The Unlikely Thru-Hiker: An Appalachian Trail Journey |
Derick Lugo had never been hiking. He didn't even know if he liked being outside all that much. He certainly couldn't imagine going more than a day without manicuring his goatee. But with a job overseas cut short and no immediate plans, this fixture of the greater New York comedy circuit began to think about what he might do with months of free time and no commitments. He had heard of the Appalachian Trail and knew of its potential for danger and adventure, but he had never seriously considered attempting to hike all 2,192 miles of it. Then again, what could go wrong for a young black man from the city trekking solo through the East Coast backwoods? The Unlikely Thru-Hiker is the story of how an unknowing ambassador of one of the AT's least common demographics, unfamiliar with both the outdoors and thru-hiking culture, sets off with an extremely overweight pack and a willfully can-do attitude to conquer the infamous trail. What follows are eye-opening lessons on preparation, humility, race relations, and nature's wild unpredictability. But this isn't a hard-nosed memoir of discouragement or intolerance. What sets Lugo apart from the typical walk in the woods is his refusal to let any challenge squash his inner Pollyanna. Through it all, he perseveres with humor, tenacity, and an unshakeable commitment to grooming--earning him the trail name "Mr. Fabulous"--that sees him from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin in Maine.