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We're in the Mountains, Not Over the Hill: Tales and Tips from Seasoned Woman Backpackers [Paperback]

Susan Alcorn
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2003
Travel, adventure, women's interest! True adventures, challenging journeys, and life affirming trips. Three dozen women, in the prime of their lives, take you backpacking in the Sierra Nevada, the Rockies, the Appalachians and more. This compelling collage of stories and advice combines honesty, insight and humor with practical wisdom and proven tips to inspire women and men of all ages. Gutsy women ford ice-chilled streams, clamber up steep mountainsides, chase away hungry bears -- or await helicopter rescue. Whether scaling mountains solo or lounging with friends near a crackling campfire, they are reaping the rewards of their strenuous days and soaking in the wonders of nature. "If we can do it, so can you."

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Some of the reasons women go backpacking are easily expressed - "the vistas," "the fresh air," "feeling good," "fun and camaraderie," "solitude." Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me remember why backpacking is so vital Jan. 16 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book got me excited about the prospect of backpacking -- and I'm a fairly regular backpacker already. The stories and personal histories exposed backpacking's subtexts -- it's not all just pretty scenery and physical excercise. Perhaps backpacking's most important aspects are its tendencies to inspire inner renewal and to challenge us out of our familiar ruts, and its consistent ability (this is probably backpacking's most important dividend) to send one "back home" with the PERSPECTIVE, COMMITMENT, and COURAGE needed to effect personal change in one's "real life." I found the "oral history" style particularly engaging, with many different voices (representing all different ages) unanimously endorsing the overall message: "Backpacking is a priceless activity -- we're fortunate to be able to do it, and we're really missing out if we neglect it." I took great comfort from hearing others say that they, too, count backpacking as one of life's solid treasures -- one need not engage in it every weekend or even every year, but, like a good mother, it's always there when you most need it. Also, woven in among the stories I found many practical tips I'd never before encountered. But I liked this book best for the way it transported me back to the mountains -- and back to my self.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A lively read for both hikers and chair jockeys May 26 2003
Format:Paperback
I was curious about this book because my wife and I have done some backpacking in the Sierra. I wanted to read what the women had to say and about the personal experiences of the author.
Many books don't hold my interest. Well, this one sure did. She kept the storytelling moving right along and didn't get bogged down in too much detail. I liked the mix of seriousness and light-hearted commentary and the fact she isn't afraid to poke fun at herself. There are some good backpacking tips and information sprinkled along as well. Made for fun reading over a couple nights.
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Format:Paperback
I just finished reading the kindle version of Susan Alcorn's book 'We're in the Mountains, Not over the Hill.' Targeted for women of all ages that are interested in backcountry hiking, it offers through the voices of three dozen women, personal stories of inspiration and first hand experiences and snippets of practical guidance and tips on where to start, what to take and so on. For any woman (and man for that matter) it is an excellent book to read and great place to start if you at least interested in staying healthy and active throughout your life, participating in one of the least expensive and most accessible forms of social and physical activity available to humankind.

Susan starts the book describing her personal experience of getting into backpacking at the tender age of 48 back in 1989, when she joined the Sierra Club, and how she met and later married her current partner Ralph, himself an enthusiastic backpacker. She also introduces a number of women, some pioneers of backpacking like Irene Cline (who was until 2004, the first woman the hike the entire Appalachian Trail), Emma Gatewood and Laurie Frost. She also introduces briefly the three dozen women, really co-authors, who for much of this book, describe their personal experiences, initial challenges and rewards, and likewise dole out advice, on various topics from equipment, clothing, footwear to safety, body care and health, and on bears and other wild animals.

Susan concludes the book with some suggested trails in America to try and some associations to join. She even offers up her own personal packing list of gear and equipment.

It is not a comprehensive guide to backpacking in America. It does not cover all the finite details of backcountry hiking in America.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Made me remember why backpacking is so vital Jan. 16 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book got me excited about the prospect of backpacking -- and I'm a fairly regular backpacker already. The stories and personal histories exposed backpacking's subtexts -- it's not all just pretty scenery and physical excercise. Perhaps backpacking's most important aspects are its tendencies to inspire inner renewal and to challenge us out of our familiar ruts, and its consistent ability (this is probably backpacking's most important dividend) to send one "back home" with the PERSPECTIVE, COMMITMENT, and COURAGE needed to effect personal change in one's "real life." I found the "oral history" style particularly engaging, with many different voices (representing all different ages) unanimously endorsing the overall message: "Backpacking is a priceless activity -- we're fortunate to be able to do it, and we're really missing out if we neglect it." I took great comfort from hearing others say that they, too, count backpacking as one of life's solid treasures -- one need not engage in it every weekend or even every year, but, like a good mother, it's always there when you most need it. Also, woven in among the stories I found many practical tips I'd never before encountered. But I liked this book best for the way it transported me back to the mountains -- and back to my self.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A lively read for both hikers and chair jockeys May 26 2003
By Brian T. Bender - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I was curious about this book because my wife and I have done some backpacking in the Sierra. I wanted to read what the women had to say and about the personal experiences of the author.
Many books don't hold my interest. Well, this one sure did. She kept the storytelling moving right along and didn't get bogged down in too much detail. I liked the mix of seriousness and light-hearted commentary and the fact she isn't afraid to poke fun at herself. There are some good backpacking tips and information sprinkled along as well. Made for fun reading over a couple nights.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An EveryWoman's guide to wilderness travel March 18 2006
By Amy Racina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Debunking the myth that only the young and fearless and male can enjoy backcountry travel, Susan Alcorn's thoughtful book is a practical and anecdotal read for any woman who ever doubted her ability to engage in the sport of backpacking. An EveryWoman's guide to wilderness travel, this compassionate volume takes us through the trials, tribulations, and the triumphs of some three dozen backpackers, ranging from 40 to 74 years in age, and all, incidentially, women.

Some are groundbreakers in their own right, and others are just ordinary women who turned to the mountains in search of adventure, spiritual awakening, physical empowerment, or the simple peace offered up by the wilderness experience. Susan's book "We're in the Mountains, Not Over the Hill" takes the mystique out of the sport of backpacking, and makes it understandable and accessible to any woman, anywhere, of any age.

Thanks Susan!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and inspiring July 9 2005
By Melanie Clark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I loved this book. So realistic and funny, with much helpful information about every possible subject for those women (as well as men) who would like to begin backpacking later in life but aren't too sure they could survive it. We are treated to many illuminating anecdotes told by the 32 women interviewed for the book. And the author shares herself generously with us, admitting to tears of exhaustion or frustration, irrational (as well as some highly rational) fears about bears and other hazards, sore knees, long days and occasional unabashed whining. I enjoy her honesty, and most readers will find it reassuring that she has the normal range of emotions and still retains her enthusiasm for the sport. I also enjoy the glimpses into her relationship with her husband Ralph, her stalwart and unflappable companion in adventure. All in all, a very pleasurable and informative book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book! July 11 2005
By Tim Hauserman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a regular backpacker who is writing a book on backpacking with children and was pleased to see that most of the joys and concerns that a 10 year old has on her first backpacking trip are the same as a 65 year old women has on her tenth trip. The book is composed of the comments and suggestions of several dozen women backpackers of different ages and experiences. Although loaded with great tips and ideas, it is the stories of these women overcoming adversity and their fears to reach happiness in the woods that inspired me the most. It is often funny, sometimes sad, but mostly encouraging. Now if I can just convince my wife who does not backpack to read it perhaps she will hit the trail with me!
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