About

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Welcome to my world and my blog. My new novel, THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story, is published by the Appalachian Trail Museum in Pine Grove Furnace State Park, PA. When I thru-hiked the AT SOBO in 1973, I pondered the possibility of bringing some sense of the thru-hike experience to life. I started writing a book the next year and finished about half of the project. But it finally stalled out after a few fits and starts. I still have the half-finished manuscript.

A few years ago, I decided to approach the dream again, this time as a novel told through the trail journals, shelter log entries, emails and letters of a diverse group of hikers who meet at Springer and head NOBO for Katahdin.  This effort clicked.  Now, thanks to my friends at the AT Museum (the sole beneficiary of all proceeds of THRU), the novel is up and ready to go. I hope many of you will read it and tell others about it.

Since I hiked the AT, I have gotten married, pursued a career as a reporter and corporate PR practitioner, fathered two kids, worked as ED of an environmental group, served in many volunteer capacities as a community volunteer, and continued to pursue outdoor adventure on five continents.  It has been a great ride! I am especially proud that my two kids have also thru-hiked.  Laura (Steady) did it SOBO in 2004, and my son Dan (Optimus Prime) did the same in 2000.  My wife Patsy (Mommy Hugs) wisely vows never to follow in our footsteps.

I urge everyone readying this blog to come visit the Len Foote Hike Inn, a backcountry lodge in the North Georgia mountains, just 4.5 miles from Springer.  Check us out at http://www.hike-inn.com.  I serve as board president of the small nonprofit overseeing the Hike Inn which is dedicated to a mission of “protecting Georgia’s natural resources through education and recreation.” I spend lots of time there and frequently (no surprise) give after-dinner presentations about thru-hiking. Come see us.

10 thoughts on “About

    1. I liked hiking with you too, Eric. The last time I hiked with you, I managed a major face plant resulting in blood, pain and general attitudinal malaise. Yesterday was perfect.

  1. Hey, Old Friend! I am so glad Anna posted the information about your book and your blog. I’m just getting started, but I’m really looking forward to reading about your adventures. Will let you know when I get the book…you’ll have to autograph it for me!

  2. Dear Richard,

    My long-haired son Alban and I stayed at the Hike Inn a few weeks ago (March 11th), when you gave an invigorating presentation on thru-hiking. You were good enough to sign a copy of THRU for us. That was a wonderful weather overnight as it moved from a foggy and warm Friday to a frigid, snow Saturday. And you were right — it was very manageable after a mile.

    I just finished reading THRU tonight. I have enjoyed it as much as anything I’ve read in the past several years — and that includes about ten Robert Heinlein books and six of Ursula LeGuin’s, and I love their works desperately. But yours gripped me incomparably — perhaps too much. I had a hard time bringing myself to finish it, perhaps feeling a fraction of that same reticence of those on Katharine. And, I’ve often talked about that last-mile syndrome that happens identically whether you’re walking three miles or twenty! It was nice to have some serendipitous convergence.
    I want to thank you for these past few weeks. I hope I find a way to experience firsthand what you have so vividly and warmly evoked. It is a truly magical book, and I can’t wait to purchase it again and again for friends.

    Congratulations, and thanks upon thanks.

    My best,
    Brian Parks

    1. Hi Brian! Sorry I am slow getting back to you. I remember you and Alban very well and was amused by Alban’s thoughtful expression when I asked him if he thought he would like to hit the entire AT. I was also impressed that you noticed my NBA comments about the Oklahoma Thunder. But what I enjoy most is your appreciation for the phrase “last-mile distortion zone.” Man, I have felt that a thousand times in my many years of hiking. I hope to run into you and Alban again at the Hike Inn. You seemed to soak up the magic of the place.

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