Monday, May 23, 2011

Halfway to Heaven: My White-Knuckled – and Knuckleheaded – Quest for the Rocky Mountain High by Mark Obmascik

Halfway to Heaven by Mark Obmascik

Fan of Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods?  Then I’ve finally found the perfect summer read for you!

Obmascik is middle-aged, out of shape, and looking for some father-son bonding opportunities when he joins his twelve-year-old son up one of the Fourteeners of Colorado and gets hooked.  He decides why not?  He can hike up all the Fourteeners of Colorado, a Fourteener being a mountain higher than 14,000 feet above sea level.  It’s doable he’s sure.  It’ll only take a year.  Heck, there are only 54 of them…

This is a tale of personal challenge and unlikely male bonding.  Obmascik’s wife refuses to allow him to partake in his mission alone, especially after he relates tale of some close calls with gravity, and he has some difficulty finding hiking partners until he tries setting up man-dates online with fellow mountain enthusiasts.  He, and as readers we, meet all sorts of people who decide to battle the altitude (and pain) for the perfect view. 

As with Bryson’s writing you learn about the dangers and the unique history of these high peaks, and he doesn’t sugarcoat the danger.  But he also shares the humorous side of his experiences.  Especially humor directed at the author’s own ineptitude and failings.  A thoroughly enjoyable read that makes you want to go out and climb a mountain…just one…and then eat a lot of junk food and sleep in a real bed.

The Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group will be discussing Halfway to Heaven on Thursday, July 14th at 1pm at the Bridgewater Library.  Read the book and join the discussion!