Published on April 09, 2022 00:04
Cindy Ross has written two books that reflect her love of the outdoors.
One describes how she and her husband, Todd Gladfelter, built a log cabin using trees they felled.
The other tells the stories of troubled veterans who have recovered remarkably from the trek.
The books are :
“The Log Cabin Years: How One Couple Built a Home From Scratch and Created a Life” (288 pages. $24.99, print, $16.99 digital, Skyhorse Publishing, 2021)
“Walking Toward Peace: Veterans Healing on America’s Trails” (224 pages, $19.95 print, $9.99 digital, Mountaineers Books, 2021)
Ross and her husband live in a log cabin they built 32 years ago at the base of Hawk Mountain in southern Schuylkill County.
“I wrote the book 30 years ago. I did not sell it. I had many other book opportunities at the time,” says Ross.
An editor asked the author for a book proposal, and Ross submitted “Log Cabin Years.” It has been revised with an updated epilogue about the couple’s life.
Ross says the book is about building a log cabin and having a wedding. The challenges of the construction project helped the couple build their relationship.
The couple spent 10 days at the Great Lakes School of Log Building in Minnesota. Ross and Gladfelter had more motivation than financial resources.
“If we had had more money, we would have bought a crane and sold it. We had to use a block and tackle system, which is physically more difficult. But we were young and strong. We were both ready to work hard,” Ross said in a phone interview.
While the house was being built, the couple ran an inn along the Appalachian Trail near Hawk Mountain.
Ross, a frequent contributor to Pennsylvania Magazine, has given numerous author talks on his books.
She is the director of the non-profit organization River House PA. The eight-year-old non-profit helps veterans who participate in rehabilitation programs. It offers hikes, tubing, restaurants and a sanctuary.
“Walking Toward Peace” is about veterans, many of whom served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Hiking helped them heal,” says Ross.
Getting to know veterans and gaining their trust was often the first and most important step in healing from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or poor life choices, Ross says, noting that isolation prevents many use available resources. “They become apathetic and don’t trust people. They stay home,” she said.
Through her work at River House, Ross befriended many veterans and stayed in touch with them. The appendix to the book describes the successes of many people who have recovered.
Ross couldn’t celebrate the release of his two new books, his eighth and ninth. The day after Thanksgiving 2021, her husband fell from the roof of their cabin and broke three vertebrae in his neck. He cannot walk, is paralyzed on one side and partially paralyzed on the other side.
Gladfelter made a career of making fine furniture and became a noted chainsaw wood carver.
Ross has had to deal with the challenges of finding medical equipment and the discouragement that her husband faces. “Some things come back, but very slowly,” says Ross.
“The Bamba Boys”, a chapter of “Walking Towards Peace”, is about disabled veterans who use adapted bikes on the trails.
Ross hopes her husband, using special equipment, can travel with her on the Great American Rail Trail that connects Washington State to Washington, DC, for their 40th wedding anniversary.
“Literary Scene” is a column about authors, books and publishing. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Recent books by Cindy Ross include ‘The Log Cabin Years: How One Couple Built A Home From Scratch And Created A Life’ and ‘Walking Toward Peace: Veterans Healing on America’s Trails’.