Saturday, May 19, 2012


Hiking Through: One Man's Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail

After Paul Stutzman lost his wife of 36-years to breast cancer, he sensed a tug on his heart--the call to a challenge, the call to pursue a dream. Looking for a greater purpose, Stutzman left his stable career, traveled to Georgia and took his first steps on a 2,176-mile journey through fourteen states known as the Appalachian Trail (AT). What he learned during the next five months changed his life--and will change readers' lives as well.

In Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail (May 2012), readers will join Stutzman, known as Apostle on the trail, on his remarkable hike through fourteen states in search of peace and a renewed sense of purpose. A grieving Stutzman spent 138 day immersing himself in nature and befriending fellow hikers to find healing and closure. “I’d traveled the sad road of death and grieving,” writes Stutzman. “It was time to find my path back to life and living.”

Confused and wondering if God even had a plan for his life, Stutzman set on out the AT. “I set out to find out the answer. I know it does not make much sense to the average person but I believe God called me out to the wilderness to teach me lessons.” These lessons came from strangers he met along the trail. A Catholic Priest on a sabbatical, a young man recently divorced, wealthy folks and poor folks all contributed to his healing. Everyone was equal on that difficult trail from Georgia to Maine.

Paul Stutzman is a former restaurant manager who left his career after his wife's death from breast cancer. He hiked the Appalachian Trail in search of peace, healing, and freedom. His passion and mission is to share what he learned on that remarkable journey. Paul grew up in the Mennonite church. When he is not hiking or on a cross-country bike ride he makes his home in Berlin, Ohio.


After suffering the loss of his wife to cancer, Paul Stutzman gave up his career in the restaurant business to pursue a longtime dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail.  In his book, "Hiking Through", the reader will not only accompany him on his physical journey, but on his spiritual journey as well.

This book has appeal for different types of readers on different levels.  For those who dream of hiking the trail ( or those who already have), for lovers of the outdoors, people who seek adventure if only from the safety of their armchair, this is the perfect book.  For those who have lost someone and find it difficult to heal, this book will speak to them.  And for those who have ever questioned, "Why, God?" in any situation, this book will be helpful to them, as well.

I try to write book reviews from an impersonal view, but it would be impossible for me to do so this time.  For a long time, I have been fascinated with the AT, but for health reasons, will probably never make the trip.  So, I lived vicariously through his experiences.  His Mennonite background was interesting to me, as he is from "Amish Country" in Ohio, and I have traveled there on various occasions.  And, like I suppose everyone, I have sometimes looked at situations and wished for answers that didn't seem to come.

His story, while at times so emotional and personal, is laced with humor.  Just when you feel that you're going to have to reach for a Kleenex, he relates an experience that causes you to laugh out loud.  The chapter in which he discusses his religious background was one of my favorites.  The debate over whether or not to have a television in the house was topped only by the car radio anecdote.  

In short, whether you need answers, or you just need a good read and a good laugh, this book will do the trick.  On a scale of 1 to 5 hikers, I would give this one a 6.

5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Baker Publishing Group  <http://www.  > book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”   



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