View Full Version : There Are Mountains to Climb (review)

Odd Man Out
06-06-2010, 22:27
I just finished reading "There Are Mountains to Climb: An Inspirational Journey" by Jean Deeds. The book is a reflection of the experiences of an AT thru hiker in 1994. The author, Jean Deeds, was at the time a 51 year old single mother from Indiana who as a recent "empty nester" became attracted to the idea of an AT thru hike. Despite the fact that she had little camping or hiking experience she successfully planned and executed her thru hike. Each chapter recounts he experiences and feelings over a period of a week or two, form GA to ME. This is not a "how to" guide. While there is a bit about the technical aspects of planning and executing a hike, the book is mainly about her feelings and interactions with fellow thru hikers. It's an easy read, written with a casual, conversational style. I appreciated her ability to be philsophocal about the experice without coming across as pretentious. I also thought her unusual demographic (i.e. unusual for thru-hikers) as a middle aged, midwestern worman, provided a fresh perspective, especially with regard to the social aspect of thru-hike. I offer this short condensed excert from chapter 29, which seems to give a good summary of her experience:

"So what did I discover in all those months that filled the space between Georgia and Maine?... I learned that I could live outdoors 24 hours a day with minimal comforts and not really miss much of what we so often think of as necessities.... I discovered that bears, coyotes, rattlesnakes, spiders, and mice weren't so scary in their own environment. I remembered how important it is to try new things... I realized that we don't all hike the trail, or live our lives, the same, and that's good... "Hike your won hike": a good rule to follow in life... I recognized anew that you can't tell what people are made of by looking at them or listening to them... I found out that cows don't moo at night... I saw that to get where you are going, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. And sometimes when it's too scary to look down because the bottom is so far away and it's too intimidating to look up becuase the top is pretty far away as well, it works bet to just look straight ahead and go... I learned how to spend time doing nothing that looks productive. I discovered you can get 'most anywhere you want to go on foot. It just takes longer... As my odyssey progressed, I begain to realize I never could have made this journey withou three groups of people: Friends and family members... Felllow thru-hikers... Strangers, the most unexpeced support group, provided food, lodging, a ride, a drink of water, a word of encouragement... It's curious that you can undertake a sloitary journey and return more connedcted to people than ever before.

Freedom Walker
06-06-2010, 23:20
I read Jean Deeds book. Gave me hope that maybe someday I could hike the trail. By the way what has become of her. I tried to find out more about her and couldn't.

06-07-2010, 07:21
I read Jean Deeds book. Gave me hope that maybe someday I could hike the trail. By the way what has become of her. I tried to find out more about her and couldn't.

I met her at a local book signing, have an autographed copy of her book. I Haven't heard anything about her here locally since right after the book came out.

06-07-2010, 07:41
Jean is my mentor. She was the 1st person to take me & a group, we're all still good friends, to the AT. She is doing great! She still loves to hike but not so much backpacking. She is in charge of the schools programming for the Children's Musem in Indianapolis. She is one of the finest women i've ever met. I always reccomend her book to give to family members to read.

06-07-2010, 09:31
Jean is my mentor.....

I just had a Seinfeld flashback. :eek: