A strikingly original debut from a tremendous new talent, Robert Moor explores how trails help us understand the world, from the biological phenomenon of how ant trails are formed to hiking paths that span continents and oceans, from migration routes to the Internet.
In 2009, while thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, Robert Moor began to wonder about the paths that lie beneath our feet: 'How do they form? Why do some improve over time while others devolve? What makes us follow or strike off on our own?'.
Over the course of the next seven years, Moor travelled the globe, exploring trails of all kinds, from the miniscule to the massive. He learned the tricks of master trail-builders, hunted down long-lost Cherokee trails, and traced the origins of our road networks and the Internet. In each chapter, Moor interweaves his adventures with findings from science, history, philosophy, and nature writing.
This deep search for meaning introduces the reader to experts who work with trails of all kind, outrageous anecdotes from his own experiences and spectacular descriptions of landscapes and animal behavior. On Trails gives an eye-opening tour, leaving us with a much richer, prismatic take on what we constantly take for granted: how we get where we're going.
Robert Moor has written for the New Yorker, Harper's, n+1, New York, and GQ, among other publications. A recipient of the Middlebury Fellowship in Environmental Journalism, he has won multiple awards for his nonfiction writing. He lives in Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia. On Trails is his first book.