A Walk in the Woods Questions and Answers
by Bill Bryson

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What does mood does this passage create?  “At times, you become almost certain that you slabbed this hillside three days ago, crossed this stream yesterday, clambered over this fallen tree at least twice today already.” This is from "A walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson.

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A Walk in the Woods is the story of Bryson and his companion hiking the Appalachian Trail, an undertaking of roughly 2,100 miles in length. Most hikers who were in good physical condition would be interested in making progress along a trail of this distance, knowing that they were moving away from the starting point and coming closer to the ending point of the trail.

In your quote, however, Bryson is feeling mystified and perhaps frustrated. Rather than moving from one point on to another, he is describing the feeling of walking in circles, retracing hillsides and streams and fallen trees that have already been encountered and conquered and that should now be in the distance. The beauty of nature and the trail is lost amidst the exasperation of not seeing progress along the trail being made.

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