Title: Three Hundred Zeroes
Author: Dennis R. Blanchard
Genre: Adventure/Travel, non-Fiction
Pages: 342 (PB)
Published Date: 20 February, 2010
Available: ThreeHundredZeroes.com, Amazon.com and can be ordered at most bookstores.
When siblings promise to do something together when they ‘grow up,” is it just wishful dreaming? When war and a Purple Heart Medal shatter those dreams, should the surviving brother continue? The desire to honor that promise to my brother haunted me for over forty years. At long last, when there were no more excuses, I ventured out onto the Appalachian Trail to fulfill that youthful promise.
Three Hundred Zeroes describes my adventure on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) as it meanders for almost 2,200 miles (3,500 km) through some of the most awe inspiring, remote, vibrant woodlands and mountains in the eastern United States. Maddeningly indirect at times, the trail wanders aimlessly from Springer Mountain in Northern Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, in central Maine. During my journey on the A.T. I experienced encounters with every conceivable form of plant life, vegetation, tree and animal from the minuscule pygmy shrew to the titans of the north woods, the American black bear and moose.
The A.T. is also home to a Norman Rockwell America that at times seems long past and faded from living memory. Walking through small boroughs, villages and crossroads along the trail, I connected with people that did not judge others by their worldly possessions, where they’re from, or how big their house is. Inevitably the conversations were most often about hiking experiences; trail conditions, animal encounters, distance traveled, and the daily destinations. Surprisingly, the foremost questions that always arose were, “Can I help?” or “Are you hungry?” Life along the Appalachian Trail is more often than not factored down to its lowest common denominator: honest to goodness caring and human kindness.
The menagerie of personalities encountered on the trail lead to countless humorous moments. A cast of characters with monikers such as “Cookie Monster,” “Bone Lady,” “Half-Elvis,” “Motor Butt,” “Bilge Rat,” “Privy Monster,” and “Serial Killer,” ensured that there was never a dreary moment.
There were serious obstacles as well. The difficulties I endured walking over 2,200 miles were easily underestimated and my trouble began long before setting a first step on the trail. This book demonstrates that bears, rattlesnakes, extreme weather and challenging terrain may be far less formidable than some of life's more subtle dangers.
Join me in the book, Three Hundred Zeroes, as I explore this national treasure, the Appalachian Trail.
About the Author
Dennis Blanchard was born in Bristol, Connecticut and grew up in nearby Burlington, Connecticut. After duty in the U.S. Air Force he moved to New Hampshire with his wife, Jane.
Never living very far from the Appalachian Trail, there was always the seductive siren's call to hike it. To support his addictive hiking habit he has spent most of his life employed as an electronics engineer. Dennis is an avid ham radio enthusiast and has authored many pieces for magazines such as the amateur radio journal, QST and other technical magazines, as well as motorcycle adventure and outdoor articles. Dennis is also an active participant in Toastmasters International.
When not off wandering in the woods he lives in Sarasota, Florida.
More about the author at the bookish Who's Who.