Walking Home via the Appalachian Trail

Fiction - General
224 Pages
Reviewed on 08/20/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Michael Herrick is a retired teacher and teacher trainer living in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has lived and worked in Ohio, Texas, Connecticut, Canada, China, Botswana, Oman, Trinidad, and The Bahamas. He has master’s degrees in English and history which have given him a life-long passion for reading imaginative literature and historical experience. He has published several short stories and lots of academic writing. WALKING HOME via the Appalachian Trail is his first novel because he has been constantly distracted by long-distance waking. Having completed the Appalachian Trail and Vermont’s Long Trail, he has walked a thousand miles across England and is exploring France’s Grand Randonnées and Europe’s long-distance paths. For many years, he has been keeping a journal of his experiences to mine for stories. He is working on a second novel about a sedentary man.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Walking Home via the Appalachian Trail is a contemporary fiction novel written by Michael Herrick. Walt was beginning this phase of his Appalachian Trail experience from Harper’s Ferry. He was in his late forties, and his wife and daughters were adamant in their opposition to his taking on this challenge -- but it was something he simply had to do. All the years of teaching uninterested students by day and driving limousines at night to satisfy the endless need for money to pay household bills and expenses and their daughters’ tuition fees had left him feeling more dead than alive. A daring look at a scale confirmed that he was about 40 pounds heavier than the fit and trim Strider whose journal set in motion Walt’s need to continue on. But it did not dissuade him; he simply figured it was an extra 40-pound weight he’d be shouldering along with his overly heavy pack.

Michael Herrick’s contemporary fiction novel, Walking Home via the Appalachian Trail, is a thought-provoking story of one man’s midlife crisis which propels him on a journey into the woods and his future. I’ve read a number of Appalachian Trail memoirs and novels, and I thought I had read just about everything there was on the subject, but Herrick’s tale showed me that was definitely not the case. Once again, I found myself living the Trail experience through another’s eyes, but there was more to this story: more unique experiences to be encountered on the trail, and in the shelters and hostels along the way as seen through the eyes of Walt while he attempts to make sense of his life. Herrick’s writing is elegant and fluid and a sheer pleasure to read, and his character is wonderfully complex: sometimes brutally honest and world-weary and, at other times, he becomes an innocent marveling at his presence and his transformation on the trail. Walking Home via the Appalachian Trail is highly recommended.

Michael Herrick

Here are four more five-star reviews:

Michael Herrick’s compelling novel, Walking Home, traces two journeys on the Appalachian Trail: one made decades ago, the other in the present; one by a young man facing his future, the other by a disheartened middle-aged man unsure how his life got so far off track… The hike presents the ideal opportunity for some soul searching. This is an engrossing tale, well told in colorful and detailed prose… a great escape-read, one that should be enjoyed by a wide audience. Blueink Review

A novel about a middle-aged man’s search for himself on the Appalachian Trail… told with humor and insight; particularly relevant to those embarking on a journey of rediscovery... Although he provides commentary on his hike from West Virginia to Georgia, Walt’s journey is primarily an introspective one… the mountains are merely the backdrop for his inner voyage. Frank accounts of the physical trials he encounters… are eye-opening to anyone contemplating such an ambitious hike… Herrick’s elegant, simple prose and emphasis on Walt’s grudging acquisition of serenity elevate his novel from the level of just another book about hiking the AT. Kirkus Reviews

'If you go down in the woods today....'A middle-aged man embarks on a journey into the soul along the winding Appalachian Trial in this revealing look at unfulfilled expectations and pronounced disillusionment… Teeming with potentially dangerous wildlife and colorful characters… Herrick’s novel is realistic, gritty, and often funny. For those who would not have the courage to step onto the Appalachian Trail… the detailed narrative is a learning experience. Introspective and descriptive scenes are rich and evocative... Vivid imagery of the Appalachian terrain and wildlife allows the timid to live vicariously through this adventurous hiker… Walt’s distinctive personality and snarky sense of humor make him a standout protagonist… a pleasure to read. Five Stars
Julia Ann Charpentier, Foreword Clarion Review

In Walking Home… you are in competent, capable hands with Michael Herrick. This is about as accurate a picture of hiking as you are likely to find…with hints along the way to figuring out other struggles on the deeper, psychological level… More than just the experience of being along for the adventures of this challenging hike, it was even more enriching to be inside the mind of the hiker.
Five stars William R. Schreck, Jr., Barnes&Noble.com