Posted in Books, Thoughts on life and spirituality

Books: 127 Hours by Aron Ralston

In 2003, a hiker and mountaineer visited Blue John Canyon in Utah. A freak accident leads to his right hand being trapped by a big boulder and so starts a six-day ordeal of pain, isolation, fear, hunger and thirst. I’ve never watched the film of 127 Hours but it’s definitely on my ‘must watch’ list and even more so after reading the book written by the survivor himself, Aron Ralston.

Aron is an avid mountaineer and experienced hiker. He’s climbed up the fourteeners in Colorado and has ended up in – and survived – various hairy scenarios. We get to know this gradually as he writes alternate chapters – one about his current predicament followed by another focusing on his outdoors life to date. It’s an interesting juxtaposition and the background to his life shows how these previous experiences, good and bad, have shaped Aron into becoming positive and independent, always looking for a solution rather than simply panicking (which is exactly what I would have done in his place!)

The observations and descriptions were incredibly powerful, I could almost imagine what it must have been like in that situation. The cold and the utter isolation during the nights, the desperation and dry thirst during the day…

Thankfully, Aron is made of tough stuff. He’s got out of tricky situations before, he’s helped with a mountain rescue team, so he knows how to observe, keep calm, think of potential solutions and, most importantly, avoid panicking.

His outdoor skills, logical mindset and positive attitude can only go so far however. There is only so much food (burritos to be exact) and water. The canyons are warm during the day but freezing cold at night. It’s remote, so remote that it’s unlikely that anyone will come across him in Blue John Canyon before he runs out of food and water and dies from dehydration. And any attempts to remove the boulder that’s crushed his right hand has failed. Oh, and he didn’t tell anyone exactly where he was going so even the rescue attempt, once people start noticing his absence, will be a difficult one before it even begins.

Perhaps not surprisingly considering the lack of food and water, Aron hallucinates – or are they spiritual experiences? Whatever the case, for Aron, these experiences come at a time when he is rapidly losing hope; when he believes with utter certainty that he will not live to see the next day.

This has to be one of my favourite books of this year, with each chapter ending with a ‘cliffhanger’ so to speak. And although I know that Aron survived (he’s written the book so this is no plot spoiler), I am fascinated to know just how exactly he managed to survive…

Author:

Interested in environmental issues, wildlife, spirituality, gardening, self-sufficiency and mini-adventures. There are two blogs, one is https://mysabbatical2014.wordpress.com/ and the other, more recent one, is - https://cosycottageandthequestforthegoodlife.wordpress.com/ ☺️

8 thoughts on “Books: 127 Hours by Aron Ralston

  1. I tucked this title of the book and film away – I would like to know more. He sure is lucky and like you I would have panicked for sure. I got lost in the woods last year and I am usually more prudent, but someone gave me bad directions and I was (as usual) by myself. It was in August and very warm and I was so glad to see a woman who regularly walks her dog and she walked with me to get back to the entrance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m terrible at getting lost. I love woodland walking but I would start worrying if I got lost in the woods and it was starting to get dark. I’m glad you met the dog walker and found your way out. My local woodland has a very easy route so it’s impossible to get lose, even for me!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it was really scary. I don’t have a smart phone and apparently there was a map online you could access to see all the different trails. I stopped someone and they made it sound easy, but I was walking in a circle … I was afraid it would get dark and I have no idea what was in that wooded area.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I read the book and watched the film itself – both are excellent Clare. The film is highly praised as being about as close to a documentary you can get with an actual film.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, the most unpleasant five minutes of the film, l couldn’t watch it properly either, very realistic – too realistic!

        Liked by 1 person

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