Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, and an Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan is published by William Morrow. It tells the story of my adventures with Atticus M. Finch, a little dog of some distinction. You can also find our column in the NorthCountry News.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Appalachian Trail Name: Atticus

Years ago, when Atticus and I were hiking several times a week, I gave some thought to hiking the Appalachian Trail with him. I was excited by the endurance challenge of through-hiking the entire 2,100-plus miles in one attempt. I've always been fascinated by the A.T., even before we started hiking. 

Reality set in, though, and I decided against it. Atticus could hike in the snow, but he didn't like hiking in the rain. Because it rains so often on the A.T. during the months we'd be hiking, I decided it would not be fair to him. 

Although I've not regretted the decision, through-hiking the A.T. is something that still holds an abundance of romance for me.

This spring, however, there will be an Atticus on the trail, and the thought has me smiling while considering it. 

The following email came in this weekend, and I'm sharing it with permission. Here's wishing Jerry Wheeler success during his attempt.  

Hi Tom, 

I met you at the Will's Red Coat event at Hub City Bookstore and Press. Thank you again for coming to South Carolina. As I told you I am hiking the Appalachian Trail beginning on April 30 due in a great part to your vivid descriptions of the White Mountains and the adventures you and Atticus shared. 

Your books have changed my life in a positive and uplifting manner, and I want to honor you and Atticus. 

Because your books and one little dog inspired me to do my "soul work" as Atticus did after his eye surgery, I have taken the trail name "Atticus." With your permission, of course. 


Warmest regards,  

Jerry Wheeler

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

This has me shedding tears.

Gayle Cluff said...

What a true honor❤️

Lori said...

Aw, such a nice email and we all can smile a bit knowing Atticus will be inspiring his hiking namesake on the this special trail.

Putman Lake Designs said...

How marvelous! 💖

Diane Hawey said...

That is so awesome!

Ed Ryan said...

The best of luck to you. Having that trail name means filling Atticus’ shoes (or in his case Muttlucks!), which will be no easy feat. Having shared a trail or two with Atticus, he embraced them all with wonder and enthusiasm! It’s very nice that you chose that trail name.

Christina said...

Now if I see post with pictures of you looking out into distant places- Please forgive me if I refer to you as the Little Buddha- for this will be the greatest compliment any living soul could honor.
Happy Hiking!! Looking forward to following Atticus on his adventures on the AT and maybe we will see you in the White Mountains for some Trail magic!

Janice Greene said...

Wow! This is so very special! Atticus is truly an inspiration!

Denise O'Reilly said...

Atticus lives on in the hearts of so may of us who have read your amazing, heartfelt stories!

Anonymous said...

An honor that Atticus truly deserves

black sheep #2 said...

This is so cool! And an honor for you and Atticus. Hike on! 🌲🏕⛺🌄

April Alford said...

Wonderful to be honoring Atticus in this way! His Soul working in others. I have been deeply touched and inspired by both of the books. Most of us would love to have the kind of relationship you and Atticus had - one - as if your souls spoke. Thank you for wanting to share this journey with us so that we could dream and envision the possibilities. Carol Blue

Candice said...

I feel the same about the AT and would be happy to hike even a part of it. I wish the young man well; with you and Atticus as inspirations, I’m sure he will have a grand adventure.

Onesnap said...

Love this. Thank you so much for sharing! Best of luck on the trail to Atticus!