A long, long walker finds her voice

Barbara Jenkins became famous when she walked 3,000 miles across America with her new husband. “We were nowhere upon nowhere, but we pushed ahead with the tumbleweeds, spending six days and nights between towns and eating a lot of peanut butter sandwiches,” she says. “We drank out of windmills and camped in waist-high golden grass. Snow drifts in the Rockies were deep and dangerous as we walked on horizontal ice shelves, testing each step to make sure the ground would hold us. A gang out of the Culebra Mountains threatened to kill us. A car was forced off the road in one city and ran into us. I wondered if this was the end. Maybe I was dying. Toward the end of our journey, I had learned I was pregnant. To top it off, I had 200 miles to walk before I reached the Pacific Coast.”

In “So Long as It’s Wild: Standing Strong After My Famous Walk Across America,” Jenkins breaks over 40 years of silence. The couple co-authored the New York Times bestseller “The Walk West” (15 million copies), but now the grandmother offers a platform for discussions around heartache, love, loss, marriage, and fame. She is stepping out from the mountain of the man she followed to find her voice and claim her story.

She is also the subject of “Mother Nature,” a book by her son, Jedidiah Jenkins, scheduled for release in the fall of 2023.

Jenkins lives in Tennessee, where she has served in the administrations of two of the state’s governors and spends some of her time painting and in other creative projects.