Book Review #1: Chasing the Smokies Moon

Catchy title isn't it - Chasing the Smokies Moon? I wish I could take credit for it, but I can't. It belongs to a new Author friend I met at Trail Days. Her name is Nancy East and what an amazing story about an amazing lady.

(Bruce - Emily - Nancy at Trail Days Damascus, Virginia)

Photo selfie courtesy of Nancy East


In a previous post I mentioned what an incredible time Bruce, Ziggy, and I had at Trail Days, a ginormous hiker festival in Damascus, Virginia. We were there selling my books and photo art under the authors' tent with nine other fabulous authors. We went away with books from each one of them and we couldn't wait to get back home to begin our summer reading.


We canceled Netflix sometime during our trip since we weren't going to be home anyway to watch TV. We decided it wasn't worth our money or more importantly, our time. Now, instead of curling up on the couch with junk food after work and after supper, we go outside for an evening walk. Ziggy prefers this also. We then do Ziggy's bedtime routine which is so adorable.


We play a little more inside with whichever toy he chooses. He really does have a toy-of-the-day and you can't change his mind. Then Bruce takes him out for one last potty break. Ziggy knows how to pick up his toys that have been strewn throughout the main level of the house, so we do a little bit of "put your toys away" for tiny treats. Once that is done, it's cuddle time on the couch. Cuddle time with an Australian Cattle dog is like hugging a velociraptor. So, I have taught him, more like, I have bribed him with treats, to sit quietly with me on the couch and rest his head on my lap while I steal cuddles. That doesn't last long. Then we go say his prayers. Yep. I taught him to pray. It's so darn cute. He puts his paws on the fireplace hearth, bows his head between them while I recite a prayer, "Dear God, thank you for my doggy treats. Amen!" When I say "Amen," he books it up the stairs into our bedroom and into his crate where he waits patiently for his last treat of the day. I place the biscuits in or on his front paws and he waits until I say, "take it." Sometimes this is several minutes. I then close the gate and go downstairs. Ziggy, drifts off to sleep.

Once the "baby" is down, Bruce and begin our date night. It's fun having a date night every evening. We curl up on the couch, but this time instead of turning on the boob-tube filling our brains with garbage and our guts with buttered popcorn, we fill our water bottles and he grabs a container of lotion. Get your mind out of the gutter, it's not that kind of date. Well, most nights it's not that kind of date. It's story time. I read out loud from one of our new books and he rubs my feet. I truly do have the best hubby in the whole world.


We have been reading from four different books, alternating throughout the day. But this past weekend, we took a drive to Baxter State Park to surprise our son with a picnic. Stephen went to hike Double Top. It's a two hour drive to the trailhead. I usually drive when we go someplace if that someplace is in Maine. But Sunday, Bruce drove and I read.


While I usually am on pins and needles when in the passenger seat riding on back roads, after driving in the mountainous roads with hairpin turns and drop-offs on each side without guardrails in Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia a few weeks ago though, my nerves where more relaxed on Maine's lazy byways and Baxter's tote road. Instead of looking out the window at Maine's beautiful wilderness, I had my nose stuck in Nancy's book. We did however stop for a few iconic photos.


Double Top Mountain


The time flew by as we journeyed with Nancy on her record-setting quest for the fastest known time (FKT) of the Smokies-900. To complete all the trails in the Great Smoky National Park is a feat unto itself, but she and a friend where going for a title. I won't give any spoilers, but I will say it is a must read for anyone who loves adventure.


The book is more than an account of a record-setting hike. Nancy seamlessly weaves her experiences as a search and rescue volunteer with her struggles balancing life as a mother and veterinarian all while attempting to break the current FKT for the Smokies-900. Like most women in today's society, we struggle with self-confidence, guilty about what our roles are "supposed" to be, and forgetting that we too have dreams. Nancy is no different as she honestly exposes her vulnerability to her readers in Chasing the Smokies Moon.

Nancy welcomes any questions you may have by contacting her at Nancyeast.com where you can also order signed copies of Chasing the Smokies Moon. Nancy's book is also available at Amazon. After reading her incredible story, please let her know what you think and whether you buy directly from her or Amazon, please leave an Amazon review.


By the way, we were too late to surprise Stephen, He competed a summit of Double Top before we even arrived at the trailhead. We met him as we were driving in on Baxter's tote road had he was driving out. Bruce was so engrossed in my reading, he didn't even recognize Stephen stopped as we approached. I happened to look up since the car was slowing and said, hey, that's Stephen.


Also, for anyone getting ready to venture into the north Maine woods. Warning: The bugs are out in full force, mosquitoes, black flies, and no-see-ums as we call gnats here in Maine. We stopped to take a photo and I left the car door open. Big mistake, it filled with the little bitting-demons. Bruce used our park pass to squish them. We got a few of them and ushered the rest out the windows as we drove off.


Thanks again for taking time to read my blog and to support other adventure authors. My intent is to continue to do reviews of our summer reading list. My next review will be Alone in Wonderland by Christine Reed. Please let me know what you think about this feature as well as my Ziggy Tails. And if you have any requests about other subjects you'd like me to cover.


Until the next escapade, Happy Hiking,


Emily