After writing thirty books about hiking, John McKinney, aka “The Trailmaster,” was compelled by extraordinary events to live through—then write about—an odyssey that took him to a remote monastery on Mt. Athos, Greece, a peninsula where no woman has set foot for a thousand years. By turns glorious and hilarious, “Hiking the Holy Mountain” narrates John’s progress and setbacks on the trail and within himself, as well as a series of miraculous events that took place on—and off—the Holy Mountain.
His friend Spiro joined him on the journey and they were truly the hiking odd couple. Spiro was a tenderfoot, John an expert hiker. Spiro was a devout Greek Orthodox Christian and fluent in Greek, whereas John’s faith was shaky and his Greek was terrible. Spiro believed in the wonder-working powers of the saints and icons, while John was a skeptic who doubted all miracles.
As the Los Angeles Times hiking columnist, John had a professional purpose for his trip: to hike around the Holy Mountain and write about Mt. Athos as a hiking destination, a vacation adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. What he encountered there was a colorful cast of Greek monks, an epiphany that changed his life, and a miracle that led to the adoption of his son. “Hiking the Holy Mountain” is a powerful tale of saints and icons, ancient tradition, and modern-day faith and family.