet we do not become hopelessly lost, because each walker who comes before us leaves behind a trace for us to follow.”“In walking, we acquire more of less.”

    17. A book about trails, both real and metaphoric. Robert Moor does a great job of making trails (something I've only just begun to learn and appreciate) relevant to a city rat. Drawing from history, philosophy, science and personal experiences going on trails, On Trails is a great place to start if you're new to the whole nature-walks-are-amazing-brah culture. Vivid, smart and thought-provoking.

    18. This book was just incredible. Beautifully written; lovely and lyrical. Fascinating dive into not only the nature of trails and what we consider "wilderness" but also on what they provide us. Can't recommend it enough.

    19. I really did not know what to expect from this book. It was highly recommended to my by an older man (he was probably about my age -- ha ha) I encountered on a trail while backpacking in the High Uintas of Utah. "Just read it," he said. "There's no way I can describe it." The man was quite the salesman. Shortly after getting home from my trip I ordered it from (my small-town public library doesn't seem to have funds to buy books like this). Unfortunately, I was not as enthralled with it as my s [...]

    20. On Trails was an interesting deep dive into trails of all kinds -- from the trails that insects create and follow, to animal trails, on to hiking trails and the electronic superhighway. Moor looks at trails -- their intent, how they form, why they last (or don't), and how they change with time. The theme of connection and separation runs throughout. It was a little bit slower of a read, but the content was fascinating and the writing was solid.

    21. One of the best articulations and explorations of hiking and the paths that carry us I have ever encountered. Thought provoking while also having the sensibility not to claim having found an answer. Thoroughly enjoyed reading through the very last paragraphs - would recommend to all my trail friends.

    22. I won this book as a Giveaway. In On trails Moor has written a perfect blend of travel navel gazing and intellectual inquiry on well trails. I simultaneously wanted to put down the book and embark on an adventure and curl up and dig deeper into his creation. Wonderfully done!

    23. Took it down 2 stars because i found several long sections rather boring. I'm much more interested in the human footpath types of trails and not so much about ant trails, etc.

    24. A surprisingly thought provoking book on the nature of trails - physically and philosophically. Not what I expected but what I grew to greatly appreciate. Written generally from a naturalist point of view, Moor weaves in the idea that there is a certain universality to trails. From the tiniest insect to the largest creatures. We travel trails to get from one place to another but in the act we change the trail and the trail changes us.I have a vested interest in trails as I run an organization of [...]

    25. I wanted to underline a lot of great lines and brilliant insight throughout this book. At many points, especially when the author is writing from firsthand personal experience on the trail, I was felt as though I were reading my new favorite book (Five Stars!). Other parts, especially when the author is trying to translate complex scientific history/theory, were dry and dragging and something I was forcing myself to get through (Two Stars!).So, this is to say there are very high and low (peaks a [...]

    26. An exploration of trails.I picked this book up on the premise of the focus being the history of trails (hiking trails to be specific), and I guess I got more than I bargained for. Robert Moor likes to start from the beginning, and he's not kidding when he says the beginning. The first chapter starts off from the Precambrian age when single-celled organisms were making their way across the earthd thus creating trails. He jumps around through history, from studying insect colonies to the mentality [...]

    27. A very odd but enjoyable read. Appalachian Trail, ant trails, animal trails, intellectual trails, etc. Not exactly what I was looking for. Not enough about the simple engrossing pleasure of walking trails, but he is an engaging writer with the knack for the memorable image. Quotes:---ter carrying a pack all day "I would rise from my burden with a weird heliated feeling, as if my toes were merely grazing the dirt."---"[hitchhiking] was a wonderful way to get to know the local people. Snug in the [...]

    28. This wasn't the book I was expecting, not at all, and perhaps it was all the better for that. There are few things I appreciate more than when a writer lets the disparate pieces tell their own stories, letting the reader make the connections themselves—when the outdoor world is at peace with the internal world and reflections on one or the other are also reflections on both. I expected a history of trails, and this was thatbut it was also very much something else altogether, too.[4.5 stars for [...]

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