2010 BOOK OF THE YEAR BRONZE AWARD
And Setting Off on a Crazed
Eight-Country Trek Across the Alps.
decades of hiking some of the world’s great trails, über-adventurer
Brandon Wilson heard about the Via Alpina, paths running the length
of the Alps across eight countries. Besides offering immersion into
Alpine life and wilderness, it’d be the ultimate physical
challenge. It meant climbing and descending nearly 700,000 feet
from valley to peak—over 111 days and more than 1200
Intrigued, he imagined it was a sort-of European Appalachian Trail, only with better wine.
Enjoy these expedition photos (QuickTime Player
Confident that misery loves company, the peripatetic Everyman coaxed his desk-jockey wife Cheryl into joining him, even though that meant leaving her job, a cozy Hawaiian hideaway, and selling everything before hiking off to an uncertain future via a long-distance trek across the Alps.
Not a Walk in the Park
Join the couple as they discover the Via Alpina—one-step-at-a-time. Leaving the Adriatic Sea, the couple set out in the summer of 2009 on the ultimate hike across Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, France and Monaco, hoping to arrive at the Mediterranean Sea before the first snows arrived.
Unlike their trek across Tibet, they wouldn’t have to dodge Chinese bullets. Who knew that icefields, relentless rain, the dreaded Föhn, lethal ticks, barking marmots, and mountains of cow patties could be even more daunting?
More than Cheese & Gnomes...
Total Immersion Into Alpine Life and Adventure
Little could prepare them for the rarified beauty, serenity, wildlife and legends…
Or the daily dangers, drama, tension and moments of doubt.
However, the hilarious situations and bizarre characters they’d meet would help put peril into perspective.
The Agony of De Feet
Wilson painstakingly chronicled their wild 1,200-mile adventure while muscles were still sore and clothes were still wet. It’s all here, the triumphs and agony of de feet, captured in his witty, gritty, award-winning style.
Dare to Follow a Gonzo Dream
Join the intrepid couple as they dig deep to confront their most difficult escapade yet. Wilson’s keen eye and dry wit captures it all, the highs and lows, as they witness the Alps’ changing lifestyle and fragile landscape. Inspiring, empowering, humorous (yet slightly crazed), Over the Top & Back Again sweeps you along for an unforgettable look at the peerless Alps—and at an everyday couple who, once again, dare to follow their wildest dream.
READ AN EXCERPT
- Leaps Into Madness
- Get Lost in Slovenia
- The Best Laid Plans
- But Do Ants Have Knees?
- It’s Always the Little Things
- Out of the Forest, Not Out of the Woods
- What’s The Sound of One Man Falling?
- Beware the Föhn
- When Cows Fly
- Mr. Moustache & His Snails
- The Alpenhorn at Sunset
- Sumo Cows
- A Secret Handshake
- The Dreaded Patous!
- Flying Monkey Spiders
- Just the Tick-Talkin’
OVER THE TOP & BACK AGAIN
the first travel narrative written in English about hiking the Via Alpina from Trieste to Monaco
Listen to this new, interesting conversation between Brandon Wilson and Bob Fisher of the Philosophical Traveller as they discuss the challenges, fears and joys of hiking the Via Alpina.
Visit the official Via Alpina website for details about their route, huts, activities, forums, and Alpine culture. Nathalie Morelle of the Association says in her review of the book, "Beware of muscle pain... in the belly, from laughing too much! …Full of idealism and tenderness towards human nature. With maps, unusual photos (black and white) and hilarious cartoons to top it off, the book is devoured much quicker than it takes to do the hike!"
Read an article in Backpacking Light Magazine about this Alpine hike, with more photos by Brandon Wilson.
photos © Brandon Wilson, all rights reserved