Aspen meets Justin while on her famous trek from Mexico to Canada, detailed in her first memoir Girl in the Woods. Falling in love at 19, she is excited to share her life with this handsome, mysterious man 10 years her senior, who literally saved her life in the woods. Quickly accepted by his family, the newlyweds explore the hills he grew up in and beatnik scene of Northern California. A bit naive, Aspen doesn’t think to ask questions regarding their finances or future plans. She is enjoying her newfound adult freedom, letting the days easily arrange themselves with Justin leading the way. The couple soon finds themselves in NYC so Aspen can return to college and focus on her writing career. Slowly their wandering thru-hiker existence is filled with school and writing responsibilities along with exorbitant rent to pay. As Aspen’s world expands, Justin’s free spirit begins to fade. A few years later, on a dark November morning Justin leaves to attend a friends funeral - and disappears. Aspen is left alone to pick up the shattered pieces of her young life. This honest, expressive memoir is heartbreaking and beautiful. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Aspen’s descriptive scenery and adventurous spirit as she deciphers the true definition of love.
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