recommended hiking book – The Cactus Eaters

How I Lost My Mind-and Almost Found Myself-on the Pacific Crest Trail

Traversing broiling deserts, snowy mountain passes and dank rain forests on its crooked way from Mexico to Canada, the Pacific Coast Trail is an epic challenge for die-hard backpackers. White and his girlfriend, Melissa, set out, late in the season and bereft of experience, to tread all 2,650 miles of it, leaving behind lousy reporting jobs and hoping to find self-definition and a deepened relationship. (They call their trek the Lois and Clark Expedition.)

How I Lost My Mind-and Almost Found Myself-on the Pacific Crest Trail (P.S.)

Hilarious greenhorn misadventures ensue—including the author’s ill-advised chomp, while dizzy with dehydration, into a reputedly moisture-laden prickly-pear cactus—that tested their survival skills and commitment as a couple. The trail becomes less an itinerary than a world unto itself, full of squalor, discomfort and majestic scenery, and peopled by charismatic misfits and an austere cult of ultra-light speed-hikers, as the couple rely on arcane camping gear and bizarre gummy-bear-and-marshmallow diets. The wilderness authenticity the author seeks proves elusive; all journey and no destination, the story itself eventually trails off with the hero even more callow and confused than when he started. Still, White’s vivid prose and hangdog humor make readers want to keep up.

The Cactus Eaters – Amazon

Thanks Peter Spiller of Outside San Diego for the tip.

It’s jumped to the top of my MUST READ ON THE TRAIL list. Sounds like A Walk in the Woods crossed with A Blistered Kind of Love.

0 Replies to “recommended hiking book – The Cactus Eaters”

  1. I finished reading the book last week, and if you like “A Walk In The Woods”, you will like this book. If it drove you crazy, so will this book. I would like to read a quality narrative of a thru-hike from a different perspective than I found with Dan White and Bill Bryson. Perhaps I will give “A Blistered Kind of Love” a read.

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