Book Review #6: Steve Adam's Book Duo

Welcome back to my book review series. It's been awhile since the last one, for good reasons. First, the book we were reading was a two-part series by Steve Adams, owner of the Hiking Radio Network. Obviously, it takes longer to read two books instead of one. Secondly, as mentioned in my Monday's blog post, hubby and I were on a flurry visiting our son on his last legs of his own Appalachian Trail thru-hike. While we did bring our book to read, which we did by headlamp once, we didn't always have time to read each day. We did finish it though at the base of Katahdin. As we waited for Patch do descend, we sat in the parking lot of Roaring Brook reading the end of Steve's Journey as Patch was finishing his. It was epic and emotional for both of us.


We met Steve at Trail Days in Damascus, Virginia this year. He was in the author tent along with us and several others who I have done previous reviews on and still have a couple more books to read and review. He was an endearing chap whom with one spoken word grabbed the attention of passer-bys with his charming English Accent. When I wasn't interacting with my own guests, I too couldn't help but be captivated by that dialect from across the pond.


Steve hiked the trail in 2014 and in 2019. When he heard, I too had hiked the trail twice, he commented, "What fool would hike the trail twice?" If you listen to his interviews on the Hiking Radio Network, you will learn that line is one of his trade marks. I kind of agree, what fool would hike it once, let alone twice. A fool who marches to his own drum does. A fool who dances to her own dance does. Someone who flies their own plane does. Someone who isn't worried about what other's think does. But any fool who does decide to follow those white blazes only becomes all the wiser to what truly matters in life.


MY APPALACHIAN TRIAL I : Three Weddings and a Sabbatical, and MY APPALACHIAN TRIAL: Creaking Geezer, Hidden Flagan are about Steve's first hike in 2014. Since I had met Steve, as I read I could hear that English Accent as his story unfolded with each turn of the page. He was what you would call an a-typical thru-hiker. He was older than the average thru-hiker, overweight, and had zero backpacking experience. So why choose to hike? You can find that out when you grab his two books.


If you've been around this site long, you might have learned that I am a tad impatient, a character flaw I work on every day. Part way through the second book, I remember slapping the book down in my lap, looked at hubby (remember, I read to him as we cuddle on the couch or better yet, he rubs my feet), and exclaimed, "ENOUGH ALREADY WITH THE SAME OLD SAME OLD. WHEN IS THIS GOING TO END!!! I was getting more than irritated with his rehashing of the same events over and over. But we continued and our mantra each night before we began to read was, "Let's see what stupid thing Steve Does this this time."


How soon had I forgotten that, that's what hiking the AT is actually like! It's the same thing over and over and over again with mishaps, follies, blunders, and stumbles from Georgia to Maine with a handful of Ah-ha moments scattered amongst the boredom and hum-drum. So we continued our read of Steve's Adventure and just like so many other times for me when things get tough, or irritating, or annoying, as I chug along and keep going, the situation improves.


That reminds me of a saying I once heard, when you are going through hell, don't stop there, keep going until you get to the other side, unless you enjoy the heat. Not that reading Steve's book was like going through the netherworld, just the opposite, it was quite enjoyable. I just had that one moment of wanting to get 'er done.


Several weeks ago I had another I can't take this any more moment. That time it was with Ziggy. I should save this for a Ziggy Tails post but it fits well here. It seems like every three to four months our little furbaby turns into a demon and I wonder what on earth I have done and contemplate if rehoming is needed. The breakdown, usually ends with me in tears crying while wild-dog is terrorizing me.


Then while doing a short hike to Barren Ledges just the other day after a meet and greet with Patch as he flew by a trailhead, I was hiking solo with Ziggy while Bruce hiked ahead at his own pace. We had a turn-around time. It was the most aggressive climb I had done this summer. Slow and steady was my speed. My turn-around arrived and I was glad because steep ledge was still in front of me. But not wanting to be a quitter just because it was tough, I decided to ignore the clock and kept scrambling up the incline. I was so glad I did. It wasn't more than 20 yards and the trail smoothed out to a leisurely hike to the view points where I was reunited with Bruce.


When I had my Ziggy trial, I reached out to another Australian Cattle Dog experienced owner for encouragement. It was just what I needed to refocus. I wasn't giving up on him, even though I was certainly feeling at the moment I couldn't handle him any longer. Just like I continued hiking through the rough spot even though the time said I should have quit, Ziggy's behavior said I should have quit, but I didn't. the following week and since, we have had some great strides. It is unbelievable how he is maturing into everything we hoped he would become. We knew this breed would be a handful, we were shocked at how much we underestimated it. But we keep going and each day we are rewarded with staying the course.


And just like when I thought I couldn't take reading the same things over and over again in My Appalachian Trial II, if we would have stopped reading, we would have missed the epic ending that brought back so many of my own trail-ending feelings. The repetitiveness was a key part of developing the story of the trials that Steve had to overcome. I'm sure about the time I was saying, "Enough!" Steve saying it also as he was enduring it all.


Steves books are well written and worth a read. But before you do that, I suggest you listen to a few of his podcasts on the Hiking Radio Network. It's not just your ordinary hiking podcast. After completing his thru-hike, he wanted to stay connected to the trail and the community like so many of us do. He again set out into the unknown with any knowledge of podcasting and probably the most successful podcast for hikers was born. Each week on Thursday morning, a new episode is released. He is on episode #339. My favorite two episodes are #329 and #337. If you listen, you'll see while. 😀


Take away: Remember, when you are going through some crap. Don't stop, things will get better. Conversely, Great things end also, so enjoy them while you can.


Thanks to Steve Adams - Might Blue - for a fantastic read and for all you do on Hiking Radio Network to keep up fools connected. You Rock!!!


Happy Hiking,


Emily