I wish I could have written about Bill Irwin on a happier occasion. I read his book years ago and still treasure my copy signed both by Irwin and his guide dog, Orient.

Irwin passed away earlier this month of prostate cancer. At the age of 50, he was the first blind man to traverse the entire 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. His story as a recovering alcoholic looking for faith in God was an inspiration to many across the country.

First blind man to hike 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail
BY ZACH C. COHEN zach.cohen@washpost.com
The Washington Post Sunday
Mar 16 2014

As he walked the length of the Appalachian Trail for eight months in 1990, Bill Irwin estimated that he fell thousands of times. He cracked his ribs and suffered from hypothermia as he climbed mountains and forded rivers. The pads he wore didn’t…read more…

Online: Bill Irwin dies at 73; first blind hiker of Appalachian Trail