Unlike some of us, Walkin’ Jim Stoltz didn’t really have time for blogging. He was too busy hiking in the woods and playing his folk music on tours for school assemblies and wilderness benefits across the nation. In his second-to-last blog entry on Nov. 25, 2009, Stoltz writes:
Hello Everyone...I got back to Montana today after 2+ months on the road and a wonderful Fall Tour. It was SO nice to cook my own dinner and I'm looking forward to crawling into my own bed after I post this. It's been a long haul but my veggie-oil-fueled van has been running great. How I love cruising along on the smell of french fries!!
Stoltz died on Friday, Sept. 3, in Helena. The veteran performer, age 57, had traveled the states for 35 years, hiking more than 27,000 miles through wild country in North America. With his guitar in hand, he penned several albums worth of songs that unabashedly and transparently revealed his passion for nature: “It Ain’t Easy Being an Ol’ Grizzly Bear," ”The Food Chain Song” and “These Are Ancient Forests,” to name a few.
Over the years Stoltz had been through some medical hardships including when he had to have a kidney transplant in 2004, and when he learned of his tonsil chord cancer in 2007 that had spread to his lymph nodes. His last show was in Missoula on March 6, 2010, where he played a benefit concert and celebration for the organizations Last, Best Place Wildlands Campaign and Wilderness Watch.
Following the publication of his 2003 book, Walking with the Wind: Reflections on a Montana Journey, writer and activist Bill McKibben (The End of Nature) wrote:
This is the testament of one of America's most unique and devoted citizens. After wandering its wild places for decades, he understands things about this continent that few others have grasped with the same depth.