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(Also posted in LiveJournal BookShare)
Title: Three Hundred Zeroes
Author: Dennis R. Blanchard
Genre: Adventure/Travel, non-Fiction
Pages: 342 (PB)
Published Date: 20 February, 2010
ISBN: 1450557465
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.

Three Hundred Zeroes Book Cover

More about the author at the bookish Who's Who.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 17th, 2010 02:24 pm (UTC)
So, never living far from the Appalachian Trail... until moving to Sarasota ;-)

Hey, do you know a guy named John Fellon? He's an Electrical Engineer in Englewood, and also a ham enthusiast?
Jun. 17th, 2010 02:41 pm (UTC)
Re: So....
Can't say as I know John, at least by name. It is possible we have talked to each other on the radio and I would have him in my log by his call letter and first name.

Good point about living near the trail. In a way I still do though, I'm a member of the A.T. Club of Florida and we meet about two miles from my home. I run the web site atcflorida.org for them. Also, as is evident by the book, I do get on the A.T. at every opportunity :>)

Thanks for the comment. (that sure was quick, I don't think it was posted for more than two minutes!)

Jun. 17th, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
Always wanted to hike the AT after reading Bryson's "Walkin in the Woods." Hrm. If only I didn't have this thing about plumbing, allergies, and a pathological fear of bugs.

Sooo, reading about the AT is the next best thing!
Jun. 17th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
Walking the A.T.
You brought a grin to my face when you mentioned plumbing, or the lack thereof. I have to admit, it is pretty primitive out there. It was always amusing to hear a bunch of hikers sitting around a campfire talking about the various quality standards of a given privy. It inspires visions of the movie BLAZING SADDLES.

As for allergies, it's probably as bad on the trail as anywhere else, and maybe less so since the average altitude is reasonably high, and the air quality is decent.

Bugs. Hmmm, I can't say that they were better/worse than anywhere else. To be honest, except for Massachusetts swamp areas, even the mosquitoes were not much of a problem.

The biggest "problem" out there is mice. As I address in the book, they're everywhere and a constant threat to hiking gear (they're like little buzz saws).

Byrson's book was an inspiration to me too. It was interesting; on the trail the hikers are divided into two distinct camps: Like and dislike a WALK IN THE WOODS. Many felt that Bill was too abusive of the people he met and built his humor around that abuse. Me? I suspect those he had fun with were just plain funny. The ones I have fun with are either people that consented to me doing so, or I changed the names. There are a serious number of funny incidents in the book.

In a way I can claim braggin' rights over Bill's book, I finished the trail! There is one major reason that I may not have, and it would be a book spoiler, so I won't go into it, but it made for a real challenge.

Thanks for the comments, it's good to know that people actually participate in this discussion. So many of these things just languish due to inactivity.

Jun. 26th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC)
Three Hundred Zeroes is 2010 Indie Book Contest Finalist.
I forgot to mention it in the original posting, the book was a finalist in the 2010 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Contest. I've just updated the front cover to show the medallion and when I get the digital copy of it, I'll change it here.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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