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Four Boots One Journey

A Story of Survival, Awareness & Rejuvenation on the John Muir Trail

(Trade paperback, 226 pages, July 22, 2014, Beaufort Books; ISBN: 9780825307362)

Jeff Alt takes you vicariously along the John Muir Trail on an entertaining adventure with his new wife, Beth. Jeff convinces Beth, a woman who prefers hotels, hot showers, and warm beds, to chuck her domesticated ways and hike over 218-miles which leads to lots of humorous moments. Together, they traverse three national parks, including the highest mountain in the contiguous United States, Mt. Whitney. Jeff is compelled to take Beth on a hike after her brother tragically dies. Jeff thinks the hike will do Beth some good. They walk in her brother’s memory as a depression awareness campaign. The Alt’s journey is full of inspiration and adventure; from menacing bears, to lightning bolts, mountain lions, food shortages, and altitude sickness. Beth discovers the trials and joy of backpacking and they emerge from the trail rejuvenated; and they are still married.

Read an Excerpt of Four Boots One Journey

Four Boots One Journey reviewed on Yahoo Sports affiliate, Grind TV.

“…More than just a memoir, Alt’s book serves as as a guide to the trail as well as a reference for backpacking preparations…” Publishers Weekly

The awards and reviews listed below are from the original Hike for Mike paperback edition.

ForeWord Magazine’s “Book of the Year”
Award-Winning Finalist

USA Book News
Award-Winning Finalist

The Reviews Are In!

“…Hilarious…Very Touching…”
Denise M Baran-Unland
The Herald News
“…A Wonderful book about a couple’s experience on the John Muir Trail…written so that even a non-hiker can enjoy the book…[it] will inspire readers to take up hiking as a hobby…”
Lisa Kisner
Reader Views
“…Reviewer’s Choice…An immersive experience in the beauty of the wilderness…The detailed travelogue brings the reader along on a healing journey through three national parks and culminating atop the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. As profoundly philosophical as it is descriptive of the wonders of nature, A Hike for Mike is an immersive experience in the beauty of the wilderness.”
The Midwest Book Review
Altitude Adjustment…Jeff Alt is one of those people who heads to the hills when faced with a major decision or a personal crisis such as a death in the family…As readers of “A Hike For Mike” will quickly learn, it’s a book designed to be humorous and uplifting as well as informative. Those interested in taking on the JMT will find a lot of helpful information in the book, and readers just looking for a good adventure yarn will find that, too…By dedicating the final chapter to facts about depression, the book also serves to inform readers about the disorder…
David A. Maurer
The Daily Progress
“…Engaging…enlightening and inspiring…Non-hikers will enjoy the authors vivid descriptions of natural beauty and encounters in the wild…”
Metro LA The Magazine
“…A GREAT DIARY of their trip, in which marathon runner Beth, a camping and hiking novice, encounters bears, lightning and freeze-dried food…sheds light on a common condition affecting millions of Americans…a list of resources is included in the book for sufferers and their families…”
Anne Stein
The Chicago Tribune
“…You might say he’s a cross between Ultramarathon Man Dean Karnazes and “Honeymoon with my Brother” author Franz Wisner…”
Capitol Public Radio-Insights, Sacramento
“Lovers of true adventure stories will enjoy “A Hike for Mike…”
Kim Mathisen
The Star
“Peaks conquer valleys…Don’t just stand there. Do something…That seems to be Jeff Alt’s approach to life, in particular to those times that test the heart…The physical demands, including the effects of the high altitude, were difficult, but the hardest part of the…trip for her [Beth] was “the grime,” Mrs. Alt recalled. At one point when she couldn’t stand it anymore, her husband said, she jumped into a mountain lake that was “cold enough to chill beer.”…The hike taught them a lot about each other, too…”I consider myself an expert hiker guy, but I wasn’t used to hiking long distances in high altitude. I got sick and she didn’t,” Mr. Alt said. The lesson: “Sometimes I’m the engine and she’s the caboose, and sometimes she’s the engine and I’m the caboose. It’s that way in the woods and in life,” he reflected.
Ann Weber
Toledo Blade
“…His descriptions capture the magnificence of the varying vistas, the travails of the trail, and the camaraderie of hiking. Alt…candidly shares the joys and challenges of a long-distance trek and the positive discoveries that both he and his wife have made about each other. Reading about their journey is itself a reprieve from the frantic pace of everyday life. Indeed, Alt’s conversational writing style makes one feel like a participant rather than an observer. Recommended for public libraries.”
Jo-Anne Mary Benson
Library Journal
“What happens when a marathon runner marries a hiker? In Jeff Alt’s case, you get what NBC might dub Xtreme Honeymoon…Beth’s brother committed suicide. Beth moved through the stages of grieving, but when she got to the end, she added another stage: Joining her husband on a 218 mile hike of the John Muir Trail…”we wanted to raise awareness of depression as a disease…the couple walked some of the most…rugged trails in America…their close calls with marauding bears, lightening bolts, and other hikers, as well as seeking-and finding-simple pleasures as a cold drink and a spectacular sunset. The result of their efforts is A Hike For Mike…”
Matt Bergantino
Cincinnati Magazine
“Inspired by the suicide of his brother…A Hike For Mike…tells about encounters the author and his wife had while walking the 218-mile John Muir Trail.”
Publishers Weekly
“Jeff and Beth Alt set off on a 218-mile journey across the Sierra Nevada range. Beth’s brother had committed suicide…Beth wanted to do something–to bring depression to light; hence A Hike For Mike was born…a journal of their hike mixed with statistics regarding suicide and depression…Pick up a copy of A Hike For Mike. You truly never know when you or someone you love may need the help.”
Tracy Farnsworth
Roundtable Reviews
“Walk With A Purpose…Alt’s book chronicles the journey, including a lost clothing bag…, a hair-raising lightening storm high on a Sierra Pass and the discomfort.. felt…when the Sierra altitude took its toll on them…”
Susan Skorupa
Reno Gazette - Journal
“They encountered bears, saw fresh mountain lion tracks…lightening, rain, wind, and snow…Even without a cause [they] have come up with a good book…”
Jim Morris
Dayton Daily News
“They encountered bears, saw fresh mountain lion tracks…lightening, rain, wind, and snow…Even without a cause [they] have come up with a good book…”
Jim Morris
Dayton Daily News
“A Heartfelt Crusade”
Cincinnati Enquirer
“…An Adventure that would not only lead to a book but change their lives…”
Walk About Magazine
“Thank you, Jeff and Beth, for A Hike For Mike. It gave me the chance to relive my own JMT adventures and to plan new ones. I also appreciate its critically important message about depression, something that’s dogged me all my life!”
“Kathy Morey, co-author
Guide to the John Muir Trail
“Skillfully and compassionately told, of ones family’s choice of how to cope with the suicide of a loved one…serves as a message of hope and inspiration for those suffering from depression as well as their families and friends…”
Jerry Reed
The Suicide Prevention Action Network,
“The friendly, personal demeanor of the writing, with no pretenses or over-glorification, was truly refreshing and engaging… The spiritual and emotional components of the writing are both simple and profound, from a continual humble, exuberant recognition of the Creator in his works and his gifts to us, to the straightforward presentation of the reality of depression and the experience of the families living with its influence.”
Timothy Seaman
wilderness song composer & musician, Here on this Ridge, Virginia Wildlife, Sycamore Rapids, Wayfering Stranger
“In A Hike for Mike, Jeff Alt reprises his passion for walking in the woods for a cause, but this time, with his new life companion, Beth…a lovely reminder of the healing power of our nation’s great trails.”
Mary & Bill Burnham
authors of the award winning Hiking Virginia
“While most foot travelers are motivated by a deeply personal yen to explore internal as well as external landscapes, Jeff Alt… walks on behalf of others, whether to raise awareness of the challenges faced by the developmentally disabled, as in A Walk for Sunshine, or the deadly toll of depression, in his new work, A Hike for Mike. Both the journeys and the causes are well worth reading about.”
David Brill
author of As Far as the Eye Can and Desire and Ice
“…Alt provides a daily diary of their trip, packed with details about both the JMT and the wilderness experience. They encountered hungry bears, dangerous lightening storms, tricky creek crossings and a sick hiker who needed emergency evacuation by helicopter; when their supplies ran low, Jeff and Beth even learned how to mooch for food and toilet paper…”
Marek Warszawski
The Fresno Bee
“…After the depression-induced suicde of his brother-in-law, author Jeff Alt began a trek to not only understand the tragedy, but raise awareness that depression is treatable…This book follows Alt and his wife Beth across the 218-mile John Muir Trail…Encountering bears, lightning storms, rugged scenery, and fascinating people…Non-hikers will enjoy the author’s vivid descriptions of natural beauty and encounters in the wild…”
LA Metro Book Review
Listen to a radio interview with Jeff Alt as he shares tips on: How to camp in the woods and stay married; how nature heals; and why he is so passionate about hiking; all topics he covers in A Hike For Mike.
Inside Scoop Live
“This enjoyable book covers the journey of authors Jeff and Beth Alt, as they traverse the John Muir Trail…filled with breath-taking vistas, lightening storms, bears…Beth and Jeff…explore pieces of each other’s personalities that had never before been revealed to one another…for hiking enthusiasts…also for arm chair travelers…”
“…A fine read for any California enthusiast of hiking or the Sierra Nevadas. A married couple lost a family member to suicide: their response was to trek the 218-mile John Muir Trail through the mountains as a campaign to spread the word that depression is a treatable ailment. The author walked the entire 2160 Appalachian Trail as well as the John Muir: his promotion of walking as a healing remedy involved his wife and fostered not only recovery and healing, but a newfound appreciation for the California mountains. An uplifting story results…”
California Book Watch
“An amusing, stirring, true-life adventure…”
Sarah Bennett
Adventure Journey: The Extreme Vacationers Handbook
“…Beth Alt’s husband, Jeff was right: Hiking in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range was just what she needed while grieving the death of her brother…immersed with everything the trail had to offer: the tall pines that stretched to the sky, the still lakes reflecting jutted, snow-forsted mountains, the black bear lurking toward her. The black bear lurking toward her?…uplifting and humorous…”
Joe Burris
The Baltimore Sun
“We first got to know him [Jeff Alt] in his first book, “A Walk for Sunshine” where he hiked the Appalachian Trail. His openness, humor, and purpose make this book a great read….In A HIKE FOR MIKE, Alt hikes the John Muir Trail in California. The hike and book was dedicated to his brother-in-law, Mike, who committed suicide during depression. Throughout the book and his hike, he educates us and people he meets about the seriousness of depression. The last chapter, 24 – Depression: know the facts, is full of information and on-line resources for both the sufferer and family….I really enjoyed this book…”
J-Kaye Oldner