Writing Westward Podcast Episode 027
Mountaineers Books, 2020
Barney Mann, known on the trails as "Scout," is avid hiker, writer, and storyteller. Having completed the 2,650 mil Pacific Crest Trail, the 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail, both of which span from Mexico to Canada, and the 2,190 mile Appalachian Trail which stretches from Maine to Georgia, he is one of the few in the long-distance thru-hiking world to boast triple-crown status. In addition to putting in miles on the trail and writing about them, he has made significant contributions to the outdoors community by serving as board President of the Partnership for the National Trails System, Board Chair of the Pacific Crest Trail Association, President of the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, and by hosting, along with his wife Sandy, THOUSANDS of hikers to sleep a night or two at their SoCal home in preparation for embarking on the PCT. Explore more about Mann at his website, www.barneyscoutmann.com.
In his 2020 book, Journey's North: The Pacific Crest Trail, published by Mountaineers Books, Mann tells of the 2007 Pacific Crest Trail thruhiking season through the experiences of he and his wife Sandy, and a host of other hikers who they shared the trail with for their 5-month trek. Supplementing hikers' trail journals and blogs with extensive interviews, Mann weaves together various hikers' challenges and triumphs on the PCT alongside their backstories and what brought them to the trail. What results is a blending of individual characters stories and a collective narrative of interactions, shared joys, and shared pains. Mann unfolds the PCT geography, environment, and key features through the lenses of hikers' sweat, blisters, aching muscles, broken teeth, frostbitten digits, hunger and thirst, logistical and financial crises, and illness. Lest he leave us with too negative an impression, Mann's most consistent thematic throughlines are how PCT hiking experience led the community of hikers to revel simple joys - a greasy burger, chocolate pudding, hot showers, comraderie, and friendship - and how the PCT experience imparted soul-stretching personal transformations for all involved.
Journeys North reveals the power that Western American public lands, wilderness, and their extensive networks of trails can have on people's lives, and eloquently demonstrates why they are worth protecting and maintaining.
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- Host and Producer Brenden W. Rensink is Associate Director of the Redd Center, an Associate Professor of History at BYU, General Editor of the Intermountain Histories project, and author of the 2018 book Native but Foreign: Indigenous Immigrants and Refugees in the North American Borderlands.
- Podcast Music was written and recorded by local Provo composer by Micah Dahl Anderson.
- Episodes are recorded via Skype or in person and amateurishly engineered and produced by Professor Rensink.
- To submit a book to be considered for a podcast episode, email firstname.lastname@example.org.