“This is surely John Mitchell’s best book, and he is one of the most intriguing, original nature writers alive. It’s a jaunt through history and ecology, a spirited personal memoir, a saunter in Thoreau’s richly diverse sense of the word. Top-notch.”
Walking Towards Walden:
A Pilgrimage in Search of Place
Perseus Books, 1985
In this offbeat pilgrimage, Mitchell and two world-traveling friends leave Scratch Flat on foot and set out to see if they can undertake a fifteen mile pilgrimage to Thoreau’s Concord by bushwhacking through the remnants of undeveloped lands of suburbia, trespassing most of the way. In the process, Mitchell explores the deep seated human concept of the idea of place, or what the Spanish call querencia. This is an exploration not only of landscape, but also the singular forces of certain places that draw pilgrims to sacred sites, and artists and writers to regions such as Tuscany and Provence, and even Concord, Massachusetts.