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A Walk for Sunshine: A 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail, 3rd Edition Paperback – September 12, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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 an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dreams Shared Publications; 3rd edition (September 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967948231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967948232
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,257,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on January 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
What a great read! I must confess that this was one of those books that I found quite difficult to put down once I read the first few pages. As has been well covered in other reviews, briefly stated, this is the story of a young man who takes the challenge of the Appalachian Trail and hikes all 2,160 miles of it in one shot, to raise money for the Sunshine Home, a home for the developmentally disabled where his brother lives.

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.
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By Alicia on September 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was hard to put down! As a novice hiker, I could not wait to learn more about Jeff's adventures on the trail. The prospect of spending several months hiking and sleeping in the woods is overwhelming to me, but Jeff was able to write about it in a manner that even those who know nothing about hiking or camping can appreciate. Humerous, inspirational, and downright entertaining...and he's right about the rocks in Pennsylvania!
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Format: Paperback
You will love this book! An inspirational journey down the AT to raise money for a worthy cause. Alt's style will engage even the most reluctant of readers and will leave you wanting more. Anyone who is at all interested in the outdoors will eat this book up. I couldn't stop reading, and the miles kept flying by. If you like this book you might also want to try Bill Bryson's 'A Walk in the Woods'.
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Format: Paperback
A brisk mile around the block toting a water bottle is a just the right walk for me so reading about someone who enjoys a 2160 mile hike lugging a 50 pound backback is mind boggling. While I enjoy my comforts, a cozy bed, sweet smelling clothes, tasty meals, moderate weather etc. Jeff Alt, doesn't mind roughing it with a sleeping bag, sweaty duds, freeze dried food and braving the elements.

Reading Jeff's journey is awesome. I have the benefit of getting an idea of what it is like to walk the Appalachian Trail without actually having to do it. I mean something inside me wants to be adventuresome but the truth is I know I wouldn't make it past the first couple miles.
To successfully walk the trail you have to really want it. There is a lot of planning involved. Selecting just the right gear, arranging for the right amount of food.....the list goes on. Once on the trail you encounter a variety of experiences that you have to be mentally prepared for from wild animals (and people) to bad weather to health issues.
Jeff is pretty detailed about his experiences. He discusses the nitty gritty from smelly socks to foot blisters.

Though Jeff had a mission for his journey (to raise funds for The Sunshine Home, where his brother is a resident) you can read through the lines and know that he loves the discipline and conditioning of the trail.

The softcover 285 book is an entertaining read. I especially enjoyed the back section, Jeff's lessons from the trail. These were lessons he learned while walking. Lessons like the simplest things can serve the biggest rewards, go after your dreams now and more! He also includes a suggested reading list at the back of the book.

Kudos to Jeff for the great read, what he accomplished and the beautiful, positive way he shares his story.

Lee Mellott
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Format: Paperback
This thoroughly enjoyable tale of an unselfish hiker who undertakes a thru-hike for charity is a must read for any hiker. The book is entertaining, moving, witty, and inspirational. Having read numerous books by thru-hikers, this one is the best. I hiked a section of the AT in Virginia several years ago, and after reading Jeff's story, I was motivated to again get back to the trail. Happy hiking!
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Format: Paperback
Jeff Alt has a mission: reacquaint the world with the beauties and the challenges of Nature and find inner peace and the source of human kindness. And if that sounds like a hopelessly impossible task for these times in which we live, then his A WALK FOR SUNSHINE just may change that. It is difficult, if not impossible, to read this entertaining and meaningful book and not rearrange mindsets as to priorities and the significance of living in the moment. Jeff Alt may not be an academically trained writer, or a student of philosophy, or a prophet sent among us to alert our attention to environmental issues and the importance of family, but in Alt's case, those 'restrictions' allow him to relate in more simple honest terms a life altering experience and stimulate each of us to find our own dream journey - and follow it!

The story is well summarized in all the reviews of this revised version of A WALK FOR SUNSHINE (and Epilogue has been added to make the events of the book more accessible to the novice hiker/reader). In 1998 Alt make the trek from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail of 2160 miles, on foot, surviving in the 'wilderness' to prove that he 1) could accomplish his dream of thru-hiking the treacherous trail and 2) to raise money for the Sunshine Home for the Disabled, a home that cares for his brother Aaron, a young lad with Cerebral Palsy. Like any fine journal the author writes of the agonies, the physical challenges, the struggles with sustenance among the wildlife and the extremes of Nature's seasonal changes while at the same time offering anecdotes both hilarious and heartwarming, moments when he bonded with trail partners and moments when Nature seemed determined to squelch his drive to complete his journey.
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