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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

We Like Ike...and "Appalachia" Likes Following Atticus

Tom & Atticus on top of Mount Eisenhower.
This morning we hiked Pierce and Eisenhower, two of the 4,000-footers in the Southern Presidentials.  We got an early start but even then  we couldn't help but notice that the air is getting hot, humid, and hazy and we didn't have views anything like you see above on the summit of Eisenhower from last summer.  Nevertheless it was good to get out and on top of a couple of great peaks - especially since we'll be hibernating in the air conditioning for the next two days when the temperatures reach the nineties. 

These are our first peaks since I started my juice fast nine days ago and I was curious as to how I'd feel.  Nothing to fear.  All went well.  I drank a great breakfast before heading out and I brought an additional forty ounces of green juice with me for the hike.  Of course it helps to be hiking with thirty-nine less pounds than I was ten weeks ago.  As always, neither Atticus nor I enjoyed it all that much when the sun climbed higher and brought the temperature with us but that was the only thing that slowed us down in the end. 

We returned to Jackson to find Will happily asleep right where we left him, and the latest issue of Appalachia: America's Longest-Running Journal of Mountaineering & Conservation waiting in our post office box.  The impressive journal has been around since 1876, comes out twice a year, and today's copy is the Summer/Fall 2012 issue.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that book review editor Steve Fagin wrote up a short piece on Following Atticus.  And what's not to like when you are compared to Bill Bryson and John Steinbeck?

"In FOLLOWING ATTICUS, author Tom Ryan focuses not just one chapter but an entire book on his travels and travails with a lovable miniature schnauzer named after the heroic lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird. Ryan and Atticus set out to climb the 4,000-footers, as the subtitle promises: "Forty-eight high peaks, one little dog, and an extraordinary friendship." Ryan, founder and former editor of an alternative paper in Newburyport, Massachusetts, called The Undertoad, is an engaging storyteller whose humorous, self-deprecating descriptions evoke Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering American on the Appalachian Trail and John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley: In Search of America.

"Determined to undertake his long-range hiking goal as a tribute to a friend who died of cancer, Ryan resists sentimentality.  Based on his easy-going, good-natured style, he seems like the sort of hiker you'd welcome into your campsite - and who could resist the adorable, calm Atticus?  I hope to encounter them one day, either on the trail, or on the bookshelves again. "


colleen said...

great review. I can't agree more, and would also love to meet you all on a trail, to pass in conversation, and give Atticus a pat on the head, maybe a little treat of whatever he eats for treats, lol. A great book for reflection.

Silvia Soos-Kazel said...

Kudos Tom & Atticus,
Great review and wonderful PR to entice all newcomers to read your enjoyable book! Nice to be put in company with other well known authors! Enjoy the compliments~~best wishes, Silvia

AnnO said...

Another wise and astute appraisal of my favorite book, author and his dog. The wisdom continues to spread

Kim said...

Congratulations, Tom, on your book review and on your success with nutrition. My husband and sons hiked from Pierce to Washington back to Pierce on Monday. My 12 year old said “Everyone must have read ‘Following Atticus’, there were so many people hiking with dogs.” I told him you guys were up there today and he thought that was so cool :) We talked about the absurdity of hiking with our beagle (he’d be off at the first scent never to be seen again, but likely heard, baying and howling in the distance).
I am not able to backpack with them as I am so out of shape. I stayed home and watched the video you mentioned, went down in the basement and found my juicer, and thought about my next journey. I am about the same age as you, so seeing you making changes reminds me it’s never too late. Thanks Tom, you are such an inspiration in so many ways!!

Tom (and Atticus) said...

Thanks for the good words, everyone.

Kim, good for you. Love new journeys!

netguru said...

Quite awhile ago, I saw a longer story on TV about your hikes with Atticus. If I remember correctly there was someone with an English accent narrating the show. Can you help me remember the name of the show?