Book Review: A Walk For Sunshine by Jeff Alt

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Title:  A Walk for Sunshine
Subtitle:  A 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail, 3rd Edition
Author:  Jeff Alt
Publisher:  Dreams Shared Publications; 3rd edition (September 12, 2009)
ISBN:  978-0967948232
Pages: 304 (paperback)

From the Publisher:

Critically acclaimed author and speaker, Jeff Alt takes you over 2,000 miles along the Appalachian Trail with personal narration, music, and slides. Alt shares edge of your seat tales involving bears, bugs, blisters, skunk bedmates, and hilarious food cravings intertwined with profound “life lessons” that he has transferred to life in the real world. Alt walked over 5 million steps buoyed by the knowledge that his walk was dedicated to his brother who has cerebral palsy. Alt’s adventure inspired an annual fundraiser which has raised over $180,000 for the Sunshine Home where his brother lives. Experience the success of turning dreams into goals and achieving them. Based on select stories from his critically acclaimed book, as performed in National Parks and other venues across the country. Alt caps off the movie by providing gear lists, tips for the beginning hiker, and for taking your children hiking.

About the Author (from Amazon):

Jeff Alt’s adventures have been featured on ESPN, Hallmark Channel, in the AP and more. Alt is a celebrated author and a talented speaker. Alt’s book, A Walk for Sunshine, won the Gold in the 2009 “Book of the Year” awards sponsored by Fore Word Reviews, it took first place winner in the 2009 National Best Books Awards Sponsored by USA Book News and won a Bronze in the 2010 “Living Now Book Awards” sponsored by Jenkins Group. Alt is a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA). Alt has walked the Appalachian Trail, the John Muir Trail with his wife, and he carried his 21-month old daughter across a path of Ireland.

My Review:

Hiking the Appalachian Trail from beginning to end as a through hiker has been one of my dreams ever since I joined the Outing Club in college. Personally, just the idea that I could spend months in the woods and live to tell about it sounds absolutely amazing! To conquer mountains, enjoy peaceful sunrises, and commune with nature are all aspects of this journey that I find appealing.

What I really loved about A Walk For Sunshine was that Alt doesn’t sugar coat the journey. He has blisters, he smells, he is constantly hungry, and at one point he ended up sleeping with a skunk! Despite all these minor setbacks, he still manages to convey the beauty of the trail and the inspiration that keeps him going. He also managed to raise over $200,000 for the Sunshine House on his journey! Truly amazing!

The author has an amazingly engaging writing style that made me want to keep turning the pages through the entire 2,000 miles of the journey. His story is at times amusing, introspective, and inspirational….it simply makes you feel good! And there were a few points where I just laughed out loud at the stories he told!

Alt’s descriptions of some of his trail ‘friends’ and fellow hikers leave you feeling like you know them all, just a little bit! There are discussions of the types of terrain he encounters, stories of his run-ins with various wildlife, daydreams about assorted food cravings, and a host of other daily dilemmas that he had to solve. This is not a ‘how to’ guide…Alt’s book is more of an inspirational journal, showing us not only what he encountered but how each of these encounters effected him, personally.

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The book I received for review came with A Walk For Sunshine / Appalachian Trail Show-DVD shown at right. This is a 67 minute DVD that walks you through his journey in a similar format to the book, although with the inclusion of many photographs that were taken along the way. The combination of personal narration, photos, and accompanying music was very moving!

If you are a lover of the outdoors, you will really enjoy this book. Alt gives tips at the end of the book to encourage kids to get outside and learn to appreciate hiking and spending time in the woods. As a parent, I am passionate about teaching my kids how to enjoy nature and I love that this is a cause he supports!


Next week, I will have a list of tips and suggestions from Jeff Alt on how to teach your kids to get out and enjoy nature! Please check back next week for a great story!

Disclaimer: As per FTC guidelines, I received product samples in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone.

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