Robert Moor’s ‘On Trails: An Exploration’ is not just a book about trails. It is a profound exploration of the paths that humans and other species have forged through the wilderness over millennia. Moor, an award-winning essayist and journalist, spent seven years traversing the globe, from the Appalachian Trail in Maine to the migration routes of elephants in Africa, to understand the significance of trails in shaping our world. This article will delve into the untamed beauty of Maine’s hiking trails as unveiled through Moor’s captivating narrative.

Understanding ‘On Trails: An Exploration’

‘On Trails: An Exploration’ is a unique blend of travelogue, philosophical musing, and scientific investigation. Moor’s journey begins on the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200-mile footpath stretching from Georgia to Maine. As he hikes through the rugged terrain, he ponders the origins and purpose of trails. He explores how trails help us understand the world, from the microscopic trails left by cells to the digital trails we leave in cyberspace.

Maine’s Untamed Beauty through Moor’s Eyes

One of the highlights of Moor’s journey is his exploration of Maine’s wilderness. The state’s diverse landscape, from its rocky coastline to its dense forests and towering mountains, offers a wealth of hiking opportunities. Moor’s vivid descriptions of Maine’s natural beauty, its flora and fauna, and the challenges and rewards of hiking its trails are a testament to his deep connection with nature.

The Appalachian Trail in Maine

The Appalachian Trail in Maine, known for its rugged terrain and stunning vistas, is considered one of the most challenging sections of the trail. Moor’s account of his journey through this untamed wilderness is both inspiring and enlightening. He describes the physical and mental challenges of hiking the trail, the camaraderie among hikers, and the profound sense of peace and fulfillment that comes from being immersed in nature.

The Hundred-Mile Wilderness

One of the most remote and challenging sections of the Appalachian Trail is the Hundred-Mile Wilderness in Maine. Moor’s description of this pristine wilderness, with its dense forests, crystal-clear lakes, and abundant wildlife, is a powerful reminder of the importance of preserving our natural heritage.

Insights Gleaned from ‘On Trails: An Exploration’

‘On Trails: An Exploration’ is more than a travelogue. It is a thought-provoking exploration of the concept of trails and their role in shaping our world. Moor’s insights into the nature of trails, their origins, and their significance in human history and culture are both enlightening and inspiring.

The Origin and Evolution of Trails

Moor delves into the origins of trails, from the first trails forged by ancient organisms to the complex network of trails that crisscross our planet today. He explores how trails have evolved over time, shaped by the needs and behaviors of the species that use them.

The Significance of Trails

Moor also explores the significance of trails in human history and culture. He discusses how trails have facilitated exploration, migration, and trade, shaped our understanding of the world, and influenced our social and cultural development.


‘On Trails: An Exploration’ is a captivating journey through the world of trails. Robert Moor’s exploration of Maine’s untamed wilderness is a testament to the state’s natural beauty and the enriching experience of hiking its trails. His insights into the nature and significance of trails offer a fresh perspective on our relationship with the natural world. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a nature lover, this book is a must-read.

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