Maine man’s walk across America filled with danger, colorful characters, beauty, and great stories

Somehow Nate Damm, tossing aside everything in his life to walk 3,200 miles across America, confused and alone, became a wonderful writer. Maybe it happened in Kansas, because despite all the warnings to avoid that state, Nate loved it. You tend to do well the things you love.

And finally, 3 years later, we have a book to prove that I am right about Nate’s writing. Life on Foot – A Walk Across America is compelling, often funny, sometimes sad, definitely inspiring. And darn that Nate, he launched his book before I got mine out there. He beat me by four days! Somewhat ironically, my book is titled A Life Lived Outdoors. But my outdoor adventures can’t top Nate’s!

Nate is my nephew and I must confess that I didn’t think he would make it from the Atlantic Ocean on the Delaware coast to the Pacific Ocean in San Francisco. He did come close, several times, to giving up. Today, he’s one of the country’s best known walkers, a guy who advises others who want to hit the roads and trails of America, with his own website (natedamm.com), constant publication of new columns emailed to his many fans, and a plan to repeat the walk with his new girlfriend.

Mags better read this book before they set out! Nate doesn’t sugarcoat the walk. There was plenty of danger, especially from drivers, and lots of tough days and nights. As he lay in his drenched sleeping bag one night, trying to wait out a terrible storm, I think I may have started shivering myself! His encounter with a charging bear was chilling too. The night he had to fight off four wild and vicious dogs was frightening. It’s a good thing his mother didn’t know any of this until she read the book!

But what will stick with me after gobbling up the book last weekend, is the astonishingly friendly and generous people Nate encountered along the way. Every time I thought, man, he just isn’t going to survive this time, someone pops up to give him a room, a meal, a $20 bill, or, yes, sometimes a beer.

The story about the couple who tracked him down on the road so he could join them for Easter dinner is soooo wonderful. Nate fell in love with Eureka, Nevada, a place that sounds very much like my small Maine town of Mount Vernon. Maybe he recognized home?

Nate's book coverThroughout the book, we get some very colorful characters, interesting tidbits of history, descriptions of the amazing and beautiful terrain (ok, it wasn’t all beautiful, but a lot of it was), and details that will fascinate, entertain, and impress you.

When you finish the book, you’ll know why I am so very proud of my nephew, Nate Damm.

NOTE: Nate’s book is available at Amazon. You can purchase a printed copy, or download it and pay whatever you want. Please be generous!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. George also hosts, with Harry Vanderweide, a TV talk show called Wildfire, now in its 13th year and focused on hunting, fishing, environmental, and conservation issues. The show is owned and produced by Maine Audubon and seen on its website as well as on the Time Warner cable TV station throughout the state.