Twenty one years of discovery on the Appalachian Trail

I finished the Appalachian Trail at the top of Mt Katahdin. Of course, I started that hike at Katahdin Stream at the bottom of the mountain, so I didn’t hike the entire AT!

Thankfully, I don’t have to hike the entire trail because I experienced that in Jim Haskell’s great book, Two Tents, published by Maine Authors Publishing. The title references a mistake Jim made on one of his hikes, lugging two tents up into the mountains.

Jim, a Maine native, was not a “through hiker.” He completed the 2200 mile hike in sections over a 21 year period. And he was inspired to do that at the age of 9, when he and his Dad and older siblings climbed Mount Katahdin. Yes, Mount Katahdin can be inspiring!

Jim’s hiking adventures included some serious challenges, including falls, major storms, and an aggressive bear. I particularly enjoyed his stories of other hikers, some of whom joined him from time to time along the trail. And his descriptions of the hikes put you right out on the trail with him.

But this isn’t just a hiking book, nor do you have to be a hiker to enjoy it. Jim’s life story unfolds as the years progress, including two marriages and adoption of a baby from Guatamala. And all along the trail, Jim is discovering things about himself. I especially loved how he loved fatherhood, to the point that he decided to give up his dream of hiking the entire AT because he didn’t want to leave his baby son.

It was Jim’s wife who insisted he complete the hike, and she was so very right to do that. And we must also thank those who encouraged him to write this book. As it says on the back cover: Two Tents is about making dreams come true.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.