The Transylvania Times -

Author's Treks In Remote Lands Inspire Insights, Self-Reliance


Last updated 6/18/2018 at 2:42pm

Faced with a prognosis of late-in-life osteoporosis, Aleen Steinberg responded by adapting a vigorous exercise regimen and fulfilling a life-long dream of adventuring to distant lands.

Determined to sustain her strength, over two decades she undertook arduous treks on six continents.

She selected journeys in countries on three of the continents - to Nepal, Peru, Pakistan, Tibet, the Russian outback and the Arctic - for her 105-page travel narrative, "Keepin' On, Walkin' On."

Each trip is the subject of one of six short chapters, drawn from her precise journal notes.

Steinberg will be signing copies and discussing her discoveries Wednesday, June 20, at Highland Books from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

The book is written in a flowing and concise conversational style that invites the reader to share in the adventures. An objective observer, the author reports but does not intrude. The result is a small book with large observations and insights.

From one perspective, Steinberg's accounts are an extension of a life devoted to the outdoors and especially to challenges from nature.

"I grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, raised by parents who put value on time spent out of doors. I learned to respect and revere the natural world at an early age, Hiking and exploring the hills and bluffs around my home town," she said. "I always loved a challenge, be it a solo, six-mile trek at age 15, or a plunge in icy waters of a river soon after the winter ice melted."

In telling, concrete details, the book touches on climates, customs and even culinary peculiarities - from yak butter to frozen char. The humorous, self-effacing asides and glimpses at natives and fellow travelers enrich the reading.

The account does not dismiss the potential perils - Bengal tigers and Russian bears, thin air and bitter cold - nor does it downplay the physical agonies.

The reports reveal that what compelled Steinberg to undertake the trips transcended any effort to keep in sound physical health.

"The rewards of being alone, without the comfort or crutch of a traveling companion, taught me to rely on strangers for protection, understanding and companionship," Steinberg wrote. "It also afforded me a wealth of memorable moments and experiences."

Well-known - and honored - for a leading role in the establishment of DuPont State Recreational Forest, Steinberg thought of that conservation project when she saw prayer flags in Tibet: "I remembered the prayers I had offered a year before, prayers to the God of Creation to help save 2,500 acres of beautiful waterfalls and forests in North Carolina from development."

Steinberg and her family have maintained a home in Cedar Mountain for more than 50 years, and she has lived full time there for the past 25.


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