I love stories about people who thu-hike. I also love the stories behind the reasons people thu-hike. Looks like I’m going to have to add the book, “Hiking Through” to my list. Welcome Jacquelyn to the blog today and read her thoughts on the book.
“Every year, several thousand believers answer the call to make a pilgrimage from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to another mountaintop 2,176 miles away. Of these thousands, only several hundred are chosen to finish.
Chosen? Yes. If you are ever one of those solitary Appalachian Trail thru-hikers and you somehow survive three hundred daunting mountains, precarious river crossings, difficult rock climbs, discouraging illness and loneliness, and punishing weather, and you stand at last at the summit of mighty, Mount Katahdin, then you will indeed know what it is to be one of those chosen few.”
Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman takes you on his journey of hiking the Appalachian Trail while working through grief after the loss of his wife to cancer, finding himself again and meeting new friends along the way.
Growing up in Millinocket at the base of Mount Katahdin I witnessed many people finishing their 2,176 mile journey. I was fortunate to have the end of the trail in my back yard and did not realize how important it is to all the thru-hikers out there. Now as a Social Worker who works with patients and families going through cancer treatment and loss of loved ones, this book puts into perspective how important it is to allow yourself to grieve all while finding yourself again. As a Social Worker I encourage patients who can to get out and hit the trail to help deal with any challenges they have going on. Before I read this book I never realized how powerful a thru-hike or just hiking can be.
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Following Paul’s journal I felt like I was hiking right beside him, feeling his pain and his successes along the way. Books do not usually bring out a lot of emotions in me, but at the end I found myself tearful for his journey, his accomplishments and just for the book being finished.
If you are looking for a story about stepping outside of your comfort zone to work through a loss of a loved one, adventure on the trail, learning how to find yourself again all while hiking the AT, then I highly recommend this book.