Appalachian Trail story is fascinating and frightening

The title of Richard Judy’s fascinating novel, Thru – An Appalachian Trail Love Story – does hint at part of the story, but there’s a lot more to this intriguing book, published by the Appalachian Trail Museum, which receives all the proceeds from book sales.

Judy lives in Georgia, so I was surprised when I received a copy of the book from him. But then I decided he must have read my review of D. Dauphinee’s book, When You Find My Body, about Gerry Largay and her death after she got lost hiking theAppalachian Trail in Maine. The first two days that review was posted, 16,000 people read it.

Judy thru-hiked the AT in 1973, and his novel includes lots of information about the hike, both the good and the bad.

In his story, a bunch of hikers meet up early on the trail and decide to do the long hike together. And yes, love does blossom between some of this group, but there’s a lot more to the story than that.

The hiking group runs from the age of 18 to senior citizens. I especially enjoyed the story of the very fat guy who struggled mightily to keep up with the others. There were lots of injuries along the way, with horrific weather.

I like the way Judy told the story through the eyes and journal entries of the hikers. And by the time they finished the journey and stood atop Mount Katahdin, I felt like I was right there beside them.

Yup, I’ve climbed Katahdin many times. But I’ll never hike the AT.  So I have to thank Judy for sharing this great hiking story with me.

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,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.