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Hiking Through: One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail Paperback – March 12, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Back Cover

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Revell; Reprint edition (March 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800720539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800720537
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (490 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,516 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Brenda C on May 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
Paul Stutzman had always enjoyed hiking, and as a stress reliever he would often daydream about hiking the Appalachian Trail. So when after a four year battle with cancer he loses his beloved wife Mary. On the one year anniversary of her death he finds himself struggling with grief and loneliness, and after much consideration he decides to quit a job that he has held for over twenty years and pursue his dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Mr. Stutzman is a down to earth writer that immediately pulls you into his adventure.I found his back story interesting, and found his fascinating that he had Amish roots. As a nature lover the author's descriptive writing allows the reader to experience nature thru the eyes of the author.The pictures the author includes really adds to the visual aspect of the story. A story that reminds the path toward healing is taken one step at a time. Overall, a great book for anyone who is dealing with grief, Nature lovers and anyone who has ever thought about hiking the Appalachian Trail will also find this book hard to put down.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Christina Lockstein on May 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
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.Read more ›
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Holly VINE VOICE on April 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Normally when I discover that a book has no negative reviews, I'm very skeptical. I know how unrealistic it is to think that every reader will adore every book the same way. When it comes to Hiking Through, however, I can understand why every review I've seen, so far, has been 4 or 5 stars. It's terrific.

I'm not an outdoorsy person. I hate camping and I hyperventilate at the thought of aerobic exercise, although I do enjoy walking. I've done, and mostly enjoyed, short hikes here and there over the course of my life, and I walked all over Rome and Florence and Paris, but I cannot fathom hiking 2,220 arduous miles over mountainous terrain. Yet, Paul's account of his experience hiking the Appalachian Trail makes me want to go hiking myself. (My boys will be so happy!)

I could not put this book down. To say it was engrossing is an understatement. It was absolutely enthralling. Reading Hiking Through was like sitting with Paul and listening to him tell his story. He's a captivating, articulate, storyteller and his writing style is easy and comfortable. There are no pretenses, no airs. He's straight-forward about his experiences, he's honest in sharing his grief over losing his wife, he's open about his faith in God, and he paints a fascinating picture with his words. I enjoyed his ability to weave his life experiences into the account; they weren't digressions, they were natural additions to the flow of the story.

Paul is honest about his regrets and realization that he needed something to help him move past his grief and find himself and his purpose again. On the trail, he realized that his purpose is to share his story and to remind people that God is very much aware of them and not to take their wives and families for granted.
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Format: Hardcover
Paul Stutzman decided to make some big changes after his wife Mary died from breast cancer. Twelve months after Mary's death, Paul quit his job and set out on a through hike of the Appalachian Trail - a 2176 mile journey spanning fourteen states.

The physical journey took almost five months; I suspect that the spiritual journey will never end. During his journey, Paul battled difficult trail conditions and experienced periods of overwhelming loneliness. He also enjoyed spectacular scenery and the camaraderie of the trail, and along the way he found peace.
Paul tells his story with grace and good humour. He started his journey as a man trying to come to terms with a devastating loss. He finished his journey, with a renewed passion for life, and much more aware of his relationship to others, to nature, and to God.

I enjoyed sharing Paul's journey through reading this book and looking at the photographs on his website. The history of the places along the Appalachian Trail is fascinating, as is Paul's recounting of his own personal journey through life.

`Dreams can come true if you allow them to.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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