Almost Somewhere.

Author:Schingler, Michelle
Position:Book review

Suzanne Roberts (author); ALMOST SOMEWHERE; University of Nebraska Press (Nonfiction: Autobiography & Memoir) 19.95 ISBN: 9780803240124

Byline: Michelle Schingler

A beguiling adventure that centers on sisterhood, endurance, and the struggle to be truly present. At twenty-two and fresh out of college, Suzanne Roberts decided that undertaking a 211-mile trek through California's Sierra Nevadas seemed a "fine adventure" -- or, at the very least, a satisfactory distraction from the more daunting task of navigating adulthood. She and two friends began a month-long backpacking trip along the John Muir trail -- a trek that would put them over Mt. Whitney and wind them gradually toward Yosemite.

The three women at the center of the book -- Erika, a seasoned outdoorswoman; Dionne, a backpacking virgin attempting recovery from an eating disorder; and athletic, albeit romantic, Suzanne -- form an outwardly incongruent bunch. The resultant misadventures of their trip -- overstuffed packs, inadequate clothing, food shortages, and stress injuries -- may not bespeak great preparedness, yet readers will be unable to begrudge them respect. Encounters with troublesome wildlife, irksome trailmates, and unpleasant weather are all met with humor and dexterous improvisation. Roberts's narrative is characterized by her refusal to recall blunders with regret. In fact, the decisions that trail experts would most bemoan -- carrying a small library of naturalist books over a mountain, hiking in boxers through sleet, simply breaking...

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