I wrote: I don't think anyone harmed Geraldine Largay. I think she did what many of us "of a certain age" are prone to do --- let a schedule dictate our lives and rush to meet our deadline, throwing caution to the wind ---
However, the book referenced apparently strikes at the core of the "Mystic Order of the Appalachian Trail" from the brief description [depressing, something 'like this' might happen to Geraldine] and IM(not so)HO should be part of the whole of a hiker's preparation for hiking the Trail, even if it is fiction, as the author of the book clearly notes. A person - male or female - makes decisions in life based on as much Information as she or he can gather - denying a person information, even if it's a "What If" novel, could prove detrimental --- whether we're talking about Whitewater Kayaking which has drowning hazards or Rock Climbing which as falling hazards or Mountain Bike riding in places with grizzly bears and panthers or Canoeing in places where there are alligators --- few would want anyone to go on those adventures not knowing the dangers and learning how to prepare for them --- WHY is it so different when it comes to the Appalachian Trail?? WHAT IF scenarios are often used in preparation for real life, so what's so inherently 'wrong' about reading a novel with a What If story that has an unhappy ending?
An Editorial Aside:
Bill Bryson's fictional and questionable satire work, "A Walk in the Woods." gave the readers a mythical and inaccurate version of Thru Hiking the Appalachian Trail and of the Southern Appalachian Trail States and her people. It's about as accurate as the novel in question, yet it is available at bookstores in the "Hiking" or "Appalachian Trail" sections and Mr Bryson has been a speaker at a number of venues, from stores that sell hiking equipment to AT hiking clubs and events. [Some may question my dislike for the Southernphobe Mr Bryson ... in the South, we despise people who mock our disabled and elderly mothers and grandmothers as he did of Mrs. Mull's mother. If ever there was a book not to read or a person not to support with your American dollars, it is Mr Bryson.]Few are frightened out of Whitewater Kayaking, Rock Climbing, Mountain Bike Riding or Canoeing after reading stories of drownings, broken necks, maulings or other injuries or deaths In these activities --- so why the fear that one or a dozen stories which include harrowing experiences or deaths on the Appalachian Trail will deter anyone?
When I watch the made for TV movies about fictionalized real life adventures that "nearly went wrong and could have ended in death but didn't" it does not invoke fear of embarking on a similar adventure. When I read accounts of people who overcome the harrowing odds during an adventure (books about K2 come to mind), it doesn't preclude my risking my life on a similar experience. But I do learn something from those Adventure Books -- they are beneficial. And denying me knowledge of them, be they a string of facts, a woven story, or a fictionalized tale, were I to plan such a Trek, such an exciting Once in a Lifetime Adventure, would be tantamount to blind folding me and telling me to cross 8 lanes of Interstate at rush hour.
Other sports do not get the censorship given to the AT - and most hiking in general - WHY the censorship of a novel about the Appalachian Trail just because someone doesn't like the way it ends?
Another Editorial Aside:
When I responded to the remark about "Black Heart on the Appalachian Trail" I was unaware that it was JUST A NOVEL and not a factual account. It was a 'what if' tale that apparently has some very accurate descriptions of various places along the Appalachian Trail and the reader got caught up in it ... which is fine. But to try to censor others from reading it? Let's censor all the books with unhappy endings or endings which don't suit our fancy of the moment. ~~ A little sarcasm to end this post.PS ... I never have read "Lady Chatterley's Lover" ... it was censored when I was in High School. Maybe I should see if I can find it online and read it. Or maybe even buy a copy when I buy "Black Heart on the Appalachian Trail."