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

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

4.3 75
by Paul Stutzman
     
 

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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. Paul left his stable career, 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 will change readers' lives as well.

In Hiking

Overview

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. Paul left his stable career, 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 will change readers' lives as well.

In Hiking Through, readers will join Paul on his remarkable 2,176-mile hike through fourteen states in search of peace and a renewed sense of purpose, meeting fascinating and funny people along the way. They'll discover that every choice we make along the path has consequences for the journey and will come away with a new understanding of God's grace and guidance. Nature-lovers, armchair adventurers, and those grieving a loss may not be able to hike the AT themselves, but they can go on this spiritual pilgrimage with a truly humble and sympathetic guide.

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)
From the Publisher
"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." —Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441238115
Publisher:
Baker Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/01/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
36,569
File size:
4 MB

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.
Paul Stutzman is the author of Hiking Through. A former restaurant manager who left his career after his wife's death from breast cancer, Paul hiked the Appalachian Trail in search of peace, healing, and freedom. He continues to seek out adventure in new ways every day. When he is not hiking or on a cross-country bike ride he makes his home in Berlin, Ohio. Find out more at www.paulstutzman.com.

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Hiking Through: One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 75 reviews.
Rowlaw More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderfully told story of an AT thru hiker. Looking forward to begin my own journey in summer 2014.
patroon More than 1 year ago
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.
Celthiker More than 1 year ago
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.
Outdoorsnga More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 8 months ago
This is actually a very good read for hiking the at trail. I really enjoyed the story of his hike and yes his reasons for doing it. However it does get a bit religous/preachy at times. These can become a bit tiresome at times and I feel takes away from the quality of an otherwise very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
nookie-d More than 1 year ago
Very challenging, interesting and informative. Worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
but it didnt keep my interest and seemed to b kinda repetious.
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading Paul's description of his journey on the AT was inspirational. Life can bring us all to our knees and Paul used the time on the trail to sort out some difficult issues. Impressive! He faced serious weather, and plently of hardship on his journey, but he found friendship and faith. I would say the trail helped him work the kinks out of his rope! Enjoyed reading his jounal greatly!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved, loved this book. Hated when it ended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I bough this book I was just wanting to read about a thru hike on the AT as it is something I have dreamed of doing. But what I got with Hiking Thrrough was so much more. What an emotional and spiritual journey that I got to take with this read. I truely felt that I was along on the treck with Paul, all his hiking companions, and, suprisingly, God. It was a great read and a very uplifting jorney.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago