People were asked to give their personal connections to the Appalachian Trail when the Cabin Fever Book Club met Thursday at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center.
The first book discussed by the club was Maurice Broun's "Hawks Aloft" about Hawk Mountain. For February it was "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. He hiked much of the Appalachian Trail as he became reacquainted with this country after an extended European stay.
He talks about the great views as he hiked in Pennsylvania – proclaimed the most difficult part of the trail because of the many rocks. Because he talks about having Snickers bars in his backpack, Barbara Egerton included them in some packs of trail mix she provided for those who attended.
The through hikers face 2,100 miles, but he did not hike the whole distance.
Nelson Markley said he has hiked since he was 12 from the Hamburg area while Donald Leickel said he was on the Maine section with an Army Corp research team.
Cindy Christman walked parts of the trail in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Nancy Taras, an information specialist at the center who moderates the club, said she has taken students on a five-mile hike on the trail. Taras said her sister, a friend and a dog planned to walk through. The friend dropped out and Taras picked up the dog near the end of the trail.
Jane Borbe has walked "very small segments" and Sally Kraus said she did her hiking on Fifth Avenue but has hiked a mountain in New Jersey on a trail that crossed the Appalachian.
Roy Christman did a half mile near Bake Oven Knob and nearly broke an ankle.
Bill Leickel was another club member who hiked at Bake Oven.
Lisa McKeown said it would have been better to walk up Mount Washington, Maine, but she took the car. Borbe said the cog railroad is even scarier.
Egerton's experience taught her that it is really rocky.
Dan Kunkle, director of the center, said Mount Katahdin is six-feet short of a mile high so someone built a six-foot stone cairn on the top. He asked two people who were at Katahdin what they considered the worst part of the trail. Their choice was Pennsylvania, especially around Palmerton.
The book is dedicated to Katz, with whom Bryson traveled part of the distance. Roy Christman said without her parts of the book would be dull.
Kunkle said the trail is described as "a green tunnel." He wants to keep the area of the nature center open which is actually its normal state because for many, many years first the Indians and later the farmers who settled the area kept it burned clear so the blueberries would grow better.
Bryson described the view at Delaware Water Gap as better than the Alps, but Taras said it is much like that of Lehigh Gap.
Taras had a list of 67 points for discussion and as people were preparing to leave, each received "A Walk in the Woods" crossword. The discussion points include pages in the book where the information can be found.
Taras spent 30 years as a special education teacher before retiring, but now finds herself busier than ever.
"It's a brand new world," Taras said.
For March, each person is asked to read a book and give a summary which may suggest books that others would enjoy reading.
The next session is either March 15 or 17, 10 a.m. to noon. For information about the March date, email firstname.lastname@example.org. It should be available by March 5.The sessions will begin again in the fall.