Jeff Alt inspires and entertains audiences with his highly
acclaimed “Life Lessons from the Trail.”

A Walk For Sunshine

Posted on 14 Mar 2013 in Book | Comments Off on A Walk For Sunshine

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A Walk For Sunshine is an award winning adventure story that will fill you with inspiration to go after your dreams. Jeff Alt takes you along every step of his amazing 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail adventure filled with humor and inspiration. Now, he includes practical advice to plan your own hiking adventure.

Alt takes you along on an entertaining walk with bears, bugs, blisters, skunk bedmates, and hilarious food cravings. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy this adventure for a noble cause. Jeff dedicated his journey to his brother who has cerebral palsy inspiring an annual fundraiser which has raised over $400,000 for the disabled home in which his brother resides. A Walk For Sunshine has been featured on ESPN, Hallmark Channel, reviewed by the AP, and more. As you walk along with Jeff, you experience perseverance, surviving with only the bare essentials, the success of goal setting, and overcoming obstacles. His story sheds light on the pursuit of a simpler life. In 2007, Jeff shared an epilogue focusing on his Life Lessons from the trail and how he has applied them to his life.

THE NEW 3rd EDITION: of A Walk For Sunshine includes gear ideas and other tips for taking your whole family hiking, and details about the annual Walk-With-Sunshine. We’ve taken the outdoor “leave no trace” ethic and applied it to A Walk For Sunshine. This edition is printed on 100% recycled paper.


A WALK FOR SUNSHINE is Jeff Alt’s account of his 147 day odyssey [on the Appalachian Trail]. He tells about how he made friends with fellow hikers and others along the trail, tried to court his future wife, and what happens when a trail-thin hungry hiker comes to town and meets up with Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Jeff Alt encountered sore feet, bad weather, wild animals, a skunk bedmate, marginal cleanliness and other adventures to hike the entire 2,160 mile Appalachian Trail, all to raise money for the Sunshine Home in Maumee, Ohio. Alt’s brother Aaron, who has cerebral palsy, lives at Sunshine.”

— Associated Press

“…When Jeff Alt hiked the 2,160-mile Appalachian Trail in 147 days almost 10 years ago, he did not suspect the experience would have turned into such a life-changing event. But it has, and he writes about it in – A Walk For Sunshine –a new chapter, an epilogue, to his wonderful account of the Trail…”

— Steve Pollick, The Toledo Blade

“Jeff wrote a book about his 147 day hiatus from civilization. Give him an afternoon and he could write a book on the art of hiking as well.”

— ESPN-2 Inside Americas National Parks

“A WALK FOR SUNSHINE tells the tale of a man who trekked 2,000 miles to honor his handicapped brother. Mr. Alt gathered donations, turning the trek into a fundraiser. That’s all in the book. So is the now funny, but then ugly story of the day he put his arch supports in the wrong boots and developed such enormous blisters he had to wrap his feet in duct tape. So is the miserable stretch of 10 days when constant sleet evolved into a snow storm and dumped 10-foot snow drifts along the trail.”

— Jim Knippenberg, The Cincinnati Enquirer

“LIVELY…HUMOROUS…UPBEAT…A WALK FOR SUNSHINE is about the human spirit and following your dreams. It will make you feel good. Alt’s effervescent personality and zest for life shine through on every page. His words amply convey the camaraderie among fellow hikers, the beauty of the eastern mountains, and the physical hardships that must be endured on a walk of over 5 million steps.” Selected as Book-of-the-Month!

— Walt Young, Outdoor Times

“Surviving the 2,160 mile Appalachian Trail is as much a mental challenge as a physical one and gave Alt a new perspective. Life on the Appalachian Trail was non-stop nature. No television, no steak dinner, no fluffy pillow. Just trees and rocks and sky. Three walled shelters, dirty water, and mosquitoes. It was blistered feet, a growling stomach and weary bones.”

— Pamela Davis, The St. Petersburg Times, FL

“FASCINATING…A WALK FOR SUNSHINE is an absorbing, humorous, and inspiring true life adventure travelogue.”

— The Midwest Book Review

“I am not a hiker and I have hardly been farther east than the New Mexico State line but I could not put this book down. Alt is articulate amusing and best of all normal. He sets a goal and lets us cheer him on as he achieves his Appalachian trail hike for the benefit of the Sunshine Home. A Walk For Sunshine was inspirational and highly entertaining.”

— Book Sense 76 Review Mary Ann Steele–Mary Ann’s Mostly Books

FOR ARMCHAIR TRAVELERS…[A WALK FOR SUNSHINE]…is wonderful to sense the excitement, danger and adventure [of the Appalachian Trail] as the pages unfold.”

— Maureen Darby, Book Reviewer, The Lebanon Daily Record, MO

“ALT NAILS THE TRAIL EXPERIENCE…His accounts of foot care, lightening his backpack, and obsessing about food all rang true. A WALK FOR SUNSHINE shares top billing on my book list.”

— Dale Bowen, The Chicago Sun Times

“Some of the most engaging stories in Alt’s book are about eating while on the trail…THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL DIET…On the trail, Alt ate and ate. He burned 6,000 calories a day…He lost 30 pounds…When his future wife met him along the trail, instead of the opportunity to be more romantic with Beth, he found himself staring at the chicken on her plate… ‘I’d trip and fall at least once a day,’ Alt told me in a telephone interview. ‘I’d lie right there and eat a snickers bar before I even got up.’ At a mothers day buffet, some women watched Alt eat and when he returned with a hot fudge sundae stacked three times higher than the bowl and a fudge brownie, one woman exclaimed ‘that’s it! I’m going to walk the AT so I can eat like that.’ ”

— Sylvia Carter, Newsday, NY

“THE LONG WALK…Alt didn’t quite because he had a powerful motivation for completing his 1998 hike: his brother Aaron. Aaron was born with cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Alt used his [2,160 mile] experience as a fundraiser to buy communication equipment where Aaron lives.”

— Amanda Boyd, Cincinnati Magazine

“…Charming, inspiring, and often funny, A Walk for Sunshine gives readers a good feel for both the logistics involved in undertaking such a journey and the culture of “thru-hiking” the AT. It’s also a moving reminder that “living your dream is one thing, but sharing it lets everyone live it with you.”

— Shawn Carkone, Amazon.com

“…Alt shares ample anecdotes about life on the trail and the personalities he met walking this unique swath of wilderness through the hubub of 21st-century America. Alt quickly disabuses the reader of the notion that walking the trail simply involves awaking one morning, tying on a pair of shoes and hitting the road.”

— Mary O. Bradly, Patriot-News, PA

“A Fascinating interview. This story is for anyone seeking inspiration to achieve there own goals.”

— Roger, WNRI, TN

“One of the most entertaining guests we have had on the air. Our listeners were riveted to the radio.”

— Peter Anthony Holder, Canada, CJAD AM

“If your looking for an adventurous, humorous, and inspirational read, try “A WALK FOR SUNSHINE,” which is really a testament on the pursuit of a simpler life and the American spirit.”

— Don DeNEVI, Book Reviewer, Palo Alto Daily News, CA

“Alt’s Journey had rats, mosquitoes, and naked people too”

— Katie Mosier, City Beat, OH

“Jeff enthusiastically shared his story with my listeners in an articulate fashion. I’ve invited him back to join me again. Jeff’s ‘can do’ spirit is an inspiration to everyone who has a dream of making a difference.”

— John Quaintance, WJCW radio, TN

“THIS IS A BOOK TO READ FOR IT’S HUMANITY. Alt captures very successfully the difficulty in doing the AT in half a year. Alt’s experiences provide a humorous touch. The night the skunk cuddles on his sleeping bag is a memorable one, but my favorite is when he tries to comfort a deaf child whose mother has been injured hiking. Knowing the rudiments of sign language, he signals to her, “Your mom is OK,” Later when he shows some friends what he signed , they react hysterically. He actually told the little girl, “Your beer is OK.”

— Justin Askins, Book Reviewer, The Roanoke Times, VA

“A humorous and inspirational account of a man who thru-hiked as a fundraiser, emphasizing the importance of pursuing dreams.”

— Appalachian Trail Conference

“THE AUTHOR’S SENSE OF HUMOR IS REFRESHING… An easy and enjoyable read strewn with laughter at natures antics and stark realities of life. As Jeff is faced with daily dilemmas in out of the ordinary circumstances, he begins to reach deep within himself to discover what most of us may never take the time to find out — his true being. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.”

— Karen Martin, Nature Society News

“With humility and charm, Alt tells his tale with awe for the people and his surroundings. This book is both inspiring and entertaining.”

— Today’s Librarian

“This book is an excellent source of inspiration for living your life the best you can. This book has given me a better outlook on life and the people around me. There are so many funny parts to this book, you will laugh from cover to cover, in between the sob and pain you feel for Jeff as he details his adventure.”

— Joey Coakley, Roanoke City Magazine, VA

“This easy reading book is full of many tales of how Alt got through the daunting hike from Georgia to Maine with humor…Perhaps Alt’s favorite moment was seeing his college friend, Beth, who came to visit him in Virginia. She would later become his wife, but Alt thought he lost her when he spent the weekend focusing more on his food than on Beth.”

— Karen Chavez, Asheville Citizen-Times, NC

“THOREAU’S SUCCESS UNEXPECTED.’ If the dream toward which one advances happens to be hiking the entire 2,167-mile-long Appalachian Trail, he may also meet with sleeping bag hogging skunks; scary knife-wielding fellow hikers; and maybe even God-or whatever force it is that narrowly deflects lightning bolts and charging mother bears from the paths of unwary hikers. Jeff Alt met with all those experiences… If you’ve fantasized about walking the AT yourself…Alt’s trail stories will terminate your pretty fantasies…Your feet will hurt. A lot…You will worry about running into suspected bomber, Eric Rudolph, wanted by the FBI. You will be hungry, and you will still have bills”

— Cindy Burda, Mountain Xpress, NC

“Not to give away the ending, but A WALK FOR SUNSHINE has a happy one. Jeff…ended up marrying the woman who didn’t recognize him the day they met up along the AT. He had lost 20 pounds and had a new beard.”

— Chris Graham, The Observer, VA

“Alt awoke from a deep sleep one night to find a plump fuzzy creature on his sleeping bag, sporting distinctive black fur and a white stripe. Alt spent the rest of the chilly night with the critter snuggled between his lower legs. Alt’s encounter with the strange bedfellow marked the beginning of a journey that would change his perspective on life.”

— Paula Brandon, The Naperville Sun, IL

“AN AMAZING STORY…He did it to raise money for the home where his brother with cerebral palsy lives. A portrait of a modern American adventurer fulfilling lofty dreams, while discovering what lies beyond the physical and mental boundaries.”

— Art Lander Jr., Lexington Herald-Leader, KY

“A MUST READ…A WALK FOR SUNSHINE illustrates the magic of involving others in achieving your dreams.”

— Kathryn Sargent, Aquarius A Sign of the Times, GA

AN EMORSONIAN ADVENTURE…Though excited about the wildlife encounters with boars…bears…and skunks, Alt is even more impressed with the diversity of people hiking the trail, from millionaires to people dodging creditors.”

— Steven Tweddell, Ace Weekly, KY

“JOURNEY TOWARD HOPE…The money raised from Alt’s hike and the annual fundraiser it inspired has helped buy devices for the disabled.”

— Kevin Lamb, Dayton Daily News, OH

“One of the best interviews we have had on the air.”

— Anne Marie Welty, NPR, Cincinnati

“A WALK FOR SUNSHINE serves as an inspiration to anyone who has ever had a dream.”

— Angela Mitro, The Sylvania Herald, OH

“A WALK FOR SUNSHINE ably tells Alt’s tale of braving everything from freezing cold, driving rain, and a bear encounter to boredom, exhaustion, charging bulls, and trail angels who offer food and support.”

— Steve Pollick, The Blade, OH

“Our ratings were high during the interview with Jeff Alt. The phones were ringing off the hook.”

— Producer, Fox-Tampa, Kathy Fountain Show, FL

“A Walk for Sunshine is an inspirational and humorous story that my be the definitive how-and how not to-hike the Appalachian Trail. I had trouble putting it down.”

— Bill Jones, The Greeneville Sun, TN

“Jeff combined a physical challenge with a worthwhile cause and ended up with a personal victory. His story reminds us that when we follow our heart, no mountain is too high, no journey is too long.”

— Jean Deeds, author, There are Mountains to Climb

“A Walk for Sunshine has touched numerous people in many significant ways and continues to touch the lives of those who read it.”

— Douglas Siebenaler, Sunshine Incorporated

“If you doubt the power of your dreams, consider Jeff Alt.”

— Marat Moore, The ASHA Leader

“A lively story engagingly told in a straight forward and humorous style, A WALK FOR SUNSHINE could serve as a primer for anyone planning even part of an Appalachian Trail hike.”

— Cynthia Nowak, Toledo Alumni Magazine

Jeff Alt has a mission: reacquaint the world with the beauties and the challenges of Nature and find inner peace and the source of human kindness. And if that sounds like a hopelessly impossible task for these times in which we live, then his A WALK FOR SUNSHINE just may change that. It is difficult, if not impossible, to read this entertaining and meaningful book and not rearrange mindsets as to priorities and the significance of living in the moment….A WALK FOR SUNSHINE makes a great bedside inspiration book, a thoughtful gift for friends and family who are struggling with apparent insurmountable odds, and an excellent reference for ‘youths’ of all ages. December 07.

— Grady Harp, Top Ten (#7) Amazon.com reviewer

“…A Walk For Sunshine provides an emotional and exciting experience that makes the pain and discomfort of walking the Appalachian Trail seem insignificant…”

— Robie “Jumpstart” Hensley, An Appalachian Trail Legend

“…I have thoroughly enjoyed reading A Walk For Sunshine. I could not put it down. It brought back many memories…”

— Gene Espy, the second person to ever hike the entire Appalachian Trail in 1951. An AT trail legend.

“A WALK FOR SUNSHINE kept me turning the pages. Alt had become a friend, someone I was pulling for everyday of the way…It’s a quick read that introduces you to a cherished American Trail.”

— The Northwest Herald

…Rarely do I find a nonfiction book as charismatic as this one. For anyone considering an Appalachian Trail hike, this book is a must. For readers like me, who do as little outdoor planning as possible, yet love an adventurous book, it hits the spot. He’ll even have you laughing out loud…

— Judith Kaye, Good Reads; Book Reporter; Library Thing; Chainreading; Shelfari.com; WordPress

…An entertaining read…he [Alt] encounters both extreme cold…as well as having a skunk fall asleep on his sleeping bag…one cannot forget the appetite that such an excursion will bring on. In addition to describing the mounds of food he’d consume while in towns in order to maintain his energy…Alt managed to lose 30 pounds by the end of the journey…A Walk for Sunshine is funny, cheerful, and deserves your readership…

— Jessica Schneider, the moderate voice; Monsters & Critics

…A Walk For Sunshine is a book well worth reading even if your trail hiking is in an armchair before a blazing fire. Jeff Alt has proven himself an inspiration to many…

— Mary Ann Smyth, Bookloons.com

…I loved this hiking book. Jeff certainly has a writing style that should appeal to everyone. There are also many amusing chapters that had me laughing out loud…Read this book and I can guarantee you’ll have lots of laughs, smiles and at the end be inspired to perhaps do your own walk for Sunshine…

— Jessica Roberts, Bookpleasures.com

…A Walk for Sunshine is a quick read…his words do bring you out into the woods…, bug bites, blisters and all…the Appalachian Trail affected him…instilling a deep appreciation for life outdoors, an affinity for simple routine, a profound respect for the body’s boundaries and pure joy at going for a long walk…

— Friend Mouse, Blogcritics.org

“…There are numerous books on hiking the Appalachian Trail, but Alt tells the story best…”

— Carey Kish, Maine Outdoor Journal-Portland Press Herald

“…Alt’s memoir is a wonderful way to experience the trail from your favorite comfy chair…”

— Amy Harris, Amy Reads Good Books

I really enjoyed reading this adventure! Alt’s relationship with his surroundings is well documented, and entertaining at the same time. The Author has the ability to laugh at himself, be serious when called upon, and is a positive book to also share with your children.

— Jill Page, Frugal Plus

“VIVID ACCOUNT…HUMOROUS…INSTRUCTIVE…This is a great book about facing fear and working toward a challenging goal…”

— Nancy Mehegan, VAboomer.com

When I saw this book, I thought it would be interesting. I never thought I would love it so much. This is the story Jeff Alt’s hike along the Appalachian Trail. Along the way he saved a dog from drowning, was chased by a bull, met a moose, survived freezing temperatures, driving rain, and met many people, some friendly, some not so friendly. Alt doesn’t hold anything back in this amazing book. He tells it all even down to the blisters on his feet. Not only did he hike the 2,160 mile Appalachian Trail, he also raised $100,000 for the Sunshine Home where his brother who has cerebral palsy resides. Full of interesting characters, humor, and touching stories, this is a great book for both hikers and non hikers. Yes, it’s a book about a hike, but it is so much more. It’s a book about the love of one brother for another, fortitude and the human spirit. Very inspirational!!

— Reading At The Beach

What a fascinating book! It’s a journal of stories, maps, and photos that made me feel good and wish that I, too, could have the courage to hike and explore the beauty of the Appalachian Trail. It was not only inspirational, but made me feel like I had been there with him all the way! This was an easy, delightfully refreshing, quick read.

— Barbara, Crazy About Books

I laughed at the simple things, such as his [Alt] realizing how bad he smelled when he hurt his ankle and had to get a ride to Gatlinburg…I loved the maps at the beginning of each chapter and found the gear list and tips for taking children hiking especially helpful I have several friends who have been asking for an opportunity to read this and I will gladly share this inspirational book.

— Musings of a Book Addict

If you want a book to motivate you to reach for your dreams and achieve your goals, this is one you want to pick up.

— CC-Chronicles Blogspot

Alt weaves a light-spirited, bighearted tale that kept me turning pages from beginning to end. An AT thru-hike is a bit of a Holy Grail of outdoor experiences, something many nature lovers dream about but never attempt, let alone complete. Alt is refreshingly honest about the physical and mental hardships of the trail, but never stops feeling grateful for the experiences he is having on his journey. I found his optimism and good nature enjoyable. The book moves along at a good pace. Each chapter is preceded by a map of the Appalachian Trail with an arrow marking Alt’s progress, a nice detail that keeps the reader rooted in the geographical significance of this truly epic walk. I enjoyed the book very much.

— Badger Books

If you’ve never read A Walk for Sunshine, it’s one of the best and easiest-to-read Appalachian Trail Memoirs available. Jeff’s story is humorous and inspirational account of the physical and mental struggle of completing a thru-hike and is an excellent introduction to anyone interested in hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

— Sectionhiker.com

What I really loved about A Walk For Sunshine was that Alt doesn’t sugar coat the journey. He has blisters, he smells, he is constantly hungry, and at one point he ended up sleeping with a skunk! Despite all these minor setbacks, he still manages to convey the beauty of the trail and the inspiration that keeps him going. Truly amazing! The author has an amazingly engaging writing style that made me want to keep turning the pages through the entire 2,000 miles of the journey. His story is at times amusing, introspective, and inspirational….it simply makes you feel good! And there were a few points where I just laughed out loud at the stories he told! The book I received for review came with A Walk For Sunshine / Appalachian Trail Show-DVD shown at right. This is a 67 minute DVD that walks you through his journey in a similar format to the book, although with the inclusion of many photographs that were taken along the way. The combination of personal narration, photos, and accompanying music was very moving! If you are a lover of the outdoors, you will really enjoy this book. Alt gives tips at the end of the book to encourage kids to get outside and learn to appreciate hiking and spending time in the woods. As a parent, I am passionate about teaching my kids how to enjoy nature and I love that this is a cause he supports! Turning the Clock Back One Ecofriendly Step at a Time

— Turning the Clock Back One Ecofriendly Step at a Time


Two years ago, my colleagues and I voted to adopt your book, A Walk For Sunshine, into our curriculum for our Developmental Reading and Study Success Skills classes at Zane State College in Zanesville, Ohio.  We have found your book to be a great inspiration to our students.

While reading the novel, we feel our students not only brush up on reading and comprehension skills, but more importantly, they are encouraged by your journey on the Appalachian Trail.  From your writings, students are able to see a person who set a goal, and never backed down even in the most trying of conditions.  We point out to our students that your dream of finishing the trail is much like their dream of finishing college. 

Your planning, perseverance, and achievement on the trail is an inspirational testimony to our students who are attempting to set a goal and see it through to the end.  Your success has touched many lives! Thank you, Jeff!

–Wendy Koile, Instructor, Zane State College