Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review of Fast, Light and Free by Matt Kirk

I was honored that Matt sent me a copy of his book to read last fall after I returned from my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Not only did it give me insight into the man whose record I had chased for nearly two months, but it also was a way to compare and contrast my own experiences with someone who had done something so similar to me.

I've read Jennifer Pharr-Davis' book Called Again, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it (review to come!) there remained a disconnect due to the different approaches (supported/self-supported). Fast, Light and Free was the first account I've read of someone doing an FKT on a long trail in the same manner as me and I could identify so completely with it.

Matt's writing speaks not just to the logistics and mileage of his journey, but also the emotional and spiritual levels of it. I found myself resonating often with his observations. I also found myself completely in awe of his minimal gear set up and minuscule pack! I felt a bit like a sherpa looking at my photos alongside his.

One other interesting parallel is that he set the (now previous) self-supported FKT on the Appalachian Trail the same day I set the self-supported FKT on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013. I couldn't help but think of where I was in my own journey that year as I read his daily account as well as compare it to my own hike of the AT last summer. I felt this incredible intermingling of journey throughout the story.

While others won't be able to experience that level of connection while reading it is still very enjoyable. I recommend it to anyone who wants a peek into the world of self-supported FKT's. My only caveat is that his many flashbacks can get confusing sometimes so I sometimes found myself looking back to see when and where he was referencing. Overall this is minor and doesn't really detract from the quality of the read.

You can buy your copy on Amazon.

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