Dear Mr. Stutzman (Apostle Paul),

I just finished reading Hiking Through and thought I’d share the impact ofyour story on me.

Hiking Through was loaned to me by a gentlemen I recently met in New Hampshire. Like you, he lost his wife to illness. As an avid hiker, Steve experienced a personal connection with your story and thought it might help me understand what he could not put into words.

Your story invoked both great joy and deep sorrow. I smiled and laughed at some of your descriptions of people, places and events along your trek; however, several times I could not continue reading, for my eyes were clouded with tears. Your steadfast dedication to your goal, through all the adversity and triumphs you experienced on the Appalachian Trail, helped put into perspective some of the obstacles and opportunities I’ve been presented in my own life. But more importantly, it showed me what a person can accomplish in spite of the pain and sorrow that many never overcome.

It helped me begin to understand what Steve went through with the loss of his wife. It touched my heart and started me down a path of examining what’s important in my own life, especially with my 40th wedding anniversary fast approaching.

A bit of background – my wife and I recently moved to New Hampshire, leaving central Ohio (Licking County) after 36 years of school and work. I left two rewarding but stressful careers (engineering and motorcycling) to focus on making our remaining years together meaningful. My wife sacrificed much (my work involved frequent travel and many hours of working at home) so I could serve the constituents of my employers. My goal now is to make our remaining time together worthwhile, not only for us but for those in our community and those I was blessed to know during my careers.

Early next year, I’ll have an opportunity to speak at a conference, before a group of people I’ve addressed several times before. My presentation this time will be different – I plan to speak about choices in life. I’d like to summarize the story of your friend’s death when you were fifteen years old and to read the paragraph in the chapter “Let’s Go Left” (last paragraph, page 114) about Choices. Your words tie together my choice to leave my careers; another very personal choice I made this summer; and the results of research I’m doing now to motivate people to make better choices in their own personal lives.

You hoped your story would be read by people who needed to read it. Steve, my new New Hampshire friend, needed to read it. He understood that Hiking Through would help me to get to know him better and understand his journey of healing. Your story did indeed reach two people who benefitted from your words, wit and wisdom.

Thank you for sharing your deeply personal and moving story.


Imre S

What our lovely readers have said about it:

  1. Johnanna Weaver says:

    Great story, blessed

  2. Michael Badders says:

    Paul, thank you for writing this book and sharing your life and God’s message with the world. I too have a dream to hike the AT. Thank you for showing the way!

    Michael Badders
    Hendersonville, TN

  3. Cindy says:

    Just finished Hiking Through – always love reading stories about the AT. Thank you for sharing – very well written. Hope you’re enjoying your life now.

  4. AllanW says:

    Greetings Brother,
    I travel for work, not the fun kind of travel like hiking or biking but on a plane every week. I picked up your Hiking Through book in the airport. I also immediately devoured Biking Across America and thoroughly enjoyed both great books. You and I share a passion for the Lord and adventure. I enjoy adventurous biking and motorcycle trips and I believe God can use what we enjoy as an opportunity for divine encounters to minister His love to others. Thank God for the ministry He has called you to and may God direct your path as you trust in Him and acknowledge Him in all your ways!

  5. Ginny says:

    I have had your book sitting on my shelf for awhile. When headed to the beach for a week I took it with me. I had no idea what a very special blessing reading your book would be! As I spent hours relaxing at the beach listening to the waves and feeling the warmth of the sun, I journeyed through your story of incredible loss, searching, hiking, God’s love and guidance, and healing. It is hard to put into words what a special experience it was reading your book.
    Each time I began reading it, I would read, stop,and reflect on all you had just shared and felt God’s strong presence.
    It touched me -as someone who has enjoyed hiking and is drawn to the AT and all that thru hikers endure and encounter to accomplish their goal, as a Believer who seeks God’s direction, comfort, and love, and as someone who can forget to be in the moment and remember the beauty and blessings all around us each day and to be fully aware and appreciative. Your story impacted me each time I read the next part. I felt like you as you reached Katahdin and didn’t want the hike/ journey to end, I didn’t want your book to end. It had been a special journey for me reading it. A joy and a blessing!

  6. Lucas B says:

    Just finished your book hiking through. Thanks for writing it and sharing your story.

  7. Liz P says:

    I just finished reading Hiking Through, and I thank you for sharing your story and your adventure. I dream of being a thru hiker, and have previously done some section hikes. As I near 60 years old, I ponder what my retirement years will be like and what I will be able to accomplish. I feel the power of God directed me to your book, and I thank you and Him for that! I am also a biker, dreaming of a cross America ride, so I’m excited about reading your book Biking Across America! I have previously done 100-150 mile rides, and wonder what it would be like to ride for a thousand miles or more! Like you did! Sometimes I find my fear of the unknown gets in the way of making a decision to plunge into something so daunting, and I admire how you’ve delved into your adventures. I aspire to do the same! Perhaps someday we will meet on a trail or a ride, until that day, take care and keep on adventuring!

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