Author Jeffrey Ryan will be a featured speaker at this year’s Round Hill Appalachian Trail Festival. His talk “Appalachian Odysseys — Three Appalachian Trail Stories” will highlight his enduring reverence for the oldest multi-state long distance trail.
In 1985, Jeff Ryan started section hiking the AT with a guy he barely knew. Twenty-eight years later, they rounded a corner on the Georgia trail to discover that only one AT adventure was complete. Soon Ryan would set off on another adventure, becoming af full-time author.
In 2016, his book about the section hike, Appalachian Odyssey, was published by Down East Books, In 2017, his book about the history of the AT, Blazing Ahead: Benton MacKaye, Myron Avery and the Rivalry that Built the Appalachian Trail was published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books. While he was researching that book, he ran across a description of a side trail Myron Avery himself had blazed from the AT near Monson, Maine to the cabin and overlook owned by a fascinating man named Jim Whyte — a fabulously wealthy, semi-reclusive character who had been a world traveler and settled down to escape a questionable past.
Ryan’s book, Hermit: The Mysterious Life of Jim Whyte published in 2019 by Maine Authors Publishing, has received rave reviews, Jeff will share how all three stories converged to inform his life and his writing.