A Walk for Sunshine: A 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail recounts Jeff Alt’s 1998 northbound thru hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Jeff (trail name ‘Wrongfoot‘) sets out to hike in honor of his brother Aaron, who has cerebral palsy. In preparation for his journey, he also plans to raise funds for Aaron’s home, Sunshine Communities.
Originally aiming to raise $10,000, Jeff ultimately raises $16,000 by the end of his hike. Eventually, his passion and enthusiasm inspired an annual Walk, Run, and Roll fundraiser, which has raised over $500,000 for Sunshine Communities to date.
Easy to read and entertaining, A Walk for Sunshine contains a day-to-day re-telling of Jeff’s adventures. We’re taken through Jeff’s entire journey, from his pre-hike preparation, to the start of his hike on Springer Mountain in Georgia, all the way to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
Along the way, Jeff endures ruthless cold weather, rain for days on end, and has more than one run-in with a skunk. He also meets kind strangers who help him along the way, and he experiences a simpler way of life in the process.
20th Anniversary Edition
Although 20 years have passed, Jeff’s memoirs of the AT are relatable to anyone with interest in long distance hiking.
More than anything, A Walk for Sunshine reminds us that these places and experiences are still out there and waiting for us, along with the unforgettable rolling hills and beautiful vistas that the Appalachian Trail has had in store for hikers since its creation.
The 20th Anniversary Special Edition of A Walk for Sunshine includes Jeff’s advice for planning a thru hike, steps to setup a fundraiser, a note from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Sunshine Communities, and Jeff’s life lessons learned on the trail.
A Lesson for Future Hikers
Only about 25% of those who set out to hike the entire Appalachian Trail will actually complete their journey. From his first steps on the trail, Jeff proves his determination and mental fortitude to complete his hike.
His can-do spirit and his unwillingness to relent to injury, pouring rain, and frigid temperatures set an example that every potential thru hiker can learn from.
An Inspiring Story
By the time I finished A Walk for Sunshine, I was already at my computer, researching my next hike.
I recommend this read to anyone interested in thru hiking, past or present. Whether you’d like to learn more about what life on the trail is really like, or reminisce about your own trail experience, everyone will find something relatable and enjoyable about this book.
Disclosure: A free copy of this book was made available for my review