A Walk in the Woods

by

Bill Bryson

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on A Walk in the Woods can help.

Stephen Katz Character Analysis

Stephen Katz is an old friend whom Bryson hasn’t seen for years. He lives a lonely life as a recovering alcoholic in Des Moines, Iowa. When Bryson solicits a companion for his hiking trip, Katz jumps at the chance to join—even though he’s heavily overweight and hooked on junk food, and he hates hiking. Katz struggles throughout the journey, and he often makes rash, foolish decisions, like dumping all his drinking water because it’s too heavy. Even though Katz rubs Bryson the wrong way, the two eventually warm to each other after learning to look out for each other and work as a team. Katz is particularly prone to saying the wrong thing, but this often works in his favor, as his comments tend to ward off people whom Bryson wants to avoid. Katz is amused by Bryson’s irrational fear of bears, and he often teases Bryson about this. Katz never warms to hiking—in fact, he’s miserable throughout most of the journey. Nonetheless, he demonstrates a bullish resolve to get through the experience without making it too miserable for Bryson. The pair eventually develop a warm friendship, having bonded over the miseries of the Trail.

Stephen Katz Quotes in A Walk in the Woods

The A Walk in the Woods quotes below are all either spoken by Stephen Katz or refer to Stephen Katz. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor edition of A Walk in the Woods published in 2006.
Chapter 2 Quotes

I still have my appendix, and any number of other organs that might burst or sputter in the empty wilds. What would I do then? What if I fell from a ledge and broke my back? What if I lost the trail in blizzard or fog, or was nipped by a venomous snake, or lost my footing on moss-slickened rocks crossing a stream and cracked my head a concussive blow? You could drown in three inches of water on your own. You could die from a twisted ankle. No, I didn't like the feel of this at all.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

“It’ll be hell.”

Related Characters: Bryson’s wife (speaker), Bill Bryson, Stephen Katz
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

“I, oh…I threw out the filter papers.”

I gave a sound that wasn't quite a laugh. “They couldn't have weighed two ounces.”

“I know, but they were great for throwing. Fluttered all over.” He dribbled on more water. “The toilet paper seems to be working OK, though.”

Related Characters: Stephen Katz (speaker), Bill Bryson
Page Number: 30
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Woods choke off views and leave you muddled without bearings.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

The inestimably priggish and tiresome Henry David Thoreau thought nature was splendid, splendid indeed, so long as he could stroll to town for cakes and barley wine, but when he experienced real wilderness, on a visit to Katahdin in 1846, he was unnerved to the core.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz, Henry David Thoreau
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:

In fact, mostly what the Forest Service does is build roads. I am not kidding.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 66
Explanation and Analysis:

You become part of an informal clump, a loose and sympathetic affiliation of people from different age groups and walks of life but all experiencing the same weather, same discomforts, same landscapes, same eccentric impulse to hike to Maine.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

We seemed to be looking out for each other. It was very nice. I can put it no other way.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:

“You're too fat. You should have lost weight before you came out here. Shoulda done some training, ‘cause you could have like a serious, you know, heart thing out here.”

Related Characters: Mary Ellen (speaker), Bill Bryson, Stephen Katz
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

I was beginning to appreciate that the central feature of life on the Appalachian Trail is deprivation, that the whole point of the experience is to remove yourself so thoroughly from the conveniences of everyday life that the most ordinary things—processed cheese, a can of pop gorgeously beaded with condensation—fill you with wonder and gratitude.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz, Peggy , Justin
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6 Quotes

Planetary scale is your little secret.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

These are, in short, seriously inadequate maps. In normal circumstances, this is merely irksome. Now, in a blizzard, it seemed closer to negligence.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Related Symbols: Bears
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

For the Smokies are a very Eden.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

We slopped up to the summit of Clingman’s Dome—a high point of the trip, by all accounts, with views in clear weather to make the heart take wing-and saw nothing, nothing whatever but the dim shapes of dying trees in a sea of swirling fog.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

By 1987, Gatlinburg had sixty motels and 200 gift shops. Today it has 100 motels and 400 gift shops. And the remarkable thing is that there is nothing remotely remarkable about that.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

“Jeez, it's ugly[.]”

Related Characters: Stephen Katz (speaker), Bill Bryson
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

It was horrible. And then lavishly, in unison, we wet ourselves.

Related Characters: Stephen Katz (speaker), Bill Bryson
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

The Appalachians alone lost four billion trees, a quarter of its cover, in a generation.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

If there is one thing the AT teaches, it is low-level ecstasy—something we could all do with more of in our lives.

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“Well you know what I’ve got in here, just in case? […] Toenail clippers—because you never know when danger might arise.”

Related Characters: Stephen Katz (speaker), Bill Bryson
Related Symbols: Bears
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

“Now here’s the plan […] We hike and camp like mountain men.”

Related Characters: Stephen Katz (speaker), Bill Bryson
Page Number: 340
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

“Where you going?” asked the driver.

“Anywhere,” I said. “Anywhere but here.”

Related Characters: Bill Bryson (speaker), Stephen Katz
Page Number: 402
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire A Walk in the Woods LitChart as a printable PDF.
A Walk in the Woods PDF

Stephen Katz Character Timeline in A Walk in the Woods

The timeline below shows where the character Stephen Katz appears in A Walk in the Woods. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...invites lots of people to join him on his trip. Only one person responds: Stephen Katz, an old friend he hasn’t seen for years.  Bryson is thrilled: he won’t have to... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz catch up over the phone and make plans to meet the next week. Bryson forgets... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
A week later, Katz arrives. Bryson tries to remember the last time they saw each other; he recalls that... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz stop by Dunkin Donuts on the way home; Katz scarfs down five donuts and goes... (full context)
Chapter 3
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...the Trail are often rerouted to make way for construction and logging. When Bryson and Katz arrive in Georgia, they don’t know exactly how to get onto the Trail. They pay... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Wisson tells Bryson and Katz about a man he drove to Springer Mountain who called at the first payphone after... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz arrive at a comfortable lodge and agree to begin hiking in the morning. Bryson wakes... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz hike up a steep incline into dense woods. It’s sunny, but everything is brown and... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
At first, Bryson waits for Katz to catch up as they hike—but Katz is painfully slow, and stopping every few steps... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
...summit, there’s a notebook where hikers write encouraging notes. Bryson waits about 45 minutes for Katz before going to look for him. He walks downhill—through miles of Trail that he’ll have... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Bryson wakes up to find that his water bottle has frozen solid. Katz is moving around sheepishly outside, feeling bad for the way he acted yesterday. He makes... (full context)
Chapter 4
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...Thoreau, who extolled the values of nature, found the Appalachians savage and terrifying. Bryson and Katz are hiking through the Chattahoochee Forest. When the first Europeans arrived in the Americas, the... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...a railroad man named Henry C. Bagley all but leveled the forest that Bryson and Katz are hiking through for timber. By 1920, foresters in the South were logging 15.4 billion... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz fall into a simple routine: they wake at first light, make coffee, pack up their... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
...provide Bryson with a profound feeling of solitude. Bryson leaves markers on the route for Katz and occasionally hikes back to find him. They sort of look out for each other,... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
On their fourth night, Bryson and Katz befriend a woman named Mary Ellen from Florida who talks incessantly. She monologues about how... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson, Katz, and Mary Ellen hike laboriously over Blood Mountain (which is 4,461 feet high) and head... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz chat with Justin and Peggy, the Walasi-Yi Inn’s owners. Peggy is very encouraging and often... (full context)
Chapter 5
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Two days later, Mary Ellen is still tagging along with Bryson and Katz, asking annoying, irrelevant questions about their star signs and dreams. They’ve hiked 22 miles in... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz reach Highway 76 and try to hitch a ride to the nearest town. The cars... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
 Darren and Donna drop Bryson and Katz off at the motel in Haiawassee and drive away, swerving at breakneck speed. Bryson and... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...explains that she’s mute, makes her let go of Bryson’s hands, and shows Bryson and Katz to their rooms. Bryson’s dilapidated room is covered in cigarette burns and stains, but it... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Unexpectedly, Katz feels bad for ditching Mary Ellen. Bryson doesn’t, reasoning that Mary Ellen went into the... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
The next morning, Bryson and Katz feast on fast food at Hardees and head back to the Trail, facing a steep... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
The man warns Bryson and Katz that six to eight inches of snowfall are due shortly, and Bryson feels instantly disheartened.... (full context)
Chapter 6
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Three days later, as Bryson and Katz approach Big Butt Mountain, it snows. At first, the snow is just a sprinkle—but before... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...guesses that perhaps they can follow the logging road to shelter, but he’s not optimistic. Katz looks up, longing for baked potatoes and Jacuzzis. They try the road and plod on... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...crude wooden structure open to the snow, but at least it’s something. When Bryson and Katz reach it, they meet a man named Jim and his teenage son named Heath. They’re... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
...today is March 21st: the first day of spring. They part ways, and Bryson and Katz wade on through the snow. Soon—and to their utter delight—they hear a jeep coming toward... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Upon entering the campground’s office, Bryson and Katz spot about 20 hikers sitting around a stove eating chili, some of whom they’ve crossed... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz spend a rough night in the crowded room to a gloomy day, feeling low about... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
...in the town’s Burger King, and he decides he needs to get out of Franklin. Katz is disappointed and tries to dissuade Bryson, but it’s no use. The duo set off,... (full context)
Chapter 7
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Katz is sullen for two days. The only time he talks to Bryson is to tell... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
One morning, Bryson is waiting for Katz to catch up when Katz emerges covered in twigs and some dried blood, swearing about... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...carry it far away, and let it loose in the backwoods—which is where Bryson and Katz are. Bryson has heard many stories about hikers getting mugged by bears on the trail.... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz reach Birch Spring Gap Shelter at dusk. The stone (rather than wood) shelters look snug... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...wet and chilled to the bone. The clothes in Bryson’s pack are also wet, and Katz’s matches are too wet to light the stove. The Park Service enforces rules requiring trail... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bob launches into a monologue about the virtues of see-through bags. To Bryson’s delight, Katz interjects, wondering why a hiker wouldn’t have time to unzip a regular bag and just... (full context)
Chapter 8
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
...to play miniature golf and eat bad food near the mountains. Despite this, Bryson and Katz are thrilled to arrive. They check into a motel and head to an overpriced burger... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
...Dolly Parton’s theme park and 200 outlet stores. Meanwhile, in 1996—the year of Bryson and Katz’s hike—the Appalachian Trail is 59 years old. Few highways have lasted that long. (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
...Bryson realizes that so far, they’ve only covered the first two inches. Both Bryson and Katz are stunned. They sit in silence thinking about their grueling days and weary evenings. It’s... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
...when none of the drivers know how much that will cost. He grows irate as Katz warns him that his attitude won’t help them get a cab. Eventually, one cab driver... (full context)
Chapter 9
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...why people feel compelled to hike the Trail if the experience isn’t pleasant. Bryson and Katz head to Virginia, passing back into urban life—with endless strip malls full of Wal-Marts, Kmarts,... (full context)
Chapter 10
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...such resilience, trees have been dying at an alarming rate. The forest that Bryson and Katz walk through is nothing like the forest of their ancestors—but at least it's a forest.... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
After a week of walking, Bryson and Katz meet a section-hiker who’s been hiking the Trail piecemeal for 25 years. For two weeks... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz hike about 15 miles a day, and Bryson enjoys feeling trimmer and fitter—his belly all... (full context)
Chapter 11
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Every 20 minutes on the Trail, Bryson and Katz walk more than the average American walks in a week. Bryson thinks it’s odd that... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
...finally gets to Kmart, there’s no insect repellant. Feeling frustrated, he scrambles back to town. Katz, meanwhile, is clean, showered, and relaxing on a chair. Katz teases Bryson for looking like... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson goes out to eat by himself while Katz is on his date. It feels odd to eat with Katz around. Suddenly, Katz turns... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz take a cab to Shenandoah National Park for their last stretch of hiking before a... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz don’t see anything too exotic, but they enjoy seeing signs of spring. Bryson even sees... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...a stick at the animal and yells at it to leave but it doesn’t move. Katz just makes fun of Bryson. Bryson moves his tent next to Katz and throws a... (full context)
Chapter 12
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
In the morning, Katz is surprisingly nice—until he cracks a joke about carrying toenail clippers just in case another... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson insists on sleeping in shelters following the animal encounter, though Katz thinks that Bryson is being ridiculous. Three nights later, they run into a group of... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...is the fact that it’s easy to get cheeseburgers and cola throughout the park. Bryson, Katz, and Connolly (one of the hikers they’ve met) arrive at one spot where there’s a... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
The next day, Bryson realizes that he’s hiked quite far ahead of Katz and Connolly, so he stops to wait in a glade that feels enchanted. A month... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
On their penultimate day on this stretch of the Trail, Bryson and Katz get caught in a ferocious thunderstorm, but they calmly hike through it. Bryson’s pack gets... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Half an hour later, Katz decides they should camp in a clearing to get away from the group. He announces... (full context)
Chapter 13
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
The first part of Bryson and Katz’s hike is almost over. They’re separating for the summer and plan to reunite in August... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
...his family, who are coming to pick him up. He’s missed them desperately. They drive Katz to the airport and say a hasty goodbye. Bryson feels bad for the abrupt send-off,... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...two women could well be standing at the noticeboard looking at pictures of himself and Katz. As Bryson continues along the Trail, he befriends a park ranger named David Fox. They... (full context)
Chapter 14
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...killings took place. He’s not spooked by the murders, but he feels uneasy and misses Katz’s complaining. The woods are covered in dense, green foliage with little visibility. Bryson knows he’d... (full context)
Chapter 16
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...area now. He wants to hike as much of New England as he can before Katz rejoins him in seven weeks to tackle Maine. Three days into his hike through the... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...across Vermont with packed lunches and his car. He remembers how many times he and Katz would have killed for proper food on their hikes. He hikes through several summits, past... (full context)
Chapter 19
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Two weeks later, Katz travels to Maine to tackle the last stretch of the Trail with Bryson. Katz is... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...stove, pots, and pans. They’re going to get by on candy, raisins, and beef jerky. Katz is thrilled to lose the extra weight. The next day, Bryson’s wife drives them to... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...for the first time in four months is brutal for Bryson. It’s even harder for Katz, who ate a lot of pancakes for breakfast. He’s out of breath and moving slowly... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Bryson sets up camp near Baker Stream. He waits for Katz for a while, but Katz doesn’t turn up. Feeling a bit worried, Bryson goes looking... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Bryson puts up Katz’s tent and goes to filter some water from the pond in Baker Stream, a nearby... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson creeps off quietly to get Katz. When they return, the moose has moved upstream and is drinking water. Katz and Bryson... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...on the other side, about 80 feet away. They cross gingerly on moss-covered logs. Suddenly, Katz trips and falls into the murky water. The pack is dragging him down, and it... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Just as Katz stands up, Bryson falls in. Bryson frantically reaches up as his pack drags him down... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...far. The heat and claustrophobic foliage are stifling; no matter how much water Bryson and Katz drink, they’re always thirsty. They drink sparingly because they don’t have much water left after... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...again with his shoes on this time, which is a little easier. In the meantime, Katz makes it across over several boulders but gets stuck by a nasty patch of current.... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Dinner is a generous affair involving platters of meat, mashed potatoes, and lots of butter. Katz looks extremely happy for the first time in days. The food is amazing. Bryson meets... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
After dinner, Bryson and Katz head to the grocery store to pick up supplies for the Hundred Mile Wilderness. Katz... (full context)
Chapter 20
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
The next morning, the mood between Bryson and Katz is tense, and they barely talk. They stand in awkward silence as they wait for... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Within the first hour, Bryson and Katz approach a giant rock across the trial, about 400 feet high. They crawl up it,... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz set up camp near the first river they see, and they eat in sullen silence.... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
The next day, Bryson and Katz cross the river in silence. They soon run out of water, and it takes them... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Katz continues, saying that he’s aware he shouldn’t be drinking—he knows that he can’t just have... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...Bryson decides to hike ahead so that he can filter the water by the time Katz arrives. Cloud Pond, where Bryson’s headed, is about a quarter mile off the Trail. Bryson... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...response, but he only hears the lonely echo of his own voice. He thinks of Katz wandering, lost and without water, and he starts to get really worried. Bryson leaves his... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...now and then. Eventually, not knowing what else to do, he leaves another note for Katz and then hikes back to Cloud Pond, where there’s a shelter. It’s a beautiful shelter,... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
...migrating birds for hours, but he can’t really enjoy it because he’s so worried about Katz. Loons, the birds Bryson is watching, are disappearing because their habitats are being destroyed by... (full context)
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...empty cigarette pack pierced on a branch nearby, which Bryson recognizes as a sign from Katz. He starts to feel better, knowing that Katz is still on the Trail. Four hours... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Katz explains that he stopped to camp near water, and he’s been waiting there ever since.... (full context)
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
It turns out that Katz only found himself back on the Trail by chance, at the stream where he left... (full context)
Chapter 21
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz never make it to Katahdin. They just bounce along in the back of the pickup... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Katz, who’s covered in blood, can’t wait to shower, and he accidentally calls the old lady... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Bryson and Katz dine in town. Katz asks Bryson if he feels bad for giving up. Bryson pauses,... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Back at the gas station, Katz decides to get them some cream soda to celebrate the end of their trip. Bryson... (full context)
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
Katz returns to Iowa. He calls sometimes, saying one day he’ll come back out and tackle... (full context)
Isolation, Companionship, and Kindness Theme Icon
Wilderness vs. Urban Sprawl Theme Icon
Fear, Danger, and Human Destruction Theme Icon
Deprivation, Comfort, and Gratitude Theme Icon
...respects the forest and discovered an America that he knew little about. He decides that Katz was right and that he doesn’t care what anybody else thinks—he hiked the Appalachian Trail. (full context)