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Chasing The Smokies Moon
Book Review

By Diane Spicer

Need a great hiking book to read? Consider Hiking For Her's Review of Chasing The Smokies Moon. #hikingbooks #bookreview #womenwhohike #hikingforherreview

Come along as I review Nancy East's book entitled Chasing The Smokies Moon.

The subtitle gives it away just a bit:

An audacious 948 mile hike, fueled by love, loss, laughter and lunacy

Disclosures in this
Chasing The Smokies Moon book review

The author contacted Hiking For Her and offered a free copy of the book to read and review.

She also graciously offered to provide three copies for the Hiking For Her current giveaway (December 2021 - January 2022).

  • This page gives you the details on how to enter the giveaway.

This is an unpaid review.

There is no affiliation between Hiking For Her and Nancy East, beyond the fact that we are both female hikers.

All comments and opinions belong to Hiking For Her.

Chasing The Smokies Moon book review:
What this book covers

Every author has her own deep motivations for writing a book.

Nancy East had several reasons to share her experience, which include:

  • Raise money for a local PSAR (Preventive Search And Rescue) by hiking all open trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (North Carolina and Tennessee)
  • Push herself to previously undiscovered limits
  • Set an example as a strong woman for her children, and honor two women in particular
  • Join - and set a Fastest Known Time (FKT) record in - the 900 Miler Club.

What is the Great Smoky Mountains
900 Miler Club?

Although there are approximately 800 miles of trails which are open at any one time in this park, it takes over 900 miles of hiking to complete them.

Blame these factors:

  • Dead end trails, meaning out-and-back hiking
  • Few interconnected roads, so lots of car or boat shuttles
  • Intertwined networks of trail connections, requiring careful logistics to reach access points
  • Trails which can be closed, with no known opening date

So what may sound straightforward is anything but!

Nancy and her hiking partner Chris had their share of frustrations and setbacks as they tallied up their 948 of miles. And that makes for a compelling story.

You can read more details on the completions and recognition of the 900-miler FKTs here.

You'll learn a lot
about hiking in the Smokies

This is a tale of what happens when a woman with nearly grown children and a supportive spouse plans something a little "out there" with a long time trail buddy.

It's never a straight line to a hiking goal, and this book tells you just how arduous it was to cross that magic finish line of mileage in the Smokies.

And to do it faster than anyone else to date.

There are expected tales of woe regarding the damage thirty-plus miles a day does to a body.

The impact of weather related problems, logistical challenges and trail closures are well described.

There are mental battles to meet and surmount in the Smokies, too: missing her family, a muscle injury early on that causes her to reexamine her abilities, and more.

And you'll meet one determined women

This book provides a crystal clear window into how a female hiker thinks about what happens on the trail: self doubt, second guessing, what ifs can gang up on a fatigued hiker.

Nancy also shares what motivates her to keep.going.no.matter.what. (Cheetos may or may not be involved).

This is important:

  • To have completed 948 hiking miles in 29 days 10 hours, do the math: on average, she hiked 32 miles every day.
  • And then did it again the next day, regardless of weather or physical condition.

This book is a testament to Nancy East's physical and mental strength, in depth planning, supportive friends and family as well as her intrepid trail companion Chris.

Chasing The Smokies Moon book review:
Who will really enjoy this book

There are many types of hikers who will enjoy this well written tale.

If you're already hiking in this area of the United States, you will love all the name dropping of campgrounds, trails and towns.

  • It's always fun to read about your own stomping grounds through the lens of another hiker, right?

If you're planning to hike in the Smokies, this book can help you put together some ideas for a backpacking trip or string of day hikes.

  • It points out hazards you may encounter: swift water crossings, snakes, wild pigs, to name a few.

Any hiker who needs inspiration and motivation to tackle a big hiking goal will enjoy traveling along with Nancy as she chips away at her goal.

  • Knowing she pulled it off can encourage you to do something big.

Chasing The Smokies Moon book review:
What I enjoyed most

I love the privilege of vicarious hiking given to me in books like this one. I deeply appreciate the chance to explore trails I will never visit in real life.

In this book, there are two clear messages that I fully support as a female hiker:

  • You are stronger than you think (and as you think, so goes the hike).
  • The human body at any age is designed for hiking, so get out there and enjoy the life lessons it offers you.

Chasing The Smokies Moon book review:
How to get your copy

Nancy is a woman with heart.

And grit.

Her story will inspire you.

So will her SAR background and positive attitude toward life.

If you'd like to purchase the book, visit Nancy's website Hope And Feather Travels.

Thanks for reading this Chasing The Smokies Moon book review!

From December 2021 through January 2022 you can enter for a chance to win a free autographed copy of this book in the Hiking For Her giveaway.

Go here for details

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