As travel books go, Grizzly Bears and Razor Clams is small and unimpressive. But after thinking about it and actually reading it, the accomplishment this author describes is quite a feat. Not many people have walked the length of the new, rough, and unfinished Pacific Northwest Trail (PNT) which tracks along the US/Canada border through rugged country. The trail includes miles in Glacier National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Olympic National Park as well as seven national forests. Townsend is an experienced long distance hiker and climber, having summitted Scottish peaks at home as well as walking the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Coast Trail. The PNT seemed the logical trail to try next. Townsend prepared well, planned the trip, overplanned the trip, and made arrangements for times when the trail might (as it did) disappear.
Walking alone in grizzly country on remote trails that appear and disappear might seem crazy to some, but to the wilderness lover it has an allure like nothing else. Townsend's photos capture the beauty of the trail and the account registers his discomfort when returning to town and sleeping in a real bed. While the discomfort might have been exacerbated by culture shock, many wilderness lovers will recognize the state of mind Townsend describes.
This quick read is divided into trail sections that read in easily managed chapters, with some nice appendices at the end which list accessories, statistics, equipment and more. I've no idea why razor clams are in the title--they appear nowhere in the book. I recommend the book to anyone heading to the Northwest for hiking and/or camping.~ Tessa 3 out of 5 stars
PS Yes, I confess that, as he got closer to Forks, I thought often of the Twilight series.