Readers Respond to Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color


Click here to see reviews published on Amazon


The comments below have been conveyed via e-mail, Facebook messages, or forum posts


C, Male, VA - June 13, 2014 - I just wanted to say that I have finished the book and recommend it to anyone thinking about hiking the Colorado Trail. There aren't very many books covering the Colorado Trail and it was good to read one so close to my thru hike. I found the balance between personal anecdotes and the description of the trail to be good, and there is always a balance to be struck in that regard. Every thru hike is obviously going to be different and it is very interesting to see how others experienced the trail but it is also great to get some information regarding highlights, camp sites, water sources, etc. I frequently found myself referring to my CT data book as I read and noting areas where I may want to spend some time or possibly camp. I'm planning to loan the book to family members who may find it interesting or reassuring to read while I'm on the trail. Along with some maps and my SPOT check ins, that should provide a better sense of where I am at any given time.One feature that could have added a lot to the book would be color photos, and maybe more photos in general, but I'm sure that would be a very expensive proposition and increase the cost of book quite a bit. Actually, I was going to suggest that some photos on the web site would be a good idea but I just notice that a photo gallery has already been added.

A, Male, KY - June 17, 2014 - [My wife] and I truly enjoyed your presentation last Thursday. I just finished reading your book, which I also enjoyed tremendously. I am not a hiker myself, and my only experience as such was in the Grand Canyon in 2012. Even though my experience as a hiker is very limited and can't compare to yours by any measure, even so I could identify with you on many occasions when you tell as about all the experiences you had on the Colorado Trail, from the most exhilarating to the most frustrating and everything in between. What you and Northern Harrier accomplished was truly remarkable and breathtaking (pun intended), and reading through your lively narration I can imagine somehow what it must be hiking those distances and in so many days. You convey vividly what it is hiking on the Rockies and, being a professor of literature myself, I can tell you that your narration is excellent. Congratulations to both of you!


S, Female, VA - June 23, 2014 - Bill, I finished your new book this weekend when I was up in Gettysburg. It was wonderful! Well written, easy to follow, humor and appreciation for the beauty of our natural world. Thank you so very much and Congratulations on all the wonderful hiking and backpacking you have finished thus far.


D, Male, PA - June 29, 2014 - Bill, please enter me into the exclusive club of readers who have read your book from cover to cover, including appendices. I felt the miles dragging by; all 482 of them. I also appreciated the special times that might be difficult to explain to others, like the cold mornings with frozen fingers packing wet gear or the fields of alpine flowers or the subtle shades of color at sunset (not always gray).You might consider counseling for your fear of PUDs and PEEs. How about a walking meditation or a sacred chant to get you through. But then again, if you weren't excessively worrying about those little bumps in the trail, you wouldn't be you, would you.I don't know if I'm up for such a hike. I liked hearing about it. You write well. Since I have done similar hikes, to a degree, I could easily follow along in the adventure, the way a book allows you to drift off in your own personal daydream while a movie does not. Who were you thinking of to play you two in the movie version? Try to talk to Redford when you are out in Colorado again. Have your people contact his people. He just did the long solo sailing movie that is somewhat analogous to a long hike through the mountains.Thanks for taking the time to write it all down.


M, Male, VA -  July 13, 2014 - Nothing less than exceptional. Furthermore, it was a pleasure to meet you in person.


J, Male, VA - July 19, 2014 - Having read the book I will say it is well written, and is a must read for those aspiring to hike all /or parts of the Colorado Trail.The book is entertaining and is chock'-full of information/advice on undertaking the highs and lows,(both literally & figuratively)of such a diverse trail.If you enjoy reading trail journals of hikers amid their long distance journeys then you will unequivocally be captivated as a reader.Using baseball jargon, we fans of the game,(Bill is an avid one) will use the phrase, " hit a homerun " or "went yard " referring to a smashing success of something accomplished.Having said that,...you may then circle the bases Bill.


J, Male, TN - July 22, 2014 - LOVED YOUR BOOK!makes me wanna had out to CO & start hikin'!but I have a few hundred to do on the A.T. still hikin' the A.T. on the "20-year-plan"!hahahahaha


J, Female, VA- July 23, 2014 - Just wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your book.  I really couldn't put it down and that surprised me.  You did an excellent job of taking the reader thru each segment of the trail and that really made it most interesting.  I'm going to pass it on to my son who likes to do day trips.  Hope you are thinking about your next book!


M, Male, VA - July 25, 2014 - Bill – I wanted to share with you how much I enjoyed reading your great book.  It brought back so many fond memories of the years [my wife] and I lived in Colorado and hiked in the Rockies.  I’m surprised you only lost 25 pounds given your daily huge calorie burn and fairly modest meals J  You really did a great job of capturing the essence of being in the beauty of Mother Nature and the kindred spirits of fellow outdoor hikers and bikers.  I hope you keep having great success selling the book out in Colorado.


B, Female, VA - July 28, 2014 - Hey Cookerhiker, I know you are busy traveling and such. I just wanted to let you know I finished your book this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I felt like I was backpacking the CT with you and Northern Harrier. I loved the descriptive words and imagery! I laughed at the cows in the meadows. I can't imagine hiking next to some cows. You found Lost Creek, but not Lost Trail? Haha. Did you ever see a Big Horned Sheep? Glad y'all are still friends . very well written book.


D, Female, GA - August 9, 2014 ...awesome, cooker!.....I like your book because it's the best of both worlds : story and good info! .....kinda like sittin' around a campfire chatting about the "next hike"..... Good luck with even MORE sales!


B, Male, IL - August 13, 2014 - ... Finally wrapped up reading- A solid book and worth a read for: Anyone thinking of doing the CT; Anyone sick of reading trail journals from 22 year old's' Any of you Boomers wondering if Long Distance hiking is possible or worth it. (You don't have to go 2200 miles to Thru) Most importantly, his name is Bill. Bryson, Mason, Walker, and many others. If you want to write an outdoors book, having the name Bill is pretty important. And hey WB's- the kindle version is available, working, and does indeed have good color photos. Just as importantly; if you were looking to pay it forward, backward, or just help a fellow hiker out with an off trail effort- skip that $5 footlong today and pick up a copy for ONLY $6. You didn't really want another cold cut combo today anyway, did you? And if you really want to help out- post a review on amazon- even if you hate the book simply reviewing it helps an author out tremendously.


A, Female, MD - August 15, 2014 Your book was wonderful! I felt like I was with you every step of the way.


S, Male, AR - September 7, 2014 - I just wanted to drop a note to say that I enjoyed your book... Thanks again for the good read.


L, Male, VA - October 1, 2014 - I also admired this book, and would recommend it to other hikers.  


T, Male, VA - October 12, 2014 - Hey Bill Just finished your book while lounging beside a resort pool in Key West....the irony was not lost on me! I enjoyed the read...felt like I was there without the sore feet with blisters. I enjoyed your writing style and wouldn't offer much in the way of change with the possible exception of adding more of your personal story

L, Female, NY - October 18, 2014 - [My husband] and I are reading your book and enjoying it.  Getting us excited to hike that trail.  Needed a little inspiration to get the mind going in that direction!

E, Male, CO  - November 10, 2014 - Loved the book!  Makes me want to "hit the Trail" next summer.  Well done!  Your book has inspired me to spend a some time next year as a "Trail Angel”...

L, Male, CT - November 12, 2014 - Thanks, finally finished your book. Very enjoyable. Always sad when a walk book finishes! Can't wait for your next one.....

R. Male, MA - November 12. 2014 - I enjoyed the book, Bill. One of these days I'll get off my fat butt and post a review..

J, Male, WA - November 19, 2014 - Believe or not your book was the first book I finished reading, since I retired.  I hope it was a financial success as much a a literacy success.  I really enjoyed reading it.


E, Male, CO - December 11, 2014Just finished reading your book! Awesome! I finished the trail in 2005.


D, Male, CO - December 11, 2014 - I just finished reading your Shades of Gray book. It brought back a *lot* of wonderful memories. Thanks for writing this book


S, Male, KY - December 26, 2014 - Bill, Just finished reading your book. I really enjoyed it! You did an outstanding job weaving a technical/logistical description of the trail with your personal feelings while hiking it. It was an excellent combination depicting details of a guide book along with your personal PUDS. It most definitely peeked my interest in hiking this trail and I would highly recommend this book as a MUST for anyone with similar interests. Thanks for sharing your adventure.


D, Female, GA - January 4, 2015 - Cooker has written a classic!


L, Female, TN - January 5, 2015 - It is great!  


E, Male, CO - January 22, 2015 - Enjoyed your book on the Colorado Trail!  Thanks for the memories... Loved your book.  I was glad to see someone write a book about their hike on the CT.


J, Female, NC - February 23, 2015 - Recommended reading


D. Male, NC - March 1, 2015 - Thank you Bill for writing this...Thanks again for the book and yes, seeing nature in all its glory is the best medicine there is.


L. Female, PA - March 6, 2015 - ... I think you have done a brilliant job of describing the compelling beauty of nature and the admirable motivation to persevere....
While I am not a hiker, Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color invites me to become one.  It is like a magnet pulling me toward the hiking trail.  Its vivid descriptions of nature’s beauty entice me.  The book also serves as a metaphor for my journey through life, as it urges me to keep going even when some days are filled with problems.  It reminds me that I will find rewards along the way, often when I least expect them.  Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color reassures me with the promise that I will be able to see more clearly in the morning.  It gives me hope whether I am on or off the trail.


R. Male, MA - March 18, 2015 - Hi Bill --I bought your book for a couple of reasons but not because I intend to hike the Colorado Trail.  I think your book could be an excellent resource for anyone who plans to do that hike end-to-end.  My long-distance hiking experience is mostly limited to the US east, so for a change of pace it was nice to read about hiking out west, in "real" mountains and trail towns I'd never been to.

It's obviously the journal of a couple of smart, fit and experienced hikers who planned and researched well, and approached matters rationally and systematically at every step of the way. In that sense it falls down a bit as literature, which is full of mishaps, pratfalls, surprises, conflicts, crises, etc.

As a reasonably serious hiker myself, probably not so different from you in temperament, I found it to be an engaging read.  What it lacks in surprise and suspense, it makes up for in hard, useful information and observations, for anyone who might be contemplating a similar adventure.  


L. Female, CO - April 14, 2015 - Bill, just finished your book last night. Thanks for sharing you heartfelt experience filled with good information and inspiration!


L. Female, VA - May 2, 2015 - Finished your book, Bill. An enjoyable read. Makes me want to do the Colorado Trail. I think I can after reading your account...


M, Male, VA - May 11, 2015 -  Great read! Recommend it to anyone.


S, Male, KY - June 14, 2015 - The book is a GREAT read!


T, Female, CO - July 29, 2015 - I am really enjoying your book, I feel like I have hiked with you all, I am at about 100 miles through, u just left Leadville.  Who knows, I might try it myself.  I think it would be an awesome experience! Thanks for writing your book and sharing your experiences.


T, Male, KY - October 28, 2015 - ... I was at your slides show and lecture ... and I bought a copy of your book.  Just finished it and I loved it.  As I was about to finish the last chapter, I was wanting to slow down (somewhat like your hike of the CT), not wanting it to be over.  I enjoyed it very much and will mention it to all of my hiker friends.  I have yet to do any overnight backpacking and I truthfully doubt that at my age I’ll be doing any of it soon, but I do enjoy long distance day hikes.  Thanks again for the book, the lecture and the slide show. 


S, Female, KY - November 5, 2015 - I came to your presentation at the library... at which time I purchased your book. I don't know that I have ever used the term "fun" to describe reading a book, but reading your book was fun and exciting. I suspect that was because that is how you experience life. I hated to finish the book....guess you'll have to write another ..... or I'll need to get serious about hiking.


J, Male, VA - November 8, 2015 - hi Bill, We recently met when I ...attended your seminar ... I also just completed your book which was excellent! I must say it was very well written so hats off to your and your editors.


T, Female, MT - November 20, 2015 - Hello Bill, I just finished your book and wanted to say thank you and that I enjoyed it very much. It was enough to push me beyond the "Should I?" thought to, "Yes, I am doing this!" Hopefully, 2016 will see me repeating your footsteps.


D. Male, CO - April 1, 2016 - I read your book.  The book is inspirational.  I hope to hike the Colorado Trail this summer. 


A. Male, CO - January 5, 2015 - Just finished reading "Shades of Gray, Splashes of Color."  Have hiked very little of the Colorado Trail but spent 14 weeks on volunteer trail crews trying to keep the trail in good repair.  ...
Thanks for your inspiring book.  I've heard several persons give oral accounts of through hikes, but they always lack the  descriptive account of their journeys which you so masterfully present.  And as if the description of your 38 days wasn't adequate, you added Reflections.   The section, "Hiking the CT is very rewarding," sums up the rewards which I experienced while working on the trail for those many weeks.  Thanks