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Over the Top & Back Again: Hiking X the Alps

Brandon Wilson

After decades of exploring some of the world’s greatest trails, Brandon Wilson was excited to hear about the Via Alpina, new paths running through eight countries on the backbone of the Alps. He imagined it as a European Appalachian Trail – with better food and wine. Besides promising immersion into Alpine life, it’d be the ultimate adventure. It meant climbing 1,000 meters from valley to mountain hut each day – 1,900 kilometers – for months. Faster than you can say “schnitzel,” he coaxed his desk-jockey wife into joining the madness.

It was an expedition of highs and lows. The couple trekked over mountain terrains in extreme conditions; from freezing temperatures atop Alpine passes to face Föhn winds, hail, ice fields, snow and over 40 days of rain – and this was summer. Unplanned injuries were coupled with the daily challenge of hiking 20 kilometers, a virtual marathon, knowing it meant climbing yet another formidable mountain again tomorrow. In fact, they ascended and descended 211,000 meters – in just 3 1/2 months. Who knew ticks and cow patties could prove more dangerous?

Still it was far from all pain and peril as they hiked in the shadows of Mt. Blanc, the Eiger, Mt. Triglav and Dolomites. Little compared with the rarefied beauty, serenity, wildlife, flora, legends, cuisine and eccentric folks they’d encounter.

It’s all here, the triumphs and agony of de feet, captured in Wilson’s witty, gritty style. OVER THE TOP & BACK AGAIN sweeps you along for an inspiring, slightly crazed look at the peerless Alps—and at an everyday mid-life couple who dare to follow their most gonzo dream.
This is the first book published in English chronicling a Via Alpina thru-hike from Trieste to Monaco. With 53 photos and maps by the author, plus illustrations by Ken Plumb.

ISBN : 9780977053636

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