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The long-awaited book by:

Randy” Windtalker” Motz & Georgia “Mom” Harris


Lessons on Life, Love & Marriage from the Appalachian Trail


What happens when a middle-aged couple with no previous backpacking experience, decides to put both themselves and their fourteen-year marriage to the test and spend six months hiking the 2,175-mile long Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia in one continuous hike? Will their motto of “Quitting is not an option” be a blessing or a curse? Will the trials of living in the wilderness bring them closer together or become a recipe for marital disaster?




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Randy Motz and Georgia Harris have created an engaging and inspirational memoir of self-enrichment and enduring love. “Solemates” is a joy to read and will leave you planning your own outdoor adventure.”

Brooke Kenny - The Gazette Newspapers

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Read Chapter Excerpts


Travel with Georgia “Mom” Harris and Randy “Windtalker” Motz as they are forced to confront their personal weaknesses and learn to capitalize on each other’s strengths; and in doing so, gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to make and keep a marriage strong.

Solemates” is not a simple day-to-day chronicle of life on the trail. It is a candid, introspective, and oftentimes humorous, look at the challenges of taking on such a difficult and life-changing adventure and the range of emotions that surface because of it. It is a warmhearted journal depicting countless lessons in perseverance, human nature, compassion, tolerance, understanding, and teamwork; lessons that everyone can adapt to their own lives and relationships. Woven through their stories and those of other couples who were part of their thru-hiking family, are inspirational insights into the human spirit and refreshing perspectives on what is truly important in life.


To order your copy of “Solemates, Lessons on Life, Love & Marriage from the Appalachian Trail,” click on the book cover to your left. You will be directed to the “Prices & Ordering” page at www.qualtechresourcegroup.com






What People are Saying About


 “Solemates- Lessons on Life, Love & Marriage from the Appalachian Trail”



….amazing….can teach us all something…comprehensive…has it all…clearly this book can help people; it is a great guide…  Karen AllynHost of “Forward Motion” on Montgomery Community Television


Solemates is a “must read” for married and committed couples thru-hiking together on the Appalachian Trail.

….a remarkable how-to book demonstrating an enjoyable hiking experience, while growing ever closer together.  Really a fine book for all to read!... Gene Espy - 2nd thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail and Author of “Trail of My Life, The Gene Espy Story”


No one has explored thru-hiking as a couple as thoroughly as have Randy Motz and Georgia Harris… an engaging account of thru-hiking the trail in 2006 along with a half dozen other couples. “Solemates” is a significant contribution to the A.T. literature… great advice for in-depth planning of a long-distance hike… Larry Luxemberg - Author of “Walking the Appalachian Trail”


…..Whether you’re planning a long hike or you just enjoy reading about others’ hikes and the lessons they learned along the way, this book is for you.   Linda Patton“Books for Hikers”


…..a “must read” book….Their experience embodies the often difficult art of “give-and-take” as they worked through the “downs” and soared into the rapturous realm of the “ups.”….has a wealth of information for novice hikers as well.   J.R. “Model T” Tate; four-time A.T. thru-hiker and author of “Walkin’ on the Happy Side of Misery” and “Walkin’ with the Ghost Whisperers”


There are many books about thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and most simply describe how to hike the trail or what you see as you travel along its thousands of miles; few go further than the simple travelogue. “Solemates - Lessons of Life, Love, and Marriage from the Appalachian Trail,” delves into the emotional aspects of a couple who spent six months of their lives and marriage on the Appalachian Trail.......Through their shared experiences we find that love and relationships can become stronger and more meaningful from both trial and mutual support over difficult terrain and circumstances………Any couple looking to share a difficult but inspiring adventure together, or any person interested in the emotional aspects of conquering the Appalachian Trail, would benefit from reading their story.  Lee SheafferPresident, Potomac Appalachian Trail Club


I found “Solemates” to be "Delightful", "Irresistible"….a most "Inspirational" must-read book. 

Kelleen K. Larsen, Phoenix, AZ


….I felt like I was reading about my own hike….The chapter about Katahdin moved me to tears...it was so touching to read about everyone's reactions to finally standing on Le Grand K.….what a joy it was to relive my 2006 hike through your beautifully written book…. Jill “Little Wing” Lingard –  AT Thru Hiker, 2006


.....an inspiring page turner…..The fortitude of this thru-hiker couple lovingly embraces every moment spent on the AT. Enjoy! This will kindle your desire to hike!  Barb Blythe20-year member of AMC


… short but detailed descriptions… you could almost put yourself there with them as they hiked….a must read for anyone planning or just thinking of hiking the AT or any other trail.…Two thumbs up…  Bryan “Backtrack” FarleyLong Trail Thru Hiker, 2007


“Windtalker” and “Mom” have captured the essence of what it means to hike the AT….what it means to be Solemates as well as Soulmates. A great book….instructive….helpful….will generate fond memories especially for those who love; people who love the trail and who love people. 2 hiking poles up!   Hank “Catskill Eagle” Nicols - AT Thru Hiker, 2006


I loved it! I had to take a few moments at times and take a deep breath and choke back a few tears as different passages brought back the vivid emotions of the trail! Thank you for sharing your story. Jeannie “Jellybean” ZortmanAT Thru Hiker, 2006


......not the typical hiking book…..It's a great read!   Terry KammerDamascus, VA


The transformation and other emotional experiences describing the growth of their marriage are vividly and thought-provokingly recounted in their book….Read it.  You will thoroughly enjoy it.   Anita Hartigan – New Concord, KY


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Here are excerpts from several of the chapters in Solemates”

From the “Introduction”:

“Divorce is not an option.” That is what we told the counselor in the early days of our marriage. We had both been married before and in those prior “love is blind” relationships, we wrongly assumed such a pronouncement of marital unity was unnecessary. We both found, through the emotionally trying circumstances unique to divorce, that “I do!” and “Divorce is not an option” are not synonymous. Having each learned our lesson, we agreed this time that a public, verbal commitment would hold us accountable to each other in a more profound way. This pronouncement of marital solidarity and loyalty saw us through situations where the pronouncement of “I do” simply fell short. “Divorce is not an option” was a logical and useful adaptation of “Quitting is not an option,” a credo instilled in us by our parents. Those five words underscored every individual endeavor we had ever undertaken. This pronouncement of never quitting, and the strength of our relationship, would soon be repeatedly called to task by our amazing adventure.

As we prepared for, and in 2006 thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, this edict carried us through moments of intense physical pain. It also preserved our relationship through the innumerable instances of psychological and, seemingly overwhelming, emotional challenges of hiking together continuously for six months. Most importantly, it provided us a foundation on which to build a higher level of mutual understanding when physical, mental, and emotional fatigue reared its ugly head and challenged our individual wills to continue. However, as with any proclamation of faith or pursuit of will, simply deciding “quitting was not an option” did not necessarily make it so. Actually applying it to our adventure turned out to be both a blessing as well as a curse...........”


From the chapter, “Walking in Step”:


“What was the most frequently asked question of us during and after our thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail? No, it was not “What did you eat,” “Where did you sleep,” or even, “How many miles did you hike each day?”

It was oddly enough, “How did you get along?” To us this seemed an unusual question; but with so few married couples undertaking the ambitious 2,174.6-mile journey that is the A.T., I suppose it seemed like a logical question for people to ask us.

The magnitude and atypical nature of what we were attempting came home to us dramatically, and somewhat humorously, as we overheard a cell phone conversation between a hiker and his wife. We were relaxing and eating our dinner at the Wilson Valley Lean-To in the 100-Mile Wilderness in Maine as he recounted his experiences of that day. Suddenly and quite loudly, with a voice filled with slightly more aggravation than excited interest, we heard his wife on the other end of the phone.

“Well, I hope you are getting this out of your system!”

It was all we could do not to choke on our mac ‘n cheese as we struggled to hold back our snickering. It was just one of the many examples that pointed up how fortunate we were to have a marriage that could stand the test we were putting it through.

So, how did we get along?...............”



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The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

118 Park Street, SE

Vienna, VA 


Appalachian Trail Conservancy

799 Washington Street
Harpers Ferry, WV


Appalachian Mountain Club

Pinkham Notch Visitor Center

Rte 16

Gorham, NH


Campmor, Inc.

400 Corporate Drive

Mahwah, NJ


Shenandoah National Park Visitor Centers

Luray, VA


Mountain Crossings

9710 Gainesville Highway

Blairsville, GA


Mt. Rogers Outfitters

110 Laurel Avenue

Damascus, VA


True North Adventureware

96 Walkers Mill Road

Bethel, ME


Mahoney’s Outfitters

830 Sunset Drive

Johnson City, TN


Peaks of Otter Gift Shop

Milepost 86 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Bedford, Virginia


Uncle Johnny’s Nolichucky Hostel

151 River Road

Erwin, TN


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