Healing grief is different for everyone: some try, some don’t,
some make rash decisions or none at all. Paul Stutzman through-hiked the
Appalachian Trail one summer two years after his wife’s death from cancer.
Leaving his career as a restaurant manager and taking the
hike, Stutzman says he needed a greater purpose than simply making a drastic
change in his life. His goals were twofold: “to remind men to appreciate what
they have today—don’t take your family and your wife for granted.” Secondly, he
wanted to write a book showing “that the Christian life doesn’t have to be
And boring this book is not. From the prologue where the
author states he uses only trail names to identify his trail brothers and
sisters so they can claim plausible deniability if ever accused of any of the
stunts, to the rain, sleet, festivals, and fear, Hiking Through is a great
journey book that’s more than a guide; it’s a quest for peace.
Taking the trail name Apostle, Stutzman begins his journey
with a photo op, then hiking north from Georgia to Maine over four and a half
months. Starting in April with thirty-five pounds of tent, bear bag, and notebook,
Stutzman hoped to walk a thirty-mile leg one day, one of the few goals he never
met. I’ve become addicted over the past few years to follow Interstate highways
and freeways ever since accidently driving the entire length of I65, and I enjoy
hiking, but Stutzman’s pictures helped me decide to continue to enjoy “through
drives.” More photos are available on his web site hikingthrough.com. He’s
begun a “biking through” adventure as well.
Walk with the author as he meets wonderful and exotic hikers
with names like Sailor, Bubbles, Sir Entity, and Litefoot as they walk through
fourteen states in all kinds of terrain and weather, beautiful scenery, and
dangerous overnight conditions as well as enjoyable ones such as old stagecoach
stops and hotels. I’m a sucker for the history and details Stutzman shares
about the various places along the trail, such as Civil War sites, and general early
Americana. The life-lessons Stutzman shares? Well, I’ll let you discover those
as you read.
Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell,
a division of Baker Publishing Group.