It started as a far-fetched idea—to hike the entire length of the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline—eventually became a plan. In September 2012, inspired not only to draw attention to global warming but also to explore his personal limits, Ken Ilgunas strapped on his backpack, stuck out his thumb on the interstate just north of Denver, and hitchhiked 1,500 miles north to the Alberta, Canada oil sands.
Then he turned around and began a 1,700 mile trek, hiking—nearly entirely on foot—to the XL pipeline's endpoint in Port Arthur, Texas. And this wasn’t a manicured trail: he walked almost exclusively on private property, mostly on the wide-open, half-wild pasture and farming fields of Alberta, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
The resulting book, Trespassing Across America: One Man’s Epic, Never-Done-Before, and Sort of Illegal Hike Across the Heartland, is a meditation on climate change, the beauty of the natural world, and the physical and mental extremes to which we can push ourselves.