Read about our thru-hiking adventures through our self-published books, one about the Pacific Crest Trail in 2007, the Appalachian Trail in 2011, and lastly, the Continental Divide Trail in 2013.
Join Stopwatch, an inexperienced thru-hiker with a steep learning curve, as she tackles her first long-distance hike, the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, over 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada. She begins the trail with the sole purpose of getting to Canada and quickly realizes she has a lot to learn not only about backpacking, but more importantly, about herself.
Much more than an account of meals, miles and mammals, this book takes key aspects from life on the trail and relates them to how they impact her on a deeper level through valuable lessons learned while traveling one of America’s most beautiful and rugged hiking trails. From the simple lessons regarding the importance of food and water to the deeper questions about personal fulfillment and happiness, Stopwatch covers the gamut, sharing the trail experience with all its joys and challenges.
This book is for those who enjoy and appreciate challenging, life-altering experiences. Even if you never step foot on the trail, the thought-provoking and entertaining stories from Stopwatch’s hike will call on you to evaluate the way you look at yourself, your choices, and the life around you.
Four years removed from her first long-distance hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, Julie, aka Stopwatch, is ready to embark on another thru-hike, this time following the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail, a 2181 mile continuous footpath from Georgia to Maine. She is accompanied by her husband, Matt, aka Optimist, for whom it is his second thru-hike of the AT. They are both burnt out from years of stressful jobs, but are both hopeful that the simplicity of the trail life will recharge their batteries, especially since they have experience on their side.
For Julie, it is a chance to improve the person that she came to be and came to dislike, and for Matt, it is a chance to relive old memories while living the trail life he’d come to love. They are also not alone on the trail. Each day they are presented with new perspectives from the varied cast of trail characters hiking alongside them, a few of which have a lasting impression on their hike.
Join Matt and Julie as they walk down the path of self-honesty in their journey north, as they make their way through rainy weather and rocky terrain, as expectations meet reality, as they meet new people along the way, and as they search for meaning in it all, all the while following the white blazes of the Appalachian Trail.
What is it like to hike the length of the Continental Divide Trail? For Matt and Julie, also known as Optimist and Stopwatch, life on the trail meant twenty-seven days without seeing another hiker, six bears encountered within fifteen hours, two sets of maps, a GPS, and a compass to find the trail, and both wildfires and massive flooding to add to the adventure. Hiking the trail also meant a dramatic shift in perspective, a strengthening of love and friendship, and a redefining of the journey.
This is the story of the couple’s 3,000 mile walk on the Continental Divide Trail, through New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. Both Optimist and Stopwatch play a role in narrating the story, revealing how differently they both think and act in the face of challenges but also how well they work together to complement each other.
Few people know about the Continental Divide Trail and even fewer have hiked the entire length of it, creating an air of mystery surrounding the trail. Optimist and Stopwatch explore the many layers of the trail life on the Continental Divide Trail as they make their way over desolate terrain, eventually finding solace in the very aspects of the trail that made them question their desire to ever take on such a challenge.