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Two brothers, seeking a spiritual renewal that is often inherent in hiking the Appalachian Trail, take a break from the endless marching and wander from the more predictable path.

The Appalachian Chronicles, Shades of Gray, is set in rural Virginia at the back door of Appomattox Court House, where, according to historians, the Civil War ended...


Excerpts from The Appalachian Chronicles: Shades of Gray:

I folded the waterproof trail chart and slipped it into my pack... I often wondered who or what the various landmarks along the trail were named after. I knew the significance of some names – like the nearby Spyglass Hill, where Confederate sentries kept a lookout for Union troops that marauded up-and-down the Shenandoah Valley during the Civil War...

One of them was wearing what I assumed was an officer’s uniform... A sword cut back and forth at his side. His trim mustache was slightly darker than his blond hair... but, the favorable impression disappeared when he glared back at us, placed his thumb and index finger on the brim of his hat and smirked before he said, “Gentlemen.”

We met in the galley and sat at the table where I watched as she opened the wine and poured two glasses. It was getting dark outside and the dim lights on board reflected warmly off the wood and earth tones inside the cabin and seductively off [her] golden tan.

“And the flag program?” [he asked].
“After a slow start, business is picking up...Sales of flags and stickers and other items have increased almost ten percent since last year.”

[She] unfurled the flag and held it high above her head. She waved it back and forth and a loud cheer rose-up from the Confederate camp...

“What now?” I asked.
“I’m ready for these guys.”
“I’m glad you are.” Panic set in as I looked back and forth at the opposing armies steadily advancing toward us.

We began rolling slowly along the road that would take us up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I turned to take a final look at the spectators’ camp and imagined that the ghost of Betty was lingering there.


Shades of Gray is the first and, to date, only book in the Appalachian Chronicles. Originally published in 2003, the current version is a revision published in 2015 that is dedicated the the writer's brother as well as Brittany Newsome and James Tyson.

Readers who are looking for a highly descriptive tale of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail may want to look elsewhere... Bill Bryson's, A Walk In The Woods would be a good start.

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