Stumbin’ Thru

A. Digger Stolz has written a very funny and accurate to life on the Appalachian Trail.  The hiking characters that crisscross his path early on may or may not turn out to be major players, but they have real depth and I became curious what becomes of them.   Of course, everyone has a nickname on the trail.  The book is driven by the characters as the plot is simple and pre-ordained.

Book 1 – Stumblin’ Thru Hike Your Own Hike

Welcome to the world of the Appalachian Trail. Every year, thousands of pilgrims arrive at Georgia’s Springer Mountain and set off with hopes of reaching Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Roughly ten percent ever complete the journey. It’s more than likely that in the AT’s long, storied history, Walter is the first person to thru-hike against his will. He is out-of-shape, out-of-sorts and, now that his wife has decided enough is enough, he’s out of the house too. It’s that classic scenario: Hike or ELSE! Since the poor, morose Walter can’t figure an ‘ELSE’ he sets off on the longest walk of his life.   While braving the great Eastern woods, Walter meets an eclectic cast of hopeful thru-hikers. As they journey northward, this rollicking band suffers through every hardship that America’s premiere hiking trail can throw at them. It isn’t long before Walter is looking at life through new eyes and just maybe for the first time in forever, starting to feel better about the world and his place in it. But no way is that alone going to be enough to get him to Maine.

Book 2 – Stumbin’ Thru – Keepin’ on Keepin’ On

After his big epiphany in Damascus, Bartleby resumes inching his way northward along the Appalachian Trail with a newfound determination. Despite struggling beneath the unresolved weight of his previous life and a too-heavy backpack, he still somehow manages to keep moving forward—step after step, mile after mile. Joining Bartleby on this journey is an ever-changing crew of oddballs and outsiders, the wandering men and women of the Appalachian Trail. With white blazes marking the way and little adventures around every corner, Bartleby & Company push through the Mid-Atlantic States and climb into the mountainous wilds of New England. Here concludes the story of a middle-aged man thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail against his will, against his better judgment and against all odds.

A work of fiction, but a great winter time read.

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