Lovers of the great outdoors are invited to join author Richard Judy from 1 to 3 this Saturday, Oct. 8, when he signs copies of his Appalachian Trail saga “THRU” at Downtown Books. In Apalachicola.

When Judy completed a southbound hike of the Appalachian Trail at age 21, he dreamed of capturing his experience on paper. Now, in “THRU: An Appalachian Trail Love Story,” this decades-old vision comes to life.

When a diverse group of "thru-hikers" meets on Springer Mountain in Georgia, the trail 's southern terminus, they embark upon a 2,184-mile odyssey culminating on Maine's legendary Mount Katahdin. Along the way, the strangers bond over excruciating pain, unimaginable hunger and thirst, and pure elation as they trek for months along the trail. Ultimately, “THRU” examines the questions asked by every thru-hiker: "Why am I doing this? And what have I gotten myself into?"

Richard (trail name "Peregrine") Judy lives in Roswell, Georgia. He thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 1973. His son and daughter are also thru-hikers. He serves as board president of the not-for-profit group overseeing the Len Foote Hike Inn in the North Georgia Mountains.

“THRU” is Judy’s first novel. All proceeds from the sale of “THRU” go to the Appalachian Trail Museum in Gardners, Pennsylvania.