Customer Reviews: Three Hundred Zeroes
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on March 18, 2010
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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on March 2, 2010
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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on April 6, 2010
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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on December 28, 2012
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. Social media laid bare to its most basic form.
One irritating aspect of the book is the author's references to celibacy. He is married and although along the trail he has numerous opportunities to cheat on his wife, he chooses wisely against it. If he had taken the time to look up the word celibacy however he probably would have altered his prose. Celibacy is a personal choice of abstinence reserved for religious devotees or widowers. And, since when did not cheating on your spouse become cause for public celebration?
The rest of the book is just a mediocre account of people and places interspersed with numerous exclamation points. A good editor would have removed every single exclamation point. There are way too many books out there with these needless exclamation points. To anyone out there reading this and thinking about writing a book, make your prose the exclamation and let the reader decide the relative value. Exclamation points are bandied about wrecklessly in e-mails and text messages so frequently that authors feel the need to include at least one on every page of their book. An exclamation point is the nuclear weapon of puctuation marks. If you are going to drop one you better have a damn good reason!
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on March 21, 2010
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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on June 13, 2010
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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on April 3, 2010
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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on June 21, 2016
I've read several stories of folks hiking the Appalachian Trail, but to be honest this was one of my favorites. Since the author and I are similar in age, health, hobbies, and even from the same state I could really identify with him. Enough detail for follow hikers to enjoy but enough adventure to keep it interesting. Well. Wort the read!
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on June 26, 2011
I got this on my Kindle a few weeks ago when I was considering an AT thru-hike, and loved it. In fact, this book might've been the tipping point for me as I plan my own adventure on the trail. I can totally relate to the author, having had similar heath issues to deal with, and because of his success, it made me feel like I could do it, too.

Aside from that, it's just a great read. You really came away feeling like you have a better understanding of what one goes through while on a 2200 mile walk--the highs and lows, the pain, discomfort, drudgery, beauty, enjoyment, and overwhelming sense of satisfaction when it's all done.

I even bought a hard-copy this week and gave it to my Mom to read so that she can understand the what and why of my own goal of walking the AT. She loved it, and believe me, it's not anything she would've ever picked up on her own.

Well worth the price.
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on November 23, 2014
Funny and honest, what sets Blanchard's book apart is its balance. Many books on the AT ( I've read about a dozen) spend so much of their time talking about the colorful characters they meet along the way, that their own story is neglected. Others focus so much on the hardships that you wonder why they went at all. Blanchard enjoys the people he meets. suffers through rain, cold, falls, and major heart surgery, but never loses his joy. His book is also an excellent practical guide to both places along the trail and gear to stuff in your pack. He is also an inspiration for anyone who thinks they can't hike the AT, or undertake some other lifetime goal, because age or health setbacks have in some way disqualified them.
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