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Bob Welch

Bestselling author

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"I devoured this book like a fresh stack of pancakes,
as will any reader who loves a grand adventure.”

—Noah Strycker, PCT thru-hiker who reached Canada in 2011 and author, Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World

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SEVEN SUMMERS, a sequel to Cascade Summer (2012), answers one question among many: After “just doing Oregon,” can two sixty-something brothers-in-law complete the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail that defeats more than half those who attempt it? Poignant, poetic, and fall-down funny, this endearing story from the award-winning Welch will help readers understand the soul of America’s iconic trail, laugh in the face of aging, celebrate friendship, and, hikers or not, consider living life with more thirst for adventure.

Praise for Seven Summers (And a Few Bummers)

“Welch’s background as a journalist is clear here, as he engagingly relates his experiences (‘The High Sierra was the stuff of Michelangelo’) ... . [He] acknowledges that Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild brought many hikers to the trail. But this account, exploring how people connect along the way and how two older men can push themselves to walk over 2,000 miles, never feels derivative—it’s refreshing and authentic. A spirited, honest, and funny memoir, perfect for nature lovers.”

—Kirkus Reviews

 

“After reading scores of accounts of walking the Pacific Crest Trail that begin in the desert south and proceed linearly and predictably, Bob Welch’s account of completing the PCT with his brother-in-law, Glenn, is refreshingly bumpy. Written with self-deprecating humor, Seven Summers seems part Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, part Barney Mann’s Journeys North, but all uniquely The Oregon Boys. The book is accessible for those who have never set foot on the trail and enjoyable reading for seasoned veterans. I appreciate the quality of Welch’s prose and the deeply personal nature of the journey—and, of course, the setting is the magnificent PCT.”

—Rees Hughes, Co-Editor, Crossing Paths: A Pacific Crest Trailside Reader (2022), A Pacific Crest Trailside Reader: California (2011), and A Pacific Crest Trailside Reader: Oregon and Washington (2011)

 

“Seven Summers is pure trail magic. Bob Welch is a relatable and humorous storyteller, and his decade-long Pacific Crest Trail quest—with its many twists and turns—is genuinely moving, as much about embracing relationships and ‘hiking your own hike’ as about reaching the Canadian border. I devoured this book like a fresh stack of pancakes, as will any reader who loves a grand adventure.”

—Noah Strycker, PCT thru-hiker who reached Canada in 2011 and author, Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, a Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World

 

“Bob Welch’s Seven Summers is a 2,650-mile, can’t-put-it-down trek along America’s western backbone. With every footsore step of the way, Welch brings us endless thrills, nail-biting suspense, and his trademark deadpan humor. He is the master of metaphor and the silly simile. He toggles from reverence to irreverence, taking us to spiritual heights on lofty peaks, then hurtling us back to earth with ‘toilet paper stuck to the back of your sandal’ scenes. You’re going to love this book!”

—A. Lynn Ash, author, Vagabonda: Solo Camper Out West

 

“With Twain-like humor and humility, Welch reveals life on one of America’s greatest trails. Follow him along the annual human-powered conveyor belt of extremes in nature, the daily nitty-gritty, the surprise encounters, and the many triumphs of endurance. This is a book that makes you laugh out loud—and sometimes cringe in sympathy. A walk, and a read, well worth the trip.”

—James Meacham, co-editor, The Atlas of Oregon and The Atlas of Yellowstone

 

“Seven Summers is not a map of the PCT trail, but a guide to what true friendship means and the steep, winding path that leads there. Nearly every chapter includes loving, quirky portraits of ‘strangers who became friends’: Cisco and Roadrunner, Hot Dog, Malto, Eagle Eye, and others. At the center are the lifelong bonds between The Oregon Boys, Bob and Glenn­­—and between Bob and his wife Sally, who leaves loving notes in his backpack and picks up her smelly husband at trail’s end. Kindness abounds: A restaurant reopens to feed starving hikers. A friend of Bob’s, Geoff, drives a thousand miles to take Bob and Glenn to dinner. That Bob’s friends returned his love wasn’t ‘trail magic,’ but affirmation that unselfish acts of kindness get paid forward. Faith is the wind at Bob’s back, lifting spirits, softening grief, and healing blisters.”

—Brent Northup, veteran film critic and head of the Communication Department at Carroll College, Helena, Montana

 

“Seven Summers is part perspiration and part inspiration, a splendid tale of American can-do-ism delivered by a master storyteller. Welch is, once again, at his best in this robust and humorous account of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The book places us alongside Bob and Glenn, right down to the climbs, heat, trail dust, and ‘cat holes.’ We also get an honest and highly personal look at The Oregon Boys, flaws and all. Upon reaching journey’s end—after Bob and Glenn’s hard-to-conceive 2,650 miles on the trail—I found myself savoring what must have been their profound satisfaction in this enormous accomplishment, even if Welch doesn’t trumpet it himself. The account is enhanced still further by Don White’s pen and ink drawings that deepen both the human and nature scope of the story.

“One needn’t be a long-distance hiker to be captivated by this remarkably crafted story of friendship, teamwork, and commitment!”

—Stuart McDowell, author, The Last Lighthouse Keeper

 

“Bob Welch is the king of similes and specifics, and his magic touch continues in Seven Summers, beginning with ‘feeling less energetic than a smoked salmon.’ Reading this book, you’ll experience the terrain, the challenge, the elevation changes, and the incredible landscapes right along with Bob and his hiking partner. Most of us will never hike the PCT, but, reading Seven Summers, we are grateful that Bob did it for us.”

—Dorcas Smucker, author, Coming Home to Roost

 

“In Seven Summers, Bob Welch draws on his journalism background to weave a clear and compelling story of hardship, beauty and personal growth. As he juxtaposes the discomforts of long-distance hiking with the stunning landscapes he encounters, Welch transforms from goal-oriented hiker to lover of nature, which he describes as poetically as John Muir.”

—Dave Imus, creator of award-winning maps of Oregon and the United States.

 

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P.O. Box 70785, Springfield, OR 97475

bobwelch@bobwelchwriter.com

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