Colin Fletcher, RIP
June 23, 2007 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Caddis did mention this within in the Obit Magazine thread a few days ago, but reading the obit for the first time in this morning's paper I felt this deserved its own FPP. He was a personal hero and inspiration to me. RIP, Colin.
posted by mosk at 9:37 AM on June 23, 2007

I just discovered him two weeks ago. RIP
posted by A189Nut at 9:58 AM on June 23, 2007

posted by gazole at 10:03 AM on June 23, 2007

Oh man. This is sad.

I've read The Complete Walker, I don't know, maybe forty times. His wit and advice stick with me every time I lift my pack to my back. He really changed the way I think about camping (tents: mostly unnecessary).

From the third edition: I'm told you can break eggs into squeeze tubes, or even doubled Ziploc bags, and halfway trust the yolks to be intact for morning fried eggs. Alternatively, buy yourself a hard plastic egg box, biovular through duodecimovular (1/2 ounce, $1.30, through 4 1/2 ounces, $2).

Duodecimovular :)

That's what his books are like. Even if you hate camping you'll find value in his approach to finding the most practical application of your resources in your environment.

On the last page there's even a note on the type: The text of this book was set in a digitized version of Garamond No. 3, a modern rendering of the type first cut in the sixteenth century by Claude Garamond (1510-1561). He was a pupil of Geoffroy Troy and is believed to have based his letters on...

posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:28 AM on June 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by Inkslinger at 11:57 AM on June 23, 2007

posted by seawallrunner at 1:04 PM on June 23, 2007

The Complete Walker is the best bang for the buck when it comes to hiking education, and inspirational to boot (yuk yuk.) He will be missed.

*Pours out a 40 of Nikwax*
posted by Opposite George at 1:10 PM on June 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I completely agree, spikelee et. al. I discovered The Thousand Mile Summer when I was 17, and I've read it every couple of years since (I'm now 44). It holds up very well, and the writing is just as evocative today as it was in 1959. He wrote with an intelligence and passion that was witty and forceful, and yet never descended into pedagoguery. And he was honest - he admitted his mistakes, and despite writing extensively about hiking and backpacking, he never claimed superhuman strength or endurance.

I am saddened by his passing, and by learning that his health had been in decline since a being the victim of a traffic accident in 2001. I hope he is at peace.

I will brew a cup of tea in his honor.

posted by mosk at 1:11 PM on June 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I was hoping somebody would post a tribute to this fine fellow. He definitely motivated an awful lot of people, including me, to hit the trail with a pack on their back. Also, his book about walking through the Grand Canyon is not to be missed.
posted by caddis at 1:19 PM on June 23, 2007

posted by sebastienbailard at 2:12 PM on June 23, 2007

Great writer. Damn shame.
posted by gottabefunky at 2:47 PM on June 23, 2007

> (tents: mostly unnecessary)

for those who don't do their hiking/camping in bug (specifically mosquito) country. But I did enjoy his advice that cutting down your toothbrush handle to save weight is taking things to a ridiculous extreme.
posted by jfuller at 3:40 PM on June 23, 2007

posted by faineant at 4:53 PM on June 23, 2007

I just read the fourth edition of The Complete Walker, this time coauthored with Chip Rawlins. Apart from being the best book there is about walking and backpacking, it's also an extremely interesting approach to literary collaboration, with each author retaining his voice in alternating passages and coauthorial responses in sequence and in footnotes. Also read River recently, an account of his walking and rafting trip down the Colorado River at the age of 69 -- and an essay about becoming an old man. I hope I remember to look up this book when I reach that age, and I hope both the world and I are still within striking distance of the vitality he describes there. RIP.
posted by gum at 5:30 PM on June 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

Remembrance from this morning's Weekend Edition Saturday, with Linda Wertheimer interviewing Chip Rawlins, who worked with Fletcher.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:31 PM on June 23, 2007

posted by theora55 at 8:12 PM on June 23, 2007

What a neat guy he was. The Man Who Walked through Time got me interested in backpacking, and the Complete Walker taught me how. So many good things in my life (including a through hike of the Appalachian Trail) came to me via those books. God bless and good night.
posted by LarryC at 8:16 PM on June 23, 2007

"The best dress for walking is nakedness."
-- Colin Fletcher, "The Complete Walker III"


posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:11 PM on June 24, 2007

Oh yes, he was the naked backpacker. When he walked through the Grand Canyon, he might as well have been the only person in it. The AT has become like a superhighway at times, but his trek through the GC was all alone. On a related note, there was some kid named Eric who wrote about walking the Pacific Crest trail alone, running into almost no one along major portions, and in fact having no real trail along major portions. These and other stories of lone adventurers, like the kid who at 18 sailed around the world alone, were so inspiring to my young teenage mind. Of course, there was also "My Side of the Mountain." One person facing nature and surviving, not conquering which is so wrong, just surviving and pushing themselves to succeed. I love that. When I feel weak and in personal crisis these stories often inspire me.
posted by caddis at 6:35 PM on June 24, 2007

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