A Short Walk on a Long Trail: A couple’s sauntering on the Vermont Long Trail

2022 FAPA President’s Book Award: Gold: Fitness/Sports/Recreation

Jane and Dennis Blanchard never do anything the easy way, and their myriad adventures hiking the Vermont Long Trail during a summer of record-breaking cold temperatures and unprecedented rainfall were just another of a series of challenges the couple has faced over their 45-year-plus marriage.

The Blanchards are accomplished long-distance hikers, having completed the Camino Francés, the Camino Portugués, and Hadrian’s Wall Path. Dennis hiked the Appalachian Trail solo, and his epic Georgia-to-Maine trek interrupted only when he decided to drive home for six-artery bypass surgery. Talented writers, both Jane and Dennis have turned their adventures into gripping accounts full of humorous insights and pithy observations about people, Nature, and what happens when people and Nature meet—on Nature’s terms.

Their most recent book, A Short Walk on a Long Trail, is full of hard-won, practical advice for novice and experienced hikers alike. This story contains many unexpected twists and turns, from the PUDs (pointless ups and downs) to kind-hearted, generous Vermonters, from a debilitating upper respiratory infection to Nature in all its glory: spectacular sunsets, occasional vistas, drenching rain, clinging mud, and lots of bugs. Jane and Dennis explore the nuances of hiking solo versus hiking as a couple with candor and wry wit and poke fun at themselves and their relationship while sounding a clarion call for Americans, especially older Americans, to stay active and explore the beauty of our natural environment.

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