• Trespassing Across America

  • One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before (and Sort of Illegal) Hike Across the Heartland
  • By: Ken Ilgunas
  • Narrated by: Andrew Eiden
  • Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (844 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Told with sincerity, humor, and wit, Trespassing Across America is both a fascinating account of one man's remarkable journey along the Keystone XL pipeline and a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the extremes to which we can push ourselves - both physically and mentally.

It started as a far-fetched idea - to hike the entire length of the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. But in the months that followed, it grew into something more for Ken Ilgunas.

It became an irresistible adventure - an opportunity not only to draw attention to global warming but to explore his personal limits. So in September 2012, he strapped on his backpack, stuck out his thumb on the interstate just north of Denver, Colorado, and hitchhiked 1,500 miles to the Alberta tar sands. Once there, he turned around and began his 1,900-mile trek to the XL's endpoint on the Gulf Coast of Texas, a journey he would complete entirely on foot, almost exclusively walking across private property.

Both a travel memoir and a reflection on climate change, Trespassing Across America is filled with colorful characters, harrowing physical trials, and strange encounters with the weather, terrain, and animals of America's plains. A tribute to the Great Plains and the people who live there, Ilgunas' memoir grapples with difficult questions about our place in the world: What is our personal responsibility as stewards of the land? As members of a rapidly warming planet? As mere individuals up against something as powerful as the fossil fuel industry? Ultimately, Trespassing Across America is a call to embrace the belief that a life lived not half wild is a life only half lived.

©2016 Ken Ilgunas (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Trespassing Across America

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

An Exasperating Journey

I thought this would be an inspiring tale of man, personal limits, nature's beauty, and a call to really think about how our habits and oil consumption affect our fellow man and the earth. Instead it's a diatribe by a man who 1) calls attention to how cattle ranches/cattle contribute to global warming (true), but who downs cheeseburgers like there's no tomorrow; 2) Is anti-oil, but glosses over how it's kind of necessary if you're receiving care packages via air through the mail, and if your clothes are made from petroleum-based fabrics; 3) Rails about what we've done to the buffalo, but chaws and chews on buffalo jerky; 4) Is really peeved that there are so many "No Trespassing" signs to keep strangers off land, but who goes to great lengths to put distance between himself and strangers he (admittedly) knee-jerk distrusts.
There is some seriously good stuff here: Ken's relationship to cows is pathologically funny. They're referred to as "gangs of cows," and he's ultra-paranoid, though he's been told: "You DO know they're herbivores, right?" And the few bits of nature and creatures are well-written. Andrew Eiden's narration is decent, but it neither detracts nor adds to anything.
I get it; really, I do, Ken. Changes need to be made (although, in the last 20 mins. you kinda sorta question that... ?!? What was the book about then?), and I honestly respect your trek. But I really would've liked a bit more on the beauty, the life we'd like to preserve. And respect for our fellow man. Please stop calling people idiots; it doesn't serve the movement well. Especially not when so many people helped you.

50 people found this helpful

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Scolding Across America

I chose this book because I thought it would be an awesome hiking adventure. Also, it was added as a free benefit of Audible membership. As is becoming more common, Audible editorial staff miss no opportunity to push their agenda.

This book is a screed: full of political and climate and economics scolding. After the fifth or sixth lecture, I gave up hope of a good adventure and abandoned ship.

Go plant a tree, turn off a light, pick up trash at your local park and leave the scolding to others more qualified.

17 people found this helpful

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What a pompous jerk

This dude sure thinks a lot of himself. Dissing triple crowners because those trails are easy? Are you out of your mind? He obviously has never hiked. Couldn’t even finish this book.

16 people found this helpful

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Be prepared for a long sermon

I like tales of travel, particularly on foot. Unfortunately, this book did not include as much about the trip as it did his personal beliefs on culture, climate and societal norms he did not agree with (like private property rights). It turned into hours of preaching about people politics and progressive values. Often he insults the people who were good to him in his travels. If you can wade through that, or if you're like minded, you may enjoy this. Me, not so much.

15 people found this helpful

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super left....

If hearing 20 somethings cry about left world issues don't be this it will just make you mad. Book had potential.

4 people found this helpful

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Good story, excellent narrator.

The author walks the Keystone Pipeline and meets many people along the way who are affected by it. Some are all for it and some hate it but Ken has the remarkable ability to not judge, see both sides and let you decide for yourself. He also meets a lot of Samaritans, some good some not so good but mostly helpful. It's a good look at the people that still live in the heartland and help make america great. The narrator is excellent. I have never heard him before but absolutely loved his delivery. This book is well worth your time.

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Still relevant...

The thoughts the writer has towards the end of this book and the parallels he draws between the pipeline and science deniers and Lincoln’s quote perfectly sum up the issues we currently face with COVID-19. Again, we as a country face such a large group of “free thinking” and such independent “freedom loving” science deniers that mistrust data and facts.

I enjoyed the stories of the people you met along the way and how you grew as a person. Excellent read! Highly recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed for the environmental views, the adventure

Enjoyed for the environmental views, the adventure, the hiking journey, the idea of crossing the country on foot, the people you'd meet... some gems of writing now and then but not a masterpiece... story intrigued me... brings up compelling questions along the way (most I have asked myself before but still enjoyed hearing)... I like the honesty in his self discoveries.. the fear of cows made me laugh (being a country girl from Texas who has never considered a cow to scary, maybe a mean bull but not pasture cows, lol)... loved the instances of kindness and generosity shown... I will be looking up his blog and most likely checking out other books he has published.

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although

although our views are exactly opposite politically and religiously he was not naggy and brought up informative views on climate change and his experiences and adventure from Canada to Texas were fun to listen to

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Another interesting book by Ken Ilgunas

I had enjoyed "Walden on Wheels" and unknowingly also bought this book and enjoyed it as well. A well-balanced view of our time of oil and climate challenges.

1 person found this helpful