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A Walk for Sunshine: A 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail Paperback – September 9, 2017
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When Jeff Alt (trail name: "Wrongfoot") first decided to hike the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail, he intended to do it alone. As it turned out, several hundred others walked alongside him. Hiking the AT was a longtime personal goal of Alt's, but as he began to plan his trip he realized that he wanted his effort to somehow serve a greater purpose. So he decided to share the experience by turning his adventure into a fundraiser for the Sunshine Home, a facility in Maumee, Ohio that cares for 850 developmentally disabled residents, including his brother, Aaron, who has cerebral palsy. In the seven months leading up to his walk, Alt focused completely on fundraising and training, eventually raising $16,000 that allowed the home to buy much-needed communication devices, lifts, and walkers. He also inspired an annual fundraiser, "Walk with Sunshine," and is contributing part of the proceeds of his book to the cause.
In addition to finishing, Alt's goal once his feet hit the trail was "to share the spirit for which I was walking" with everyone he met, and this he certainly accomplished. In return, he learned a great deal about life from the colorful characters he encountered on the trail, while countless kind strangers offered "trail magic" in various forms, including food, lodging, and greatly appreciated laundry services. He also received overwhelming support from his family and the residents and staff of Sunshine Home, who helped him through quarter-sized blisters, fatigue, and even self-doubt during his 147-day trek. Charming, inspiring, and often funny, A Walk for Sunshine gives readers a good feel for both the logistics involved in undertaking such a journey and the culture of "thru-hiking" the AT. It's also a moving reminder that "living your dream is one thing, but sharing it lets everyone live it with you." --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
ENLIGHTENING and INSPIRING.
Blue Ridge Outdoors
"...There are numerous books on hiking the Appalachian Trail, but Alt tells the story best..."
Maine Outdoor Journal
Alt reflects on how sleeping with a skunk, being chased by a bear, charged by a bull, blisters, insects, and weird food cravings changed him in profound and positive ways.
The News-Press, FL
"Alt nails the Trail experience. A WALK FOR SUNSHINE shares top billing on my book list."
-- Dale Boweman, THE CHICAGO SUN TIMES
"Alt's words amply convey the camaraderie among fellow hikers, the beauty of the eastern mountains, and the hardships on the Appalachian Trail.
-- Walt Young, THE OUTDOOR TIMES
"If you're looking for an adventurous, humorous, and inspirational read, try "A WALK FOR SUNSHINE."
-- Don DeNEVI, Book Reviewer
"Some of the most engaging stories in Alt's book are about eating while on the trail...THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL DIET."
-- Sylvia Carter, Newsday
"With humility and charm, Alt tells his tale with awe for the people and his surroundings...inspiring and entertaining."
-- Todays Librarian
"You will appreciate this story strewn with laughter at nature's antics and stark realities of life. I thouroughly enjoyed this book."
-- Karen Martin, NATURE SOCIETY NEWS
"a fascinating story...A WALK FOR SUNSHINE is absorbing, humorous, and an inspiring true life adventure travelogue."
-- THE INTERNET BOOK WATCH
"A WALK FOR SUNSHINE continues to touch the lives of those who read it.
-- Douglas Siebenaler, Sunshine Incorporated
Jeff combined a physical challenge with a worthwhile cause and ended up with a personal victory." -- --Jean Deeds, author, There are Mountains to Climb --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top customer reviews
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The concept of walking this trail, to become a through walker, has fascinated me for years. Age and health have more or less shut that door for me now, but I do enjoy a good story from those who actually made this wonderful journey. This is certainly one of those good stories. The author's enthusiasm, iron will, commitment and simple bright outlook on life are quite inspirational. Jeff Alt is not a professional writer. Actually, he strikes me as simply "one of us" and this is quite nice. I note that several reviewers have compared Alt's work with that of Bill Bryson, i.e. A Walk In The Woods. I personally could not make that connection. Where Bryson obviously walked very little of the trail, was sarcastic and down right hateful when writing about fellow walkers and the natives of the area, we get the complete opposite with A Walk for Sunshine. Alt has the ability to laugh at him self, has conducted himself as a gentleman, and, with a few justifiable exceptions, has mostly nice things to say about the people he meets, both on and off the trail. This is very refreshing.
I like the writer's apparent honesty. This was a very difficult trip. The author does not gloss that over one bit. On the other hand, he does not indulge in chest beating nor does he become one of those annoying "experts" that we all meet in places and situations such as this. Unlike some other writers who have written about their experiences on this trail, the author stresses that he did prepare himself, spending quite a long time in training and spent countless hours working out the logistics of the trip. If found all of this to be quite interesting.
Alt's relationship with his surroundings was quite well documented. What was difficult was identified as such, what was beautiful was also. It is obvious that Mr. Alt has a great respect for our wilderness and treated it as such. The author also had the valuable ability to laugh at himself, and you get the feeling that while he certainly took his mission to raise money for his cause serious, he never once takes himself that serious. Again, this is refreshing.
This is a very readable book, a true joy. I do recommend this one highly. I have no doubt I will give it yet another read down the road a bit.
The book is a didactive nuts and bolts account of the AT and beginning backpacking and the experiences that go with it. If you've never been out at length he explains:
What is giardia.
Experiencing a lightning storm while camping.
Equipment and food requirements
Basic hiking advice etc.
I rate this book only 3 stars (I state this only for it has an astounding amount of 5 stars) for it's flat description of the experience as a whole. The daily accounts are very dry and the relationships he does form on the trail are simplified by the dialogue and description. I mean no offense to Mr. Alt but it seems as if each day was outlined and then mechanically put into the manuscript without a great degree of redaction or editing.
If you love reading about a great accomplishments for great causes then this is the book for you. If you have an eccentricity about the AT as I do and want to hear an enjoyable presentation ("Walking North by Mic Lowther comes to mind) about the trail nuances, the hikers, and why someone does such a thing (that's not already stated in the title) then I still recommend the book whole heartedly but You may not necessarily be the audience the book was intended for.
In comparison to "Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson, it really is in a separate category. Bryson is a professional writer and a very humorous one, at that. His writing is provocative and interesting. In Bryson's book, the story revolves around much more than hiking and self-glorification that make up the stories of so many "thru-hikers". Bryson is reconnecting not only with his country after a long sojourn but also with his past by walking with an old friend. While his writing is very funny, Bryson is still able to explore ideas that reflect in all of us- our past, our country. Alt's writing won't connect with you unless you've hiked the trail or at least done some major long distance hiking. And then, if you're older, like me, you'll only recognize the wall of bravado that deflects criticism, self-criticism. What the hell am I doing out here? This is why all of these books tend to lose any interest at the end. They came to get away from civilization while hiking to Mt. Katahdin. Then they slowly start to let it creep back in, looking for the cool spots to stay and the famous trail restaurants, getting caught up in trail drama, etc. In the end, they end up looking for civilization on the trail and when they get to Mt. Katahdin, they find the trail ended long ago. For that reason, I just don't think this is a great piece of 5 star literature and I suspect that a lot of these good reviews are really for the wonderful cause that motivates Alt.
I sincerely hope that people don't take this as a knock against Jeff Alt as a person. The guy, by all points of view that I can see, is a very admirable person. He has embraced a cause bigger than himself for people who weren't born with his gifts. If we could all be like that, what a wonderful world this would be. You can tell in his writing that he looks out for others and is the type of person you like to see on the trail. If you want to know what it is like to hike long distance, this is the account for you. I would urge each and every one to donate to his cause, the Sunshine Home.
Most recent customer reviews
After reading this book I felt myself with a much lighter attitude about life,...Read more