James A W Schmidt

One Man’s Grief and A Long Walk

The darkest time of James A. W. Schmidt’s life came when he lost his wife of thirty-six years to cancer and his whole world fell apart. His grief leads him to a grief support group, where he learns he is not alone in experiencing his overwhelming emotions. The people in the group teach him many things, and he slowly realizes that he feels better when he keeps himself busy and has a specific goal to fulfill. He has always wanted to travel and explore new places, so after pondering the possibilities, he decides he’d like to hike the famous hundred-mile Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He is still in pretty good shape, and the route doesn’t seem too arduous. The trip will take weeks of careful planning, and the actual four-day hike will be an amazing experience. But he knows it wouldn’t be smart to hike that kind of distance alone. So he talks his son, Brian, into hiking with him. That’s when things get real. In a series of emotional and thought-provoking incidents before, during, and after the hike, James learns the lessons he needs in order to move on and have a happy life with good memories of the past instead of the overwhelming grief.


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