Title: Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail
Author: Paul V. Stutzman
Publisher: Synergy Books
Publication Date: April 6, 2010
Hardcover: 320 pages
After losing his wife to breast cancer, Paul Stutzman decided to make some big changes. He quit his job of seventeen years and embarked upon a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,176-mile stretch of varying terrain spanning fourteen states. During his nearly five-month-long hike, he battled brutal trail conditions and overwhelming loneliness, but also enjoyed spectacular scenery and trail camaraderie. With breathtaking descriptions and humorous anecdotes from his travels, Stutzman reveals how immersing himself in nature and befriending fellow hikers helped him recover from a devastating loss. Somewhere between Georgia and Maine, he realized that God had been with him every step of the way, and on a famous path through the wilderness, he found his own path to peace and freedom.
Hiking Through is an astonishingly beautiful memoir of a man struggling to reconcile his grief while rediscovering whom he is while learning to truly see everything that the world has to offer. Paul had always enjoyed hiking as a release, and a dream of his was to hike the Appalachian Trail. However, Paul was busy working and raising a family so the Appalachian Trail dream remained unfulfilled. Paul’s world is turned upside down when his wife Mary is diagnosed with cancer, and being strong in their faith, they held out hope. Within a few years, Paul is a widower going through the everyday motions and felt a calling to the Appalachian Trail. A year passes and Paul is still grieving the passing of Mary and realises he needs a change so he quits his restaurant management job he held for 17 years and decides to fulfill his dream to hike the Appalachian Trail. Paul’s goals in the beginning were to heal and spread the message to all men to cherish their families, their wives and so as he begins his journey he chooses the trail named Apostle for his journey. Paul writes his memoir as though he is sitting and conversing with the reader. One could easily envision having coffee, though Paul would want a Coke, with him while he describes the preparations for the thru-hike (hiking the entire Appalachian trail through 14 states and over 2,176 miles), in and of itself a daunting task. Paul Stutzman is a man of faith and also readily admits his mistakes, miscalculations and errors; he is human and definitely a person I would be honored to know. Hoping to gain insight while pushing the bounds of his beliefs, Paul set off on his 5 month journey, revealing to the reader advise on hiking, revelations, life lessons, while introducing the reader to various hiking companions, along will vivid descriptions of the various scenes he encountered on his journey. One of my favourite lessons comes in Chapter 10 and hopefully I shall be able to impart the same wisdom I have gained from Hiking Through to my children. Hiking Through is a wonderful narrative of Paul’s journey to rediscover himself, to shed stress and grief, renew his faith and to learn to be truly happy. Hiking Through is written in a warm, witty, and friendly tone, as though he is speaking directly to the reader. Throughout the book, Paul shares his life experiences, those of fellow hikers, and the lessons he learned throughout his long journey hiking the Appalachian Trail. I would recommend Hiking Through to everyone.
After Paul Stutzman’s wife died, Paul quit his job to hike the Appalachian trail to give himself time to think and to heal. Hiking Through: Finding Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail is his story. A former restaurant manager, he is now retired and planning his next big adventure: a cross-country bicycle trip. Stutzman currently lives in Berlin, Ohio. To see pictures of his hike or to find out more about Paul and his book, visit his website.
Paul V. Stutzman’s HIKING THROUGH: FINDING PEACE AND FREEDOM ON THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR ‘10 officially began on March 1 and will end on April 30 2010. Follow the tour www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com during the month of April to find out more about this great book and talented author!
I received a complimentary copy of Hiking Through by Paul V. Stutzman from Pump Up Your Book Promotion as part of the tour. Receiving a copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.