Here’s the press release from Amy Allen:
With the release of “Summoning the Mountains: Pilgrimage into Forty” Amy Allen may be the first to tell the story of hiking the Appalachian Trail from the perspective of a divorced, single mother hiking with her children. Amy’s hike was defined by limitations from the beginning. Returning to her love of backpacking after a decade of sitting in front of a computer, she’s facing midlife, out of shape, and full of self-doubt. Weighing in at less than 100lbs herself, she barely has the physical strength to carry necessary supplies. Named Willow by her boys, she brings the wisdom, patience and perseverance of a single mother to the wilderness trail, dissecting every decision, questioning every ounce, planning every step. Her teenaged sons are watching. She can falter, but she cannot fail. When her oldest son is suspended from school, he lands in mom’s juvie wilderness camp hiking the Appalachian Trail, a tried and true way to learn cause and effect. Through storms, hunger, floods, and injury, an ordinary mom walks an extraordinary path.
As this story unfolds, there is just as much conveyed in what is not said as in the musings Amy shares along her journey. Divorce is prevalent in our culture, as are its subsequent paradoxes and undulations that haunt our emotional landscapes. The undercurrent of a failed marriage runs silently though her story, as does an implied forgiveness, parental cooperation and love for their children. Two people who started out as one taking separate paths. Disappointments accompany her along the trail, much in the same way that motherhood embodies personal sacrifice, but ultimately Amy learns as much from her delinquent adolescent son, as he does from his mother. “Inspiring and well-told” this moving story reveals that limitation can be re-framed as opportunity through maintaining the right perspective. “We find…that the trail is more about the strength of character and mind than it is about the physical hardships.” Amy summons clarity from the ancient mountains of Appalachia and brings it to the page fresh from the wilderness. “A taste of a truer reality.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Allen holds a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Appalachian State University. She has been a backpacker for over 28 years. Journaling her life experiences since age 12, Amy won the NC Federation of Women’s Clubs District 5 Poetry Award at age 16. This is her first book. She lives in Western North Carolina with her husband and Pachinko, the cat.