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Three Hundred Zeroes: Lessons of the heart on the Appalachian Trail. Paperback – February 20, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 184 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dennis Blanchard was born in Bristol, Connecticut. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force he moved to New Hampshire with his wife, Jane. Never living very far from the Appalachian Trail, there was always the seductive siren's call to hike it. To support his hiking habit he has spent most of his life working as an electronics engineer. Dennis is an avid ham radio enthusiast and has authored many pieces for magazines such as the amateur radio journal, QST and other technical magazines, as well as motorcycle adventure articles. When not off wandering in the woods he lives in Sarasota, Florida.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1st edition (February 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1450557465
  • ISBN-13: 978-1450557467
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dennis Blanchard was born and raised in Bristol, Connecticut. He and his wife Jane moved to Hampstead, New Hampshire in 1980 where he continued to follow his passion for the outdoors. He was the 2002 Masters Division New England Mountain Bike Champion (EFTA), an avid hiker and traveler. When he comes indoors to dry off, or warm up, he pursues his interest in Amateur Radio. Sometimes he takes the radio along with him outdoors as well.

Never living very far from the Appalachian Trail, Dennis was always aware of the seductive siren's call to hike it. In the sixties Dennis made a promise to his brother that haunted him for over forty years. Finally, when there were no more excuses, he set out 2007 on the Appalachian Trail to fulfill that promise. As he walked the trail, Dennis reconnected with the Norman Rockwell America that seems lost and forgotten. He learned that not only are the difficulties of walking over 2,200 miles easily underestimated but that trouble can begin long before setting a first step on the trail. Blanchard's introspective demonstrates that bears, rattlesnakes and challenging terrain may be far less formidable than some of life's more subtle dangers.

Dennis is a retired electronics engineer who has freelanced for amateur radio, technical and motorcycle adventure magazines. He now lives in Sarasota, Florida.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was a great read. Having had some experience with the AT myself I felt this was a very accurate and humorous account of what it's like to be out there. I loved reading about some of the places I've seen myself and could completely empathize with the main character and his plight. Some of the situations were down right hilarious. I won't spoil it but bears can apparently be very curious creatures. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a humorous and inspiring book about overcoming obstacles and fullfilling a dream.
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Format: Paperback
Dennis (trailname K1) Blanchard's, '300 Zeroes' is a great account of his Appalachian Trail (AT) Throughhike in which he started his hike, had to go home for heart surgery and returned to finish in 2008 on the very first day that he could (after 300 zero's). It is a fascinating account of his hike, showing his humor and insight. His subtitle, 'Lesson's of the Heart on the Appalachian Trail' is doubly appropriate, referring to how it affected his physical heart and his emotional heart. It is a great book for anyone who has hiked the Appalachian Trail or is thinking about hiking it.
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Format: Paperback
I worked with the author for a number of years when he lived here in southern NH so I may be showing some prejudice but... I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I love nature and the outdoors but 3-4 mile nature hikes are about as much as this old body can take so I got to live vicariously through Dennis' exploits. A very enjoyable read. Filled with insight and humor I was reluctant to get to the last paragraph because I knew the hike was over. Whether a hard core hiker or just a short nature walker like me you'll enjoy the book. Lastly, all I can say is I've learned to beware of attack squirrels!
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Format: Paperback
I am not a hiker, but the inspiration this book brought me may very well change that. The humor the author shared was well placed and came about in unexpected places, but he did not rely on that to carry the story (which is truly inspirational). The author shared with the reader a desire to fulfill a commitment, and what it takes to fulfill that commitment, then shares the personal rewards (many of which were unexpected) he gained from undertaking a truly monumental task.
Upon beginning this book I pondered how nice it would be to have this in audiobook form so I could listen to it on my Mp3 player while going about my everyday tasks, or even bringing it along with me for a nice long "Walk in the woods", until I came to the realization that bears (Yes Bears!) are a common sight out on the trail, and not from a distance either, along with attack squirrels, rattlesnakes, and all sorts of other hazards that it is best to be on the alert for. With that being said, I guess I can honestly say the author saved my life by writing this book and making me aware of such dangers before attempting such foolishness.
What this reader took away from this book was inspiration, on many different levels, but most of all, a new found respect on what it means to fulfill a dream. That and to carry as light a load as possible, even if it means leaving the mosquito repellent behind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Appalachian Trail is been the topic of numerous books, many of which, like this one, are written by first-time authors. This book is one of the rare ones which had me looking forward to my daily allotment of reading time. Despite not being an avid reader, I had it finished very quickly. Unlike some AT writers whose train of thought I found difficult to follow and whose showcases of bravado off-putting, those was never an issue here. Just as the author, as he neared the end of the trail, started wishing his hike wouldn't end, I found myself wishing I could magically keep reading while never reaching the last page.

Being the first edition of a self-published work, the book could use a little polish, but that's coming from a very picky, self-anointed wordsmith so it's very doubtful the vast majority of readers make such an observation. Also, on just a couple of occasions, the author wonders onto editorial tangents which some may find a bit preachy.

But this is more than compensated by humor - loved the red squirrel story! - and first hand accounts of the goodness of strangers, even in these tough economic times. I found the author's spirit to be truly inspiring. It's a very enjoyable read and highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Dennis Blanchard is a very nice guy, and by virtue of that he hides something. What lurks deep within Dennis is that he is one tough cookie. How many people in their sixties could have a serious heart malfunction while on the Appalachian Trail, go home and have surgery, and then be back on the trail several months later to complete the entire AT. Pretty damn impressive.

And I didn't realize he was a writer, but now I know. His book, Three Hundred Zeroes, is not just inspiring, but entertaining. That's what a hiking book should be because that makes it more likely to inspire others to set out on this national jewel, the Appalachian Trail.

It's a good, easy read, and I recommend it.

Bill Walker--author of Skywalker--Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In short: a decent account of a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail by someone who is not just lucky to have made it, but lucky to be alive. In essence the hike gets interrupted when the author develops chest pains and has to have coronary bypass surgery, hence the three hundred zeros. The book would have benefitted from a good editing with the removal of all the needless exclamation points.

At length: the author is living in Florida when he decides to undertake a through-hike of the Appalachian Trail. He feels as though he is physically fit enough to walk two thousand some miles from Georgia to Maine. Except at some point his heart tells him differently. Here is where the story gets interesting/bizarre. Most people know that chest pains are to be taken seriously and most people would either go straight to an emergency room or call 911 to be transported to an emergency room if they develop chest pains; at least that is what numerous health-conscious organizations are telling us. However, when the author gets chest pains during his hike he correctly diagnoses his own coronary artery disease but instead of seeking medical care, he just swallows some aspirin and keeps on hiking to Maine. In the medical field we call that denial. On the Appalachian Trail and in most National Parks this would usually result in the transport of a corpse. Luckily, the author eventually seeks medical attention and one coronary bypass and three hundred days later he is back hiking northbound to Maine. If nothing else you have to admire his persistence.
The author used his engineering background to build himself a portable ham radio and set a goal of making contact with other ham radio operators in every state along the trail. Communicating by morse code, he does fulfill this goal.
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