A Walk in the Woods

by

Bill Bryson

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Benton MacKaye Character Analysis

Benton MacKaye designed the Adirondack Trail in the 1920s, conceiving it as a place for city workers to reconnect with nature. He planned to build villages along the route that thrived on pastoral activities. Interestingly, MacKaye didn’t base the trail on any historical routes but devised it as a way to connect the highest points in the Eastern United States. As a result, the trail is neither well-worn nor easy to navigate. MacKaye completed building the trail entirely on volunteer labor. Even today, it’s sustained entirely by volunteers.
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Benton MacKaye Character Timeline in A Walk in the Woods

The timeline below shows where the character Benton MacKaye appears in A Walk in the Woods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
In 1921, a U.S. Labor Department worker named Benton MacKaye envisions the Appalachian Trail. He sees it as a way for urban workers to reconnect... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
The trail that MacKaye and Avery build has few historical roots—it doesn’t follow any Native American trails or Colonial... (full context)
Chapter 12
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...carrying toenail clippers just in case another bear comes by. In the 1930s, Avery and MacKaye had an argument over a road that was being built through this part of the... (full context)
Chapter 16
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...used to be covered in orchards but was abandoned to nature. This is where Benton MacKaye formulated his vision for the Appalachian Trail. This part of the route also coincides with... (full context)
Chapter 17
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...the lodge, Bryson realizes that the bunks are austere and military-like. He thinks that if MacKaye had been able to realize his vision, the Trail would be lined with lodges like... (full context)