• Blog,  Book,  Hiking,  Story

    It’s Not Farewell

    We pitch our tents at a picnic area, where we’re hoping we can’t be seen. I’m not sure if camping is allowed here, but I’m completely drained and cannot find the strength to hike any farther. A nonstop hike with the Honeymoon Hikers, led by the tireless Ratman, has left me thoroughly fatigued. I solo hiked 10 miles before I caught up with the couple earlier today on the trail. The last time I saw the Honeymoon Hikers was at Waynesboro a few days ago, where I took a zero. After my separation from Magic, I welcomed a solitary day in a small town, where I could unwind and recharge.…

  • Blog,  Book,  Hiking,  Story

    This Thing Called Trail Magic

    I’m at Harpers Ferry having lunch with Boots, Melody and Scholar. Scholar is a college student writing a paper on thru-hikers. She’s section hiking the AT while observing and questioning thru-hikers about their time on the trail. Knowing this, I (a conversationalist… ok, a chatterbox) am eager to drop some AT knowledge for our intrigued interviewer.  “I was at a shelter,” I begin, “and there was a thru-hiker perturbed about not receiving trail magic, as if all thru-hikers are entitled to acts of kindness. I was perplexed by her complaint; it’s hard to imagine a thru-hiker demanding a handout. These gifts are solely given from the heart, not ordered like…

  • Book,  Hiking,  Travel Memoir

    The White Shadow & His Dark Companion

    Like his father, Overdrive has a childlike sense of humor and at times only he finds his jest humorous. Still, even a bad Overdrive joke can bring a smile to anyone’s face. It’s not because his stories are funny, but because he, himself finds them to be hilarious. One day Overdrive and I were hiking together along a large meadow. It was a mellow, carefree day for both of us. We walked side by side, instead of one in front of the other along the trail. “Isn’t this a good day, my Dark Companion?” said Overdrive in his interpretation of a deep superhero voice.  His tone and the statement caught…

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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…

  • Blog,  Book,  Hiking,  Story

    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.…

  • Blog,  Book,  Hiking,  Story

    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…

  • Blog,  Book,  Hiking

    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…                                       …