Hiking and Healing in the White Mountains
by Cheryl Suchors
Pub Date 11 Sep 2018
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Floundering in her second career, the one she’s always wanted, forty-eight year old Cheryl Suchors resolves that, despite a fear of heights, her mid-life success depends on hiking the highest of the grueling White Mountains in New Hampshire. All forty-eight of them. She endures injuries, novice mistakes, and the heartbreaking loss of a best friend. When breast cancer threatens her own life, she seeks solace and recovery in the wild. Her quest takes ten years. Regardless of the need since childhood to feel successful and in control, climbing teaches her mastery isn’t enough and control is often an illusion.
Connecting with friends and with nature, Suchors redefines success: she discovers a source of spiritual nourishment, spaces powerful enough to absorb her grief, and joy in the persistence of love and beauty. 48 Peaks inspires us to believe that, no matter what obstacles we face, we too can attain our summits.
“Suchors’ journey feels authentic, and her writing, gleaned from journals she kept over the years, brings to vivid life a proud and driven woman, her staunch support network, and her vibrant, intelligent best friend and soul mate... An inspiring yet relatable true story with exciting scenes and plenty of heart.”
“48 Peaks is the compelling story of one woman’s hiking journey through the forty-eight 4,000-foot peaks of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It is also a meditation on life, loss, friendship, and love. In the years after her first 4,000-footer trek―a challenging loop over Mt. Tripyramid―the author loses her best friend and hiking companion to cancer, mourns for her sister, and survives her own grueling battle with breast cancer. But by returning to the mountains, again and again, she finds an exhilarating affirmation of life and nurtures the bonds of deep friendship. When, a decade later, she makes her triumphal finishing climb on Mt. Isolation, we cheer along with her husband and friends. This book should provide inspiration for many a hiker as they embark on their own mountain journeys.”
—Steven D. Smith, editor and compiler of White Mountain Guide, 30th Edition, and author/coauthor of other White Mountain guidebooks
“In this eloquent memoir, Cheryl Suchors charts two different journeys. As she describes her many ascents of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, she also details her involuntary expedition into the world of hospitals and her return to health. And she brilliantly invokes her several friendships with the women who keep her company on both journeys. Suchors writes with eloquence and honesty about the complexities of friendship and about the landscapes she knows so well. 48 Peaks is a compelling and moving book.”
—Margot Livesey, best-selling author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy and The Hidden Machinery
“Friendships are some of the most essential relationships of our lives―yet they are strangely absent as the subject of memoir. Into this void steps Cheryl Suchors’s beautiful, essential 48 Peaks, at once a memoir of a profoundly impactful friendship and the story of Suchors’s triumph as she found solace and strength in hiking after her friend’s death and her own bout with cancer. Engaging, vivid, and deeply openhearted, this book could be called a manual for hope.”
—Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir