An AJ Reading: Colin Fletcher, Historical Badass, Father of Backpacking

In this week’s podcast, editor-in-chief Stephen Casimiro reads one of our fave Historical Badass columns about one of our fave badasses, Colin Fletcher, a writer and hiker who helped popularize the very concept of throwing a few days’ worth of kit in a backpack and camping wherever your feet take you. Written by Robert Wehrman, who wrote a biography of Fletcher called Walking Man, it’s a terrific intro to Fletcher. Here’s a little taste:

Fletcher’s timing was perfect, for both books were released in 1968–a time when young people were rallying against the Vietnam War, racism, and gender inequity; a time when they began questioning the ethics and morality of their elders and sought alternate lifestyles; it was a time when environmental concerns began to surface. Spurred on by the times and Fletcher’s books, along with others by such authors as Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, Rachel Carson, Loren Eisley, and others, many forsook the world of money-thrust and man-crud and began backpacking into wild places. His work was a major reason for this back-to-nature movement. He was the one who showed the way. The multitudes followed his shadow. He was to backpacking what Walter Cronkite was to reporting or what Leonard Bernstein was to music; when Colin Fletcher had something to say, people listened.

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