Sand crunched beneath my feet—my very hot, sweaty feet. In fact, considering I wore Keds-like sneaker, part of that heat was the burning of that sand through to said feet. Just sayin’.
While normal kids did Saturday morning things like watching cartoons, I trudged through the Superstitions (mountains in Arizona) with my dad. Snakes, scorpions, and horned toads—not to mention spiders and… lizards.
The desert’s “gators.”
Okay, so they’re nothing like alligators, but when you’re seven, hot, sweaty, and miserable, anything looks evil and vicious.
Look, I loved those times trekking through the desert with my dad. In fact, I’ve got stories coming to tell you that’ll make you laugh at me—and him. But, there was a downside to it.
I’m no nature girl.
Okay, I love nature. Trees, green, mountains, rivers, creeks—especially creeks—and the ocean.
Double especially the ocean.
Desert… trekking around in the sand? The lovely sting of cholla as it pierces my thigh from several feet (okay, an inch or so) away? Blech. Seriously. There’s a reason it’s called “jumping cactus.” You really do feel like it “jumps” over and attaches itself to you.
Look. Aside from stunning sunsets and the blissful petrichor after a thunderstorm, “nature,” in the form of the desert, just isn’t my jam.
Still, I love to read about it—experience it from the pages of a book or even a TV screen.
Safe, cool, clean.
Like this book I got. A free review copy of Gators, Guts, & Glory arrived a while back, and I finally read it.
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Why it Takes True Grit to Read This Book
Okay, so it doesn’t. It takes true grit to live it. Yep, this trail blazer’s (okay, hiker’s) memoir makes me feel lazy. Still, there was that moment, brief though it was, that I thought, “I should at least hike some small trail someday. I like hiking.”
Yeah. I’d always loved it—when I was young, had energy, and was half the person I am now. Literally. Oh, and in places like Wheeler Springs, California where lovely creeks kept me cool and refreshed and where I could ride down the mountain anytime I liked.
“Blissful” isn’t the wimp I am.
Written in an engaging, encouraging style, Gators, Guts, & Glory shares the good, the bad, and the amazing in her memoir/adventure guide of her trek up the Florida Trail—all 1,000 miles of it (or so Wikipedia claims).
I’m still reeling from that.
I think Gators, Guts, & Glory said something about 1,100 miles. Surely, that was a typo. I mean, I thought maybe the 1,000 was a typo—a stuttering zero at the end or something.
Lauralee Bliss tells tales of meeting gators—both stone and real. Poisonous trees—trees! Blisters… I mean, duh! And so much more. A book that hadn’t interested me much to begin with turned out to be a delight. I kept getting interrupted while I read it, so before I pass it on to #1grandson and then to a friend’s hiker husband, I’m going to read it one more time.
Seriously, one of the best things about the book is that you feel like you’re talking with someone you just met at a restaurant.
“Hi! How are you? What brought you here?”
“Oh, just hiking 1,000 miles through swamps and mud bogs for the fun of it…”
So she did!
And I for one am glad. Seriously, I loved the book and, to my own shock, I’m off to buy the other one she has on hiking the Appalachian Trail. I mean, come on! I go there, to the Appalachias EVERY YEAR! That means I needed to read this book of all the things I could do if I wasn’t so lazy, was half the woman I am, and didn’t live an opposite schedule from the more sane elements of humanity!
Recommended for anyone who enjoys engaging true stories, hiking, or just seeing someone face difficult odds with a smile on her face. Oh… and clean. I love that it’s squeaky clean so I can hand it over to my grandson! I’m grateful for the free review copy, and I’m thrilled to say I loved it.
Gators, Guts, and Glory
About the Book
Book: Gators, Guts, & Glory
Author: Lauralee “Blissful” Bliss
Genre: Non-Fiction, Hiking, Adventure
Release date: July 15, 2019
Wander on the wild and humorous side of adventure with long-distance hiker Lauralee Bliss (trail name Blissful), hiking the 1,100-mile Florida Trail from Big Cypress National Preserve to Gulf Islands National Seashore.
From alligators and cottonmouths to tenting among the palmettos and walking on water, from forests of cypress knees and lofty pine to the help of trail angels along the way, “Blissful” uncovers the hidden gems of glory in this National Scenic Trail with a unique journey unlike any other.
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