Well it’s taken me over two years to get to where I am now. I finished the Appalachian Trail in August of 2012, and I started writing Balancing on Blue shortly after. In fact I completed nearly half the book in six months. Which means the other half has taken eighteen months.
Long distance hiking and writing a book share similar traits. Both demand dedication, and focusing on a goal that, at times, seems so far distant that it’s incomprehensible to think of ever arriving there. It demands toleration of a sometimes solitary existence but, piece by piece, the overall goal eventually arrives.
I’m pleased to say that Balancing on Blue, my Appalachian Trail memoir will be released in March. I would give you an exact date but due to various factors, it’s a little difficult to pinpoint a precise time, but I would say that the early part of the month is likely.
It will be available, as with my other two books, in paperback and Kindle download.
I have also had the book illustrated. A talented, local artist has lovingly taken the task to heart and provided sketches for each chapter.
If you’ve read my other two books, then you will know my style of writing and Balancing on Blue follows on in a similar vein. As well as a bunch of eclectic hiking characters including a juggling world champion, a drug dealer, an Everton fan whose visa was expiring and a sex starved builder from Minnesota, there are other aspects to this book.
Dromomania, From the Latin dromas (runner) and mania (excessive or unreasonable desire, even insanity) is an uncontrollable impulse to wander. Initially, when I was younger, I battled with it but after many years questioning why, I now embrace it and my experience on the Appalachian Trail was merely one more adventure in a life mission to try and placate my raging wanderlust.
Throw in some history of the trail stretching as far back as the Vikings, to the Civil War up to the present day and those that had any doubts that America lacks any history may be in for a surprise.
Myths and legends abound on the trail, carried forward from darker times in the Appalachian hills. Hermits, ghosts, warring tribes and howling dogs in the middle of the night all shed light on life in the woods as a hiker travels 2180 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
This strip of wooded wilderness on the eastern side of America calls to several thousand wannabe thru-hikers every year. Many go on to bigger things such as the Pacific Crest Trail and further.
The usual assortment of wildlife such as snakes, bears and Moose abound and wild variations of climate from sub-zero to sweltering temperatures and sapping humidity were common. Throw in terrain that has since been proved to be tougher than either the Pacific Crest Trail or the Continental Divide Trail and there is no room for complacency.
It’s been humbling answering many enquiries asking when Balancing on Blue will be released over the past two years.
I hope it’s worth the wait!