About the Book
Book: Gators, Guts, & Glory
Author: Lauralee “Blissful” Bliss
Genre: Non-Fiction, Hiking, Adventure
Release date: July 15, 2019
Wander on the wild and humorous side of adventure with long-distance hiker Lauralee Bliss (trail name Blissful), hiking the 1,100-mile Florida Trail from Big Cypress National Preserve to Gulf Islands National Seashore. From alligators and cottonmouths to tenting among the palmettos and walking on water, from forests of cypress knees and lofty pine to the help of trail angels along the way, “Blissful” uncovers the hidden gems of glory in this National Scenic Trail with a unique journey unlike any other.
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“If I do come across a gator, who moves first? I pray whenever we do meet, the gator is not hungry.” Such are the very real thoughts of Lauralee Bliss, author of Gators, Guts, and Glory: Adventures Along the Florida Trail. Unlike most of the books I read, this is a true account of one woman’s traipsing across the wastelands, bogs, and even highways of Florida.
My first question was, this lady is doing this alone?! But no, she had the support of her husband, “Papa Bliss,” helping out behind scenes, preparing for necessities, and even accompanying “Blissful” on the first part of the Florida Trail.
What I liked: pictures helped me better imagine the author and her trek through this dangerous terrain. I loved that the author described the different approaches and personalities of herself and her husband, who accompanied her for part of the journey. One was more about finishing the trail and adding the accomplishment to a belt; the other complained a lot but enjoyed the wildlife and scenery more. I just found that contrast interesting!
I also was amazed by the amount of planning and preparation that had to go into a trek before it ever began… and how quickly plans had to be scrapped and flexibility had to be embraced. “I’m trying not to let frustration rob me of peace, which is easier said than done. I must embrace the hiker beatitude of Blessed are the flexible. I like to plan everything out to a tee, the first thing a hiker should do on day one is throw out the plan.”
Being a book person, I know next to nothing about blazing a trail through untamed territory or drinking strained swamp water. I learned a lot. Blissful also learned much, mostly about trusting God for provision, “Trail angels” and miracles.
If you like reading about real-life adventure in the wilds, this book is a good choice. I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This did not influence my opinions, and no positive review was required.
About the Author
Lauralee Bliss is an avid adventurer, one of only a few women to hike the entire Appalachian Trail both north and south. She is also the published author of over 25 romance novels and novellas. Lauralee’s desire is that readers will come away with both an entertaining story and a lesson that ministers to the heart. She makes her home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
More from Lauralee
Why hike the Florida Trail of all things?
L – I’ve had several adventures under my belt, like completing the Appalachian Trail twice (see book one in the Hiking Adventure Series – Mountains, Madness and Miracles – 4000 Miles Along the Appalachian Trail)! We used to vacation in Florida as many do come winter, and once we came upon the Florida Trail sign. I couldn’t imagine hiking among the palm trees. After talking to other hikers who had done it, I knew it would be a unique experience unlike any other. After all, why should life be boring?
It all sounds kind of dangerous – the alligators, the swamps. Were you scared?
L – I’ll admit there are facets of hiking that can cause scary situations. Once I got stuck in mud-like quicksand. In Florida it’s known as sucking mud, and I thought I’d never get out of it. Can you imagine? I also had some rough weather, dangerous water crossings, and an encounter with a cottonmouth. Btu through it I learned about God’s peace and His saving hand in situations where you really have no control.
What did you do to prepare?
L – I hiked as much as I could. I talked with other hikers and asked questions. I joined online trail forums to find out about the Florida Trail. I bought the guidebook for it. I believe one should always try to prepare and not venture into something blind. But of course there’s always the unexpected, which adds to the adventure aspect.
What lessons did you learn?
L – What one can accomplish in life if you keep going and not give up, despite the challenging situations thrust your way. I like to go on these journeys to witness God’s care in my life firsthand and seeing the kindness of others to help a hiker in need. I’ve had people try to give me money. Folks that invited me into their homes or given me rides. The human spirit is amazing and one of the most valuable things I experienced.
What else can you tell us about yourself?
L – I am an avid adventurer covering thousands of trail miles in the US from east to west including two completions of the Appalachian Trail, the Colorado Trail, the Long Trail of Vermont, the Allegheny Trail of West Virginia, and the Foothills Trail of South Carolina. I have also authored of over 25 romance novels and novellas and when not writing or hiking, I love to talk to others about hiking. My motto is – make your dream come true! (and it has, in more ways than one)
Lighthouse Academy, July 30
Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 31
Mary Hake, August 1
Inklings and notions, August 1
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 2
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, August 3
For Him and My Family, August 4
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 6
Girls in White Dresses, August 7
Texas Book-aholic, August 8
Just the Write Escape, August 9
janicesbookreviews, August 10
A Reader’s Brain, August 11
Little Homeschool on the Prairie, August 12
To celebrate her tour, Lauralee is giving away a grand prize of a $25 REI gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e547/gators-guts