Laugh At Funny Things That Happen While Hiking on the Appalachian Trail

I’m inviting all of you to come to the Duncannon, PA Appalachian Trail Community event June 2, 2012. There will be music, entertainment and food. At 1:30 pm I’m going to talk about funny things that happen while hiking on the Appalachian Trail. I’ll try to get you to laugh your socks off.
This is going to be a fantastic Appalachian Trail event filled with fun and a chance to get together with other hikers. For more info visit:http://www.duncannonappalachiantrail…/Schedule.html

Avalanche and Gorilla Jim called successor to A Walk in the Woods

A review of Avalanche and Gorilla Jim, Appalachian Trail Adventures and Other Tales states: 

“The bulk of this book deals with backpacking the Appalachian Trail, and it is a worthy successor to Bill Bryson’s classic book on that subject, A Walk in the Woods . . . . I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in backpacking the Appalachian Trail.”   The VVA Veteran, Vietnam Veterans of America, David Wilson

To read this review and Avalanche and Gorilla Jim’s connection to the Vietnam War, click on

Al’s Nationally Syndicated Radio Interview With Carole Marks

Carole Marks interviewed author Al Dragon on her national syndicated radio show A Touch of Grey.  They discussed Dragon’s new book Avalanche and Gorilla Jim, Appalachian Trail Adventures and Other Tales and its relationship to people being more active. Avalanche and Gorilla Jim is about a former army combat soldier and a semiretired lawyer who hike 1600 miles of the Appalachian Trail, with its adventures, comedy and surprises. Along with being entertaining, Carole Marks brought out that the book inspires people to do more than they ever thought they could. 

Fantastic Newspaper Review of Avalanche and Gorilla Jim

Ralph Collier wrote a fantastic review in the Mainline Times about  Avalanche and Gorilla Jim, Appalachian Trail Adventures and Other Tales. The Mainline Times is the premier newspaper in the affluent mainline suburbs west of Philadelphia. He nails the 1600 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail with all its laugh out loud moments, adventures and shocking surprises. He even included being locked in an outhouse when the doorknob fell apart, and my goofy encounter with a rattlesnake. Yes, there are also dangers out there, including the murders of hikers, some of which I reveal in Avalanche and Gorilla Jim. You can read Collier’s great book review at

Al Dragon


Charlie Foster is the April winner of the “WHAT’S FUNNY ABOUT HIKING” Contest with this gem:

“My wife and I were in our favorite spot in the Adirondacks. It was in September right after Hurricane Irene. Before we left I knew we were going to get some left over wind and rain from the storm. We have been through worse storms where I had to use my chainsaw to cut trees to get out so we off we went ready to brave whatever Mother Nature would throw at us.

Around Tuesday morning the wind and rain started. As the afternoon wore on the storm increased. The tarp was blowing but I have seen it move more. We finished supper and sat around the fire as the storm blew around us.

“We went to bed as usual but with expectations of the storm getting a little worse. I woke up around 3 in the morning to the sound of the tarp flapping in the breeze (wind around 40 mph).

“I knew if I didn’t get up and secure the corner of the tarp that, let loose, it would do more damage to itself and the items under it. So, bollicky bare-assed I went out to do a temporary fix to the tarp.

“I tried several times to grab the flapping corner. Finally I latched onto it and a gust of wind came in and filled the tarp. I held onto the tarp tighter so I wouldn’t lose it. The tarp just lifted me off the ground. I didn’t know whether to let go and watch the tarp fly away or hang on tighter and let the tarp lift me higher. I didn’t know how high I was going to go as I was already 10 feet off the ground.

“I did hang on and the wind decreased enough to let me down slowly. I tied the corner of the tarp in a knot and tied it off with the corner line. What a wild ride that was, and I got a free shower to boot.”

An autographed copy of Avalanche and Gorilla Jim is on its way to Charlie.

If something humorous ever happened while trekking, please send it to and share it with your fellow hikers. You may be the next winner.

Funny backpacking comment

As you may know, a thru-hiker hikes an entire long trail like the 2184 mile steep mountainous Appalachian Trail. Hopeful Hiker once said: “Thru-hiking is easy–except for the hiking part.”

If something humorous ever happened while hiking or backpacking, please send it to  I’ll let you know some of them, and a prize will be given for the funniest hiking or backpacking story each month.

A great backpacking story

Funny stories about backpacking, hiking and the Appalachian Trail are coming in to the funny hiking story contest. Here’s a riotous one from the well known Circuit Rider who tells us about how someone got their trail name while backpacking the Appalachian Trail:

“Sherlock and I were hiking with Hopeful one misty morning in Georgia, when I realized my bottle filled with denatured alcohol must have fallen out of my pack.  I really need to get that side pocket sewn.

“Anyway, a short time later, a hiker we had just met the previous day, caught up with us and, with not a small amount of frustration, exclaimed, ‘Circuit Rider, why did you put denatured alcohol in a coke bottle?  I about killed myself!’

“I didn’t ask him why he failed to notice the ‘x’ marks all over the bottle, nor did I inquire as to why he was drinking from a bottle he knew was mine anyway.  I simply asked him if he had a Trail Name yet.  He said, ‘No.’

“So we gave him one.  From that point on he was known as Boozer.”

What’s your funny story? Tell us at the What’s Funny About Hiking Contest

Love to hear from you.

Hilarious hiking and backpacking stories

I’m collecting funny incidents about hiking and backpacking.  If something humorous ever happened while trekking, please send it to  I’ll let you know some of them, and a prize will be given for the funniest each month.

Everyone has had an experience that made people laugh their socks off. Whether it is rib-tickling or uproarious, send it in.  We all enjoy a good laugh and this is a great opportunity to give your fellow hikers a chance to share your comic event. Sometimes we take the world too seriously–this is a chance to lighten up and enjoy the wacky things that happen when trekking.

Backpacking Checklists

Backpacking—whether it’s your first backpacking trip or your one hundredth time hiking the trails—having the proper backpacking gear is essential. The following sites have backpacking-gear checklists to help you make your trail hiking experience not only fun but also safe. (Click green headings for checklists.)

Backpacker Magazine is highly knowledgeable, so it’s no surprise that they have more than a dozen backpacking checklists and backpacking gear reviews.

REIis a leader in outdoor clothing and gear. You can print their backpacking checklist and use it to run down the items you’ll need for hiking trails.

Keith Drury offers a discussion of ultralight backpacking gear. Although it’s a good discussion, beginning backpackers may find it too advanced for them.  Still, it’s worth reading.

Only The Lightest Camping Equipment has a 3-Day Ultra Light Backpacking List. Steven Green, the checklist’s author, created it in response to the demand by people looking to keep their pack weight down to 15 pounds or less. There is also a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet allowing readers to compare the various gear he suggests.

Step by Step: An Introduction to Walking the Appalachian Trail. Backpackers—especially beginning trail hikers—may want to pay particular attention to pages 12 through 16. They contain information and lists for hiking and backpacking the Appalachian Trail.  This rich source of information also answers questions about hiking the Appalachian Trail. The guide, published by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, is free.

The Lightweight Backpacker has a Backpacking Equipment Checklist from which you can choose what you want to take on your hike.

Backpacking Checklist (Gear List): 3-Season, 3-Day is a short article with a gear list containing the weight of each item so you can add up and find out what your full pack will weigh. Always carefully consider what you are taking; the suggestion here to take only a “half-quart” of water is low. Unless you are near a water source, a full quart is minimal—in hot weather and when you are far from the next water source, carrying more water is necessary.

Happy trail hiking!

Click on the cover and order your copy today!