Study Guide

A Walk in the Woods Part 2, Chapter 19

By Bill Bryson

Part 2, Chapter 19

  • Katz is hanging out in Bryson's home in Hanover, New Hampshire.
  • In true Katz fashion, Katz suggests using a mail boy bag instead of backpack to ease their load. Needless to say, Bryson shoots this idea down before it gets off the runway.
  • The following day, Mrs. Bryson drives the boys to Maine to begin a leg of the AT called "the Hundred Mile Wilderness" (2.19.24). Wow—that sure sounds charming.
  • Although it takes most people about a week and a half to get through this area, Bryson and Katz have allotted themselves two weeks. They're going to need it, too.
  • It's tough going for both immediately: Bryson because he's used to hiking without a pack, and Katz because he hasn't been hiking period.
  • Just like last time, Katz ends up throwing away a bunch of stuff to lighten his pack. He even throws away his spare water bottle, which might end up biting him in the butt.
  • The next day isn't much better. It's hot and muggy, and the men are left utterly perplexed when their trail abruptly ends at a water bank.
  • After a few minutes, they realize that they have to "wade across" (2.19.69). Uh oh. What follows is practically a slapstick comedy scene, with Bryson and Katz slipping and sliding across the stream while a pair of young men performs the same feat with the greatest of ease.
  • They have to repeat the same process at another river the next morning. Already the pair can tell that this tiny state is going to be more brutal than the rest of them combined.
  • On the third day, they arrive at the town of Monson and shack up in a guesthouse. Katz borrows five bucks for soda while Bryson chats with the guesthouse's owners.
  • After dinner, they go to the grocery store to get supplies. To Bryson's shock, Katz ambles up with a six-pack and begs him to buy it (in case you forgot, Katz is a recovering alcoholic).
  • Suddenly, Bryson realizes that Katz had used those five bucks to buy booze, not soda. Bryson is furious and the two men get into an argument before storming out.

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