Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ron Hikes Trail of Tears... and Then Writes a Book!

I am not QUITE finished reading Ron Cooper's book, It's My Trail, Too. But I wrote a review anyway.  I'll probably finish reading it tonight. You can read more about his adventures on his Facebook page as well.  His book is available on Amazon-- you should buy it!  835 miles of awesomeness... and a surprising number of dogs.

It's My Trail, Too: A Comanche Indian's Journey on the Cherokee Trail of TearsIt's My Trail, Too: A Comanche Indian's Journey on the Cherokee Trail of Tears by Ronald R. Cooper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't give this book any less than five stars because... well... the author is married to one of my oldest friends and is also a dear friend to me. 

Aside from that, I still recommend this book for anyone interested in long-distance backpacking, American history or the Trail of Tears itself. 

Cooper does a fantastic job interweaving the personal challenges and frustrations of a long-distance hike with his aspirations for the hike, his philosophical ponderings, his spiritual reflections, and an impressive knowledge of American history and the history of the Trail.  I am almost finished reading, and the thing that strikes me most about this book is how many open-ended questions he uncovers about the trail, and how many specific places he leaves in his wake that have the potential to be researched and validated as newly recognized portions of the TOT or witness buildings. Although I am not an expert on the TOT, it seems to me that he has made important contributions to the historical preservation of the Trail.  I am also leaving with a much more in-depth understanding of the logistics of his undertaking-- nobody had this all mapped out and established before he started.  It's much different than hiking many of the established trail systems that go long distances-- he really did re-pave the way for others who would want to attempt what he did. Wouldn't it be cool if there were enough interest in this walk, and if some of the local/ state TOT societies created informal hostels or small areas of private or public land designated for hikers on the trail who wanted a place to camp? 

I am also incredibly impressed at the commitment Kristal made to these logistics and to enhancing Ron's ability to connect with others along the way.  I can only imagine all of the driving, e-mails, phone calls, weather forecasts, RV-related tasks, etc. involved.  She is a true life's companion to help Ron achieve his dream.

One minor technical detail:  I was distracted by the sheer volume of exclamation points throughout the book.  However, I did find Ron's upbeat attitude, positivity and sense of humor endearing, and the exclamation points are only a surface level expression of that.  So, you go, Ron!!!!!!

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  1. I think that people would likely be very receptive to the idea of taking that walk, and helping others do the same. I live close to The Oregon Trail. There are a lot of Lewis & Clark historical sites, museums and even festivals. People here follow that path, or pieces of it a lot. There's even Lewis and Clark Days here and the Nez Perce [Nimipuu?] tribe members come teach how to build canoes like they used and there are many activities for kids of all ages.
    If I lived closer, I would Love to be involved with some of those things or even to have a chance to walk that path and relive someone's history. A chance to understand truly what life was like for these people .. priceless. What I wouldn't give.

  2. Thank you for all of the compliments! I agree with the cricism about the exclamation points, but he was trying to write the way the voices in his head were speaking, so they seemed necessary. :) Another technical tidbit... can you believe that he doesn't TYPE, so that whole thing was accomplished by the old hunt-and-peck method? I gotta give him props for that!

    1. That is crazy! He does deserve props for that. I always say that Mrs. Webb's typing class was the most useful single class I ever took, despite her whacking us on the heads with her class ring.

    2. Of course... we asked for it. (The ring-whacking.)


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