Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Walk for Sunshine

A Walk for Sunshine: A 2,160 mile expedition for charity on the Appalachian Trail by Jeff Alt is a unique kind of adventure story. When Jeff Alt set out on his expedition, it was not for any selfish purpose of self-discovery. He wanted to take something that he loved, and use it to help someone he loved. He chose to make his journey, raising money for the Sunshine Children's Home outside Toledo, OH. His brother, Aaron, was born with cerebral palsy and mental retardation, and lives at the Sunshine Children's Home. This fundraiser was a great way to say thank you, and he was able to provide money for purchasing communication devices and other equipment that improves the residents' way of life. This story holds a special place in my heart, as I am originally from the Toledo, OH area, and know the Sunshine Children's Home quite well.

The 36 chapters contained within the book break up the journey into entertaining little blurbs about life on the trail. You feel like you are right there with Jeff as he makes his way through every kind of weather imaginable. He shivers through sub-zero temperatures, then swelters in temps above 100 degrees. He gets saturated in rainfall that lasts for fifteen days, then has endless sunshine allowing him to truly view the natural beauty of the trail.

Maps precede each chapter, charting Jeff's progress along the way. He shares his problem solving techniques, and strategies designed to make his hike as successful as possible. Two of these include having packages regularly sent to him along the way, and meeting up with friends and family for a day or two of joined hiking.

Along the way, Jeff encounters a range of characters that vary in temperament almost as much as the weather. Even the briefest encounter allowed for a lifelong memory and learning experience. He learns from people and animals, even having some of each as bed mates. He also discovers a new sense of power and courage that had been hibernating until this point.

Adding to the story are tips about both cerebral palsy and hiking. One appendix provides information from the United Cerebral Palsy organization, while another goes into more detail about the Sunshine Children's Home. He also shares an epilogue about life lessons learned from the trail, as well as checklists for going hiking with or without family.

A review copy of this book was provided via my association with BookPleasures.

Purchase A Walk for Sunshine: A 2,160 Mile Expedition for Charity on the Appalachian Trail, 3rd Edition

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