May 8, 2008

Following in Colin Fletcher's footsteps

Andreas Cohrs walks California on trek from Mexico to Oregon

Mammoth Times

In March 1958 the American outdoor icon Colin Fletcher set off to walk through California, from the Mexican boder to Oregon. While his initial motive was just getting to know the country he moved to a year earlier, his book about this voyage made him the father of modern backpacking for his lyrical and practical writings on hiking and experiencing our nature.

He inspired generations to journey into the wilderness. The eventually published Thousand Mile Summer documents Fletcher's initiation into the search for a better world. Fletcher became a struggler for environmental orientation and dedication. With his commitment he is now lining up with respectable environmentalists such as John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, or Joseph Le Conte, lyrically with great American authors like Cormack McCarthy and J.D. Salinger.

The man who walked California and the Grand Canyon, the author of the outdoor bible The Complete Walker, got hit by an SUV, that logical contrary concept to walking. The accident forced the walker to change his life and eventually caused his death.

Fortunately men and women like Fletcher supported the idea of not losing touch with our base mother nature, when modern concepts and living style are luring us away from her. Despite an increasing ubiquity of comfort and decadency Cohrs thinks we owe it to people like Fletcher that environmentally-oriented thinking has been catching on and is definitely gaining ground.

In March 2008 entrepreneur and outdoor adventurer Andreas Cohrs is celebrating a 50th anniversary of what became the Thousand-Mile Summer and follow in Fletcher's footsteps, from the Mexican border to Oregon, through desert and High Sierra. On his four-month voyage Cohrs will have a close look at the comparison of California today and Fletcher's California of the 50s.

With periodic reports from the hike he will tell about the state's hidden beauty and the affection of the people he passes. Book publication is scheduled for winter 2008. Cohrs' travel reports are telling about the normal America that is not featured by popular press, with a benign look at people and nature alongside Californian highways, paths and trails.

With his anniversary trip through California, Cohrs is calling for responsibility by telling about the beauty of the land and the people living there. "We have to protect our lands, which we need more and more and which is endangered by other causes, becoming a very instable pattern," he said. "America is still losing wildlife and wild country to an increasing degree."

- Andreas Cohrs, excerpts from his Web site