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Dead Men Hike No Trails by Rick McKinney

Dead Men Hike No Trails

by Rick McKinney

388 pages
Author beats suicidal depression by hiking the entire Appalachian Trail.

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Category: Health:Mental:Meditation
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About the Book

Dead Men Hike No Trails is one man's honest tale of hiking the 2,174-mile long Appalachian Trail in one contiguous walk from Georgia to Maine. It is a life-affirming, exultant howl from the highest mountaintops of the American east coast. It out-shouts the dark siren song of depression and stomps suicidal ideation into the dirt. It says everything is going to be okay, even when all evidence supports the contrary.

The author: "Following a friend's suicide in 2003, I faced my own suicidal depression and a choice. Dwell in grief and probably soon join my dead friend, or run gonzo crazy and free in the opposite direction, blazing bright and deep in the jungles of America, hiking and writing until my feet and fingers bled with pure honest screeching love for life."

A professional writer until suicidal depression cost him his career, house, and fiancée, McKinney saw in the Appalachian Trail the perfect story, that and a much-needed long walk. It presented a glimmer of hope, an opportunity to get out of his head and on his feet.

The story starts with a bang as McKinney takes the reader to Aspen, Colorado in August, 2005 and holds aloft a cell phone for all to hear the cannon blast memorial of his mentor Hunter S. Thompson. Contemplation of Thompson's suicide quickly leads to thoughts of Luciano and the question of how all the hiking started. And with the turn of a page we find ourselves transported a year and a half backward in time as preparations for the Appalachian begin.

Dead Men is about long distance hiking. It is about the camaraderie of dozens of fellow hikers encountered en route. It is about following a goal to completion. It is about living in the moment.

But most of all, it is ever and always about LOVE. It is about the author's love of life, of family and friends living and dead, of women, of nature, of the power of imagination, of the human animal, of the concept of Heaven, of God, and of the author's love of beer.

Depression is a subplot. At first all-consuming, it is soon an after-thought, a shadow which the author stomps his feet bloody and his ankles black and blue to outpace. But walking off a genetic inheritance of chemical imbalance proves daunting if not impossible for McKinney. (His aunt Nancy A. McKinney committed suicide in the year of his birth.)

The trail, in Matrix terminology, is the construct, the free and open space wherein anything is possible. In the case of the Appalachian Trail, the construct is more a green tunnel than a white space. But it is still the place of infinite possibility, the place where the author invents his own salvation one day - nay one step at a time for an inconceivable five million paces to Maine.

Written in a voice endearing with a style never before read, Dead Men is sure to deliver an endorphin-charged blow to a nation depressed.

 

 

About the Author
Rick McKinney Rick McKinney is a passionate, adventurous lover of life, an art car artist, and long a survivor of chronic depression. Prolific & witty, he jokes of owning a stack of unpublished poetry & prose high enough to sit on at a bar. (It's no joke.) He lives alone in Arizona.

 

 

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