Jim’s Book – Walking With The Wild Wind

Walking With The Wild Wind
Reflections On A Montana Journey
by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz
Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association winter newsletter Book Review:

I knew and loved the music and songs of the late Walkin’ Jim Stoltz but I did not read his book called Walking with the Wild Wind until this past spring… and then we lost him. I never was able to thank him for putting down in words so much of what I also believed but could not verbalize.  Walking with the Wild Wind, Reflections on a Montana Journey, was published in 2003 and dedicated to Lloyd Sumner, author of “the Long Ride”  a story about a round the world bicycle tour.  Walkin Jim acknowledged Lloyd Sumner was a big inspiration in his life but his life too was cut short.

Walkin’ Jim learned early the woods was a comfortable and secure place where he could go to “think things out” and “ get back to a distant place inside myself” His first long walk in 1974 started in Georgia and he walked to Maine.  The AT he admits was his first great adventure, “the siren that lured me on to do other things”. He kept a journal ever since and shares previous journey entries from his many walks all through this book. Writing was a personal ritual done every day and every night on the trail as long as he had been “doing these walks” Over 28,000 miles later, he admits walking the wildlands truly had become his life’s work- “My music springs from these places.”

The book is a good story about Jim’s adventures walking the 700 mile loop of southwestern Montana’s wild country that covers ten different mountain ranges but it is also a good education on the nomenclature of the wilderness.  Designated wilderness protected by Congress versus the so called “protected land” that is still open to road building, logging, mining, grazing  which remains controversial and contentious amongst concerned citizens who want to focus on what is good for the land itself  rather than private industry needing to extract resources for a profit  no matter what the cost . He says wilderness is many things to many people but he believed more people were beginning to see that protecting the last wildlands as wilderness, preserves not only nature, but also part of the human spirit.

Even though wilderness has a legislative definition, the true essence of wilderness, Jim Stoltz believed, lies in our hearts and souls. Jim shared that if we are to survive as a species, we must learn humility as we are not really the masters that we picture ourselves to be. In the wilderness, money is not the currency.  Life is the currency. Walkin Jim believed he was a rich man.  His pots of gold were the inspiring wildlands, the mountains and the deserts, the canyons and the forests. He asks us:  Will we be smart enough to look ahead and do we have the vision and have we evolved enough to walk softer on the planet? He sings:

“It’s a planet of blue with islands of green
Let’s cherish this Life and all it means,
Each death and birth brings to this Earth
A whole circle coming clean.” -from the song “Circle of Life”

A book well worth the read.  Thanks Jim!

Ma budda    (aka Kathleen Krevetski)
Rutland, Vermont – November 2010

Tales from a man who has walked over 25,000 miles through the length breadth of America’s backcountry.

Walking_With_the_Wild_Wind_cover_small.jpg  “This is the testament of one of America’s most unique and devoted citizens. After  wandering its wild places for decades, he understands things about this continent that few others have grasped with the same depth. His words are a great pleasure to read (he has a wry side), and a great spur to action.” 

                                                                       – Bill McKibben
Author of “The End of Nature”


 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.

Folksinger, adventurer, photographer, activist and artist, Walkin’ Jim Stoltz has taken to the backcountry of North America, walking the last wild places for months at a time, nearly every summer since 1974. For over thirty years Stoltz has celebrated the natural world through his songs and concerts.

Now he shares his unique view of the wilderness through this personal tale of a trip through the heart of Montana’s last roadless areas. He introduces us to the life of a long-distance walker, and gives us a view of the natural world many of us will never get to experience.

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.

 More 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,
Wilderness traveler and author of more than thirty outdoor books 

“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 of many books, including                                                                                                “Water and Sky: Reflections of a Northern Year” and                                                                                                 “The Wilderness Paddler’s Handbook”

“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
Activist, author, and former publisher of the “Wild Earth Journal”  

 Price: $14 U.S.                              ISBN: 0-9620228-1-0                               Lone Coyote Publications
Click to Email walkinjimmusic@gmail.com for Book Orders

Read Excerpts from “Walking With the Wild Wind”