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Reviews > Books > General > Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman > Owner Review by Elizabeth Kibby

Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman

Reviewed by Liz Kibby

April 26, 2014

Owner Review


Tester Information

Name: Liz Kibby

Email: kibby454 at gmail dot com

Age: 21

Location: Western Massachusetts, USA

Gender: Female

Height: 5’4” (1.63 m)

Weight: 121 lb (54.9 kg)


Biography: I am still relatively new to backpacking, although I am an avid day hiker and only truly feel at home in the outdoors. I’ve spent time hiking in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and I am getting ready to begin exploring the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Virginia beginning this summer. I use a hammock and maintain a pack load of about 36 L (2200 cu in) right now, which I am working on reducing. I am comfortable hiking ten to fifteen miles (16-24 km) per day . I enjoy quality energy bars and packaged food that just needs boiling water.


Hiking Through Paul Stutzman
Photo courtesy of publisher.

Product Information


Publisher: Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Grand Rapids, Michigan

Author: Paul Stutzman

Year: 2012

Publisher’s Website:

MSRP: $13.99

ISBN: 9780800720537

Measured Weight: 1.2 lb (0.54 kg), verified


Product Description:

Paperback measuring 5.5 x 8.5 x 1.5 in (13.97 x 21.59 x 3.81 cm). This is the account of Paul Stutzman’s thru-hike of the entire Appalachian Trail, northbound. The book is around 333 pages, and features a page for an Author’s Note, two for the Prologue, seven pages of photos, a five page Epilogue, and two pages of acknowledgements. The cover features a beautiful picture of the trail and mountains, along with a partial map. The back has recommendations, a summary, and info about the author. The book has been printed on quality paper, so it does have a little weight to it. Might not be ideal for a trip if weight is an important factor. Also available in e-book format. 



Before I read this book, I thought I wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. By the time I was ten pages in, I was committed to getting out there this Spring.

When I bought the paperback, I intended to read it fast then sell it. Instead I consumed the first half greedily, but then became reluctant to read, as I realized I didn’t want it to be over.

Now I can’t imagine selling it, because I am going to need to reread it at least a dozen times more.

Paul Stutzman was not an experienced or physically prepared hiker when he made his journey to Springer Mountain in Georgia. But he was seeking what the trail had to give: peace and freedom.

Stutzman concluded his trip to Mount Katahdin because he did have the one thing that the trail rewards above all: faith. Faith can come in many forms, and his happened to be religion, but there are all sorts of faiths.

True belief in oneself, the universe, God, or even the idea of finishing the trail can all serve as motivators more powerful than any type of physical readiness to undertake such a mission, as Paul describes eloquently and with perfect humor.

What brought him to the trail was something that rather a lot of people end up going for: suffering a loss and needing to heal from it.

Paul accomplished his goal and then some. Going from managing a restaurant for 15 years, to completely isolating himself to nature and the trail, is a huge transition for a man attempting to thru-hike an entire 2,176 mile (3501.9 km) journey in one try.

Instead of quitting or whining, Paul made himself the 91st hiker to succeed in finishing that year. His story is full of funny moments alongside more sentimental and profound musings of life, God, and death.

His account is so descriptive and is full of the rich history of the AT throughout the years. He writes about trail legends, past events, and the inspiring people to be found on the trail.

Reading his imagery and seeing his original photos made me feel as if I was already a member of the extensive trail community, and that I had already been changed by the AT itself.

Full of wit and candor, readers will learn of common mishaps, significant landmarks, and richly described Mother Nature while they walk beside Paul on his journey of the heart.

The author knew that God was walking alongside him on the trail, watching over him and ensuring a safe return home. He wasn’t planning on all the others he inspired to be walking with him as well.

Paul found his purpose on the trail; to share his experiences in life and the outdoors with others. I think anyone thinking about attempting a thru-hike should really read this book, and understand what a through hike is all about: experiencing nature and oneself in its entirety, to truly let the trail into your heart.

Stutzman has two other works published. A more recent account of biking 5,000 miles (8046.7 km) across the country, entitled Biking Across America and a first novel, called The Wanderers, both of which I plan to devour as soon as possible.

This man has an amazing way of writing that is rare to be found. His journey is incredible and so is he.


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Reviews > Books > General > Hiking Through by Paul Stutzman > Owner Review by Elizabeth Kibby

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