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    Walmart… It’s A Helluva Drug!

    It takes nearly two hours for me to zip out of my cozy sleeping bag, drink coffee, eat breakfast and pack my belongings before I finally step foot on the white-blazed trail. In truth, I don’t see how I can move much quicker, nor do I actually wish to try so early in the morning. Before my morning cup of coffee, nothing seems urgent enough for me to exert extra mental or physical energy. Being more of a night owl than a lark can be attributed to the line of work that kept me up long into the night. At times, I would arrive home just before sunrise and other…

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    The Moving Village

    “Derick, did you get a trail name?” asks Soho as she breaks down her tent.  A meeting of the minds was held yesterday evening and a few trail names were assigned. Nora is now Doc, her brother is Three Week, Kevin is still Kevin and I’m… “Well, Mr Fabulous is what Overdrive came up with. It sounds fitting, no?” I jest, deciding that if I’m going to stick with such a name, I should have fun with it.  In response, Soho gives a cute giggle and then says, “I like it.”  Well, if a pretty German girl likes my new hiker handle, then you’re darn tootin I’m keeping it.  I…

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    Smokey the Driver

    I do not smoke cigarettes and I always try to keep my distance from those who are smoking. Yet, for some unexplained reason, no matter where I position myself, smoke always seems to work its way to my face, at which point I unwillingly inhale it into my lungs, which then causes me to feel a distinctly unpleasant pressure on my chest.  Now I realize that New York City doesn’t corner the market on fresh air, but it’s all I have. So, when I’m walking down the street and I find myself behind a smoker, it triggers a response in which I scurry past the poisonous clouds of offending smoke.…

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    A Race Against Time

    It’s Sunday, 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m on an Amtrak train to Georgia. The arrival time to the Gainesville station is 7 o’clock tomorrow morning. It’s a 17-hour train ride that I ordinarily wouldn’t consider taking. A flight would have been faster, but not as convenient, due to carry-on restrictions against some of the gear I have; like my poles, a utility knife and alcohol fuel… which is definitely suspicious. Nonetheless, I’m on a train… and so my journey begins. Though, I did have quite a time this morning getting ready.  I set my alarm for 9 a.m., in hopes that this would give me enough time to ready my…

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    A Brotherly Text

    My brother Carlos lives in Harlem, and like me, he has never explored the backcountry. He’s clueless about the Appalachian Trail and has exaggerated thoughts of what is needed to prepare for a long-distance hike, or am I being too carefree? Nonetheless, seven years separate the two of us and days before I leave, my kid brother is taking a parental approach at my pursuit for adventure by questioning my better judgment in the following text exchange: Carlos – Dude, when are you leaving again? Me – March 18 Carlos – What kind of survival gear did you get for your trip? Me – Everything; tent, sleeping bag, portable mini…

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    NYC – Up All Night

    My hiking book, The Unlikely Thru-Hiker is complete, yet due to length and continuity, some stories were left out. It was difficult to add them without causing some hiccups in the progress of the narrative. Still, I know in my heart, the whole story has been told as well as I could have wished for. That said, I would like to share the cut chapters and events in this blog. Let’s start from the beginning, here’s the prologue: NYC – Up All Night This is beyond me, beyond what I know…                                       …