My rating: 4/5 stars
I liked this a lot more than I expected to - I normally don't read nonfiction for fun, but this read a lot like fiction. As a backpacker, I alternately laughed and cringed at how poorly prepared she was.
What is hiking but walking, after all? I can walk! I'd argued when Paul had expressed his concern about my never actually having gone backpacking. I walked all the time. I walked for hours on end in my work as a waitress. I walked around the cities I lived in and visited. I walked for pleasure and purpose. All of these things were true. But after about fifteen minutes of walking on the PCT, it was clear that I had never walked into desert mountains in early June with a pack that weighed significantly more than half of what I did strapped onto my back.As a waitress and a hiker, I can definitively say that hiking and walking at work are not the same thing! As I'm preparing for a 230 mile trip in the Spring, I keep telling myself that if this idiot could do 19 mile days, then I can too!
Lots of people don't like this book because the author did some awful things in her life - she cheated on her husband and used drugs. But I totally identified with her. I lost my mom at 29 and did some awful things as I worked through my grief. Luckily, I wasn't quite as horrible as her, but I understand how grief can make you self-destructive. But I also understand not liking a book because you don't like the main character - there's lots of books I don't like for that reason! But if you'e ever dealt with major grief, I think you'll get this book. This book is less about the trail and more about her finally working through her grief in a more productive way.