Hiking Through: One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail

( 72 )

Overview

A life-changing journey begins with a single step

After Paul Stutzman lost his wife to breast cancer, he sensed a tug on his heart—the call to a challenge, the call to pursue a dream. With a mixture of dread and determination, Paul left his job, traveled to Georgia, and took his first steps on the Appalachian Trail. What he learned during the next four and a half months changed his life—and can change yours ...

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Hiking Through: One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail

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Overview

A life-changing journey begins with a single step

After Paul Stutzman lost his wife to breast cancer, he sensed a tug on his heart—the call to a challenge, the call to pursue a dream. With a mixture of dread and determination, Paul left his job, traveled to Georgia, and took his first steps on the Appalachian Trail. What he learned during the next four and a half months changed his life—and can change yours as well.

In Hiking Through, you'll join Paul on his remarkable 2,176-mile trip through fourteen states in search of peace and a renewed sense of purpose. Along the way, you'll meet fascinating and funny people, experience trail magic, and discover that every choice we make on the path has consequences for the journey. More than that, you'll come away with a new understanding of God's grace and guidance—even in the smallest things.

"Hiking Through is a page-turner! Being a hiker, I have read a number of books about the AT; this one is different. It is about accomplishing a goal but it is also about love, family, friendship, change, discovery, healing, and so much more. Hope you enjoy the read as much as I did!"—Dr. Steve Wingfield, founder of the Steve Wingfield Evangelistic Association and author of Live the Adventure

"For a serious backpacker to be interested in yet another version of how it is to hike the entire Appalachian Trail, a book must have a unique twist. Some writers use romance to delineate them from the others, some use spirituality to be different, some humor, some life's struggles, and some the trail itself and the challenges that it presents. Hiking Through has it all!"—Bill Irwin, speaker, author of Blind Courage, counselor, and executive director of Free Indeed Ministries, with Orient, hero dog-guide of the Appalachian Trail

Paul Stutzman is a restaurant-manager-turned-captivating-storyteller who left his career after his wife's death from breast cancer. His passion and mission is to share what he learned on his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. When he is not hiking or biking cross-country, he makes his home in Ohio.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stutzman, a former restaurant manager and now first-time author, has rendered an engaging account of his dramatic response in the traumatic aftermath of loss. His 32-year marriage ended when his wife died of cancer just as they were planning their golden years. This precipitated a crisis that landed him in the mud, cold, wet, and filth of what it takes a human being to complete—in less than five months—the “thru-hike” on the Appalachian Trail. For those unfamiliar with the physical, psychological, and spiritual demands of the Trail, the book will be eye-opening, digressions into sentimentality notwithstanding. Despite the details about what a thru-hiker endures day-to-day putting one foot in front of the other, the narrative describes a greater leap. The biggest step he took was the day he resigned at the restaurant. “Could I change my mind?” he asks rhetorically. Nope, he can’t. In places the book lacks what it implicitly cries out for: in-the-gut details of the unrelenting struggle (“The climb... is rocky and strenuous”). Even so, Appalachian Trail enthusiasts, hikers, and dreamers will find this story a compelling account of the physicality of coming to terms with life and its sadnesses. (May)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780800720537
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/12/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 85,071
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Stutzman is a former restaurant manager who left his career after his wife's death from breast cancer. He hiked the Appalachian Trail in search of peace, healing, and freedom. His passion and mission is to share what he learned on that remarkable journey. Paul grew up in the Mennonite church. When he is not hiking or on a cross-country bike ride he makes his home in Berlin, Ohio.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 72 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(41)

4 Star

(20)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 72 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 18, 2013

    More than just a long walk.

    I really enjoyed this book. I read it hoping to learn about the Appalacian Trail, but discovered much more. Mr. Stutzman does a great job of sharing his trail experience but also his personal spiritual growth while on the trail. Had you told me it was a book about personal growth and not just the trail, I probably would have passed, but he does a fine job of balancing both the inner and outward journeys.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    Riveting

    I found this true story truly riveting. Although I had heard of the Appalacian Trail I had no idea walking it was the way it actually is. To learn of the tremendous community that exists among those who walk it amazed me. And the impact on the lives of those hikers is impressive. Very worthwhile reading more than once.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2012

    Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman is the story of one man's journe

    Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman is the story of one man's journey on the Appalachian trail, through grief, and to understanding about God. Stutzman spent his life working at a restaurant to make enough money for he and his wife to enjoy when he retired. Unfortunately, his wife, Mary, died of breast cancer, and he was left along and struggling with guilt, grief, and depression. He decided to fulfill a life-long dream of hiking the entire Appalachian trail, all 2,176 miles and fourteen states as a way to find God and to spread his message to husbands to cherish their families and take time to enjoy them. God hijacked Stutzman's journey and gave him a very different message, one that the author shares with readers about hope and trusting in God. I've always had a fascination with the Appalachian trail, and as my illness keeps me from ever fulfilling it, I enjoy reading about others' experiences on it. Stutzman's writing is part travelogue, part journal, part devotional. He does a great job of allowing readers to see through his eyes the beauty he witnessed in God's creation: the storms, the butterflies, the majestic mountaintops. He doesn't just stop to smell the flowers; he tastes them! Stutzman shares many stories about small miracles on the trail, strange coincidences that have God's fingerprints all over them, and he encourages readers to seek out God on their own journey and see what He has to tell them. One of the most powerful messages Stutzman has for readers is that of trusting God in the midst of grief. Here's my own coincidence: I signed up for this blog tour months ago, never knowing that I would need to read a book on grief. But last week Saturday, my dog Cooper was hit and killed by a car. I would never consider weighing the loss of a dog with that of a spouse, but my grief and pain is very real, and I've been struggling all week with the question of "Why, God? Why?" Toward the end of the book, Stutzman stops writing about the trail and for a few paragraphs addresses this very question in such a way that I couldn't help but sob, and then began to feel some peace. He's a great plainspoken writer with a gift for detail and self-deprecation that keeps readers hooked for mile after mile. God gave Stutzman a mission on that trail, and he fulfills it well with this book. I hope he decides to take another journey someday and take the rest of us along with his again.

    5 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2013

    I'm a sucker for books chronicling long distance thru-hikes, I'v

    I'm a sucker for books chronicling long distance thru-hikes, I've read quite a few. This book is ok. It was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. I did feel at times as though I were reading a restaurant review guide, or a hostel/hotel review guide. This guy sure spent a bunch of nights off the trail in a cozy bed.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Very entertaining and well written. I have hiked sections of the AT and this book brought some good memories. Especially appreciated his willingness to bring out his faith.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Captivating

    A wonderfully told story of an AT thru hiker. Looking forward to begin my own journey in summer 2014.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 25, 2013

    Highly recommend, great reading

    I had to read the entire book before I really appreciatted the author and his style of writting. There were times when I didnt like him as a person, and times I felt sad for him, and then the time came when I appreciatted him.
    Read the book, and if doesnt make you want to sit down and set some goals in your life then I think you need to read it again. Even non Christins will get something about life out of this book. I still dont like his mooching, manipulating ways with trail angels and non thru hikers, but I am glad I read the book. I would reccommend anyone over 18, who loves the outdoors and especially hiking, to read. It does hit home occassionally.
    Bill Jones/ Outdoorsnga

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2012

    I just finished reading Paul Stutzman's book. It was a book I f

    I just finished reading Paul Stutzman's book. It was a book I found hard to put down. I enjoyed the descriptiion of his experiences on the AP immensely. I just found out he has another book about biking across America and I will absolutely read it. I find his faith in God very encouraging and am on my own journey with the Lord.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I enjoyed reading this book. The author was able to give his reasons and fears about why he decided to walk the Appalachian trail. I liked how he was able to tell a story about his adventure without it being just a bunch of journal entries.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 19, 2012

    Great read!

    When he lost his wife to breast cancer, Paul Stutzman decided to make some big changes. He quit his job and set out on a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. With breathtaking descriptions and humorous anecdotes from his travels, Stutzman reveals how he found his own path to peace and freedom on a famous path through the wilderness.

    What an amazing book this is! Mr. Stutzman did a great job leading you through his journey of healing with humor and sadness mingled together while he hiked the entire Appalachian Trail all on his own.

    I wasn't sure what this book was going to be like, but the author did a great job letting the reader into a part of his life and journey with him. Heart breaking, yet heart healing, I believe anyone would enjoy this book.

    Available May 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


    Baker Publishing sent me this complimentary copy to review for them. Opinions are my own.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    pretty good

    but it didnt keep my interest and seemed to b kinda repetious.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    This book has so much to offer the reader......about loneliness,

    This book has so much to offer the reader......about loneliness, love, trust, goals, friendship, God , nature and more!.  Even better if you are a hiker but even if not, it may inspire you to take that first step.  For those who hike, (or have even hiked all or sections of the AT) as you read you can envision the trail Paul Stutzman is traveling, and if you have not done any hiking his narrative may give one the motivation to try.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    Won't do that now...

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book, was even inspired to watch the National Geographic program on the trail (don't bother - it's not even a 1-star production). As someone who has suffered a great loss and continued to grow spiritually, Mr. Stutzman's testimony is truly an inspiration.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    Ooh

    Okay guys. This isnt a chatrooms okay? I tried to see what ppl thought out this book but yall are just chatting in here. Bn should do something about this. Its a real dissapointment.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2013

    M

    Bn, please ban these children from using the book review site as a chat room. Isnt it against terms of service? Cant something be done to them?

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2013

    Great read

    Very challenging, interesting and informative. Worth your time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2013

    Too much religion

    I love books about the AT, but the guy is delusional. He talks with god, and god talks back. It is a tough mountain to climb (ha ha).

    1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2014

    loved the book it really described the trail in dept you could a

    loved the book it really described the trail in dept you could almost see it. my grandson started hiking the trail, he is doing it in sections he did the Maine section first.since he is still in college he can't do the whole trail at once.he told me about the section he did I'm giving the book to him as a guide of places to stay and eat on the trail and the tip of send certain thing ahead in the mail so you don't have to carry clothes you need only for part of the trail and the food boxes. I give it 5 stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    I've read quite a few books about hiking the Appalachian Trail a

    I've read quite a few books about hiking the Appalachian Trail and this one started out well but even though it is well-written 
    it seems to me that this is more about getting over the loss of his wife than it is about the Appalachian Trail.

    This fellow spent every moment he could in a motel or hostel bed and seemed to take most of his meals at a restaurant. Not terribly inspiring
    from a "person against nature/physical hardship" point of view.  After reading the book I felt somehow cheated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    I loved this page turner!!!

    Not only did this book confirm how much hiking brings peace and solitude to our lives, but also enriches us in ways we will never know unless we take the chance or hike, if you will. Couldn't put this one down. Thanks, Paul, for sharing your incredible journey with us and giving us hope that we can all have a relationship with God.

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