Long-distance hiker, songwriter, photographer adventurer, artist, poet, author, and environmental activist.
Jim spent as much time as he could outdoors and hiking, beginning when he was a Boy Scout. He did his first long-distance hike in 1973 on the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. In his lifetime, he accomplished numerous other long-distance treks, including the complete lengths of the Pacific Crest Trail, an east-to-west cross-continent hike, the entire U.S. Continental Divide, trips from Yellowstone to the Yukon, and many others. In total, he hiked over 28,000 miles of long-distance trips.
Jim was also a published poet and writer, including a collection of his poetry in Whisper Behind the Wind and the story of his inspirational travels and wilderness philosophy in Walking with the Wild Wind: Reflections on a Montana Journey. He also loved to paint and developed an extensive array of work in oils specializing in interpretive environmental themes. He liked to work in the medium of oil-based cattle markers on canvas. Many of his paintings reflected themes from his songs and poetry.
Between hikes, Jim would create, produce, and perform original shows of his travels with photography and music, always incorporating his keen sense of environmental awareness and justice for all things wild. His musical, hiking, and environmental career spanned 45 years.
Walkin’ Jim began playing the guitar when he was in the 4th grade. He performed in several bands during the 1970s. Jim’s first recording was Spirit Is Still on the Run, which was released in 1986. He went on to produce over eight albums, including Forever Wild, Listen to the Earth, and The Long Trails, in addition to releasing a music video for children titled Come Walk With Me.
Walkin’ Jim set off on his last forever wild hike in 2010 at the age of 57 after fighting a heroic battle with cancer.
Jim’s life work and dreams centered on his desire to share the beauty, the unique character, the mood, and the value of wilderness through his music, writings, art, and activism. He leaves a special and enduring legacy to his family, friends, and innumerable list of fans. A legacy directing all of us to live lives of happiness while sharing in and protecting all things wild.
Walking with the Wild Wind
Jim’s book, Walking With the Wild Wind, is a story for those who love wilderness and the adventuring spirit. It is a book that will take you to the wild places, a story that shares the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows of a wilderness wanderer. Put on your hiking boots and come experience the laughter, the fears, close calls, and magical times of a unique backcountry journey.
Jim’s close calls with natural obstacles (brush fires, falls off mountains, wildlife encounters, and river crossings) are woven together with both humorous tales and more serious issues, such as the impending death of his mother and the loss of wilderness. This book is a must for anyone who has ever tossed a pack on their back and taken off into the mountains, and for all those who have dreamed of it, too.
Praise for Walking With The Wild Wind
“Walkin’ Jim Stoltz’s book is an exploration and celebration of wildness and love and the nexus of the two. Not all of us can walk the length or breadth of America as Stoltz has done, but we can enjoy vicariously his exploits and insights.” – George Wuerthner, Author
“Walkin’ Jim is one of those rare cases; a man with a clear, uncluttered focus in life, driven by simple, profound passions. Better yet, he has had the good grace to share it with the rest of us!” – Alan Kesselheim, Author
“My friend Jim Stoltz walks and walks and walks in the wilderness. And like a few other famous walkers–Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Bob Marshall, and Ed Abbey–he thinks as he walks. Now he shares those thoughts with us not just in song, but in this book. Wilderness lovers will find it very worthwhile to read these wilderness-walking thoughts.” – Dave Foreman, Author