I am a retired teacher living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I have lived and worked in the USA, Canada, China, Botswana, Oman, Trinidad, and The Bahamas. I have master’s degrees in English and history which have given me a life-long passion for reading imaginative literature and historical experience. Along with academic writing, I have published several short stories and this novel What Mountains Teach (which is a revised edition of my previously titled Walking Home via the Appalachian Trail). For many years, I have been keeping a journal of experiences to mine for stories which I would like to share with you.
And, yes, I did walk the whole Appalachian Trail.
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What Mountains Teach is a first-person narrative of the midlife crisis of a man learning to love a young woman who grows older. Walt is suffering from a mid-life crisis and is burnt out from teaching. To do something exciting with his life, he decides to hike the Appalachian Trail after discovering a romantic journal written by a younger man named Strider [his younger self]. Hiking down from Harper’s Ferry to Springer Mountain, Walt remembers significant passages written by Strider who, twenty years earlier, had walked over a thousand miles from Mt. Katahdin to Harper’s Ferry. Strider had quit his hike after encountering the love of his life and learning from various women he met along the way that a man needs to make a commitment. Walt, out of shape and cynical, disillusioned and unhappy, wants to be left alone with his thoughts. But as he walks his thousand miles, he has various experiences with hikers who alternately irritate and enlighten him. What he discovers in this longest journey inwards is that his problem is not with his wife but himself and that he must overcome his solitary nature. He succeeds in his goal to finish the AT and is awarded with a big surprise: an essential truth about himself and the difference between the woman he wants to love and the woman he needs to love.