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the last englishman

The Last Englishman by Keith Foskett read by Adam Stubbs

From Audible:

Born traveller Keith Foskett had thousands of miles of thru-hiking experience when he prepared for his toughest challenge yet: a gruelling 2,640-mile hike from Mexico to Canada. In a six-month journey along America’s Pacific Crest Trail, he crossed the arid expanses of California’s deserts, the towering peaks of Oregon’s volcanic landscape, and the dense forests of Washington.
Battling phobias of bears, snakes, critters, and camping in the woods after dark, can Foskett find new ways to achieve his ultimate goal when the worst winter in years bears down on the trail?
Shortlisted for The Great Outdoors magazine Outdoor Personality of the Year and Book of the Year multiple times, veteran storyteller Keith Foskett lets you join him for a trek across the greatest long-distance hiking trail on Earth. With witty humor, astute observations, and a delightful cast of characters, you’ll discover a compelling narrative that turns the travelogue formula on its head.
The Last Englishman is an extraordinary travel memoir by an experienced long-distance hiker. If you believe there’s more to life than work, yearn for new horizons and challenges, and believe in overcoming adversity, then you’ll love Keith Foskett’s tale of exploration. 

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I was going to give this 3 stars but then the last two chapters tipped it into 4 star territory. I couldn’t help but compare it to Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods“. That is set on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and this is the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Along with the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) they form the Triple Crown of Hiking in the US.

Bryson’s story is about his personal challenge and his relationship with the trail and his walking partner Stephen Katz. This story also deals with the author’s personal challenge but also spends a lot of time on his interactions with the various other hikers on the trail. The PCT has an official launch party and there’s a specific window that most hikers walk during so there are a lot of people on the trail at the same time.

The author does a good job describing the challenges of the trail, both physical and mental, as well as the high points. He meets some interesting characters and makes friends with many of them. He does a good job giving us a good feel for their personalities.

I found the use of trail nicknames very childish and irritating. I get that it’s a tradition of the trail but I’d rather he would have mentioned the trail name and then used real names.

I think I would have enjoyed this more with a different narrator. I found his reading style and tone of voice quite pompous and it did grate at times. I understand audiobook narrators are expected to mimic voices from the story but it sounded odd in this reader’s voice.

Overall a good story well told that is saved by the last two chapters.

Header image source: fossbytes.com