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  1. #1
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    Default accounts of the PCT

    Has anyone ever seen a published account of a PCT hike? I've only foiund one, but it was written by an ultra-runner and was not an account from a typical "hiker" perspective. There's no lack of books on AT thru-hikes, but for the PCT there just seems to be guide and data books.

  2. #2
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    Go to the book section of The Pacific Crest Trail Association website (www.pcta.org) and you'll see all sorts of stuff.

    You might also want to check out some trip diaries/journals at www.trailjournals.com.

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    There actually is a lack of printed material on the PCT. I know of a few. The original is Eric Rybacks, "The High Adventures of Eric Ryback". It is an okay read, but raised more questions with me than answers. There is a book called "A Pacific Crest Trail Odyssey" written by one of the legendary class of 77ers. I can't remember his name he is so legendary. I don't think these two are in print anymore. I got mine from a used book store. Cindy Ross has a book, I think, that is still in print, but I've forgotten the title. More recently, Angela and Duffy(?) Ballard wrote a book about their 2002 (?) hike called "A Blistered Kind of Love". It won some sort of award and is published, I think, by the Mountaineers. Those are all I can think of.

    With electronic resources, I think Dave Brock's 2001 hike is a good one. See it at http://members.tripod.com/gohike/

    I like Mags journal, which you can find at www.magnanti.com

    There are a bunch of good journals from 2002 at trailjournals. For 2004, you might look at Sisu and Raru's, which seems to be particularly well written.

    My journal is available, for God knows how long, at http://mypage.iu.edu/~chwillet/travel/PCT/index.html

    It will be moving sometime soon, when I get my GDT page at least partially done.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris
    The original is Eric Rybacks, "The High Adventures of Eric Ryback". It is an okay read, but raised more questions with me than answers.
    Thats certainly putting it politely!

  5. #5

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    Not mentioned so far is Karen Berger's book put out by Westcliffe Publishing. It's a coffee table book with lots of photos plus her journal. She's a good writer, and the photos are excellent. It makes a good Christmas present.

    Six Moon Trail is a really awful book, but interesting in showing how the trail has changed over the years. Back then the PCT had a lot more road walking than it does now. I disliked the book because of his attitude - he was utterly miserable and homesick the whole way. I wanted to tell him "Go home!".

    Cindy Ross's book was good, but scared me off the PCT for a few years. I was terrified of the snow in the Sierras after reading her account. When I did hike the trail, Sonora Pass loomed as the big boogie man. Yes it had snow, and yes I could see where it could be dangerous - but for us it wasn't that bad.

    The Ballard's book from their 2000 hike was a good account of what it's like to hike with a partner who has no experience at all. There were some errors in the book, but nothing that anyone who didn't hike that year would notice.

    The Ryback book was very creative - but not a how to, by any means.

    The PCTA site has a few others, but those are the only ones I've read.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker

    The Ryback book was very creative - but not a how to, by any means.
    "Very creative"...that made me chuckle!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker
    Six Moon Trail is a really awful book, but interesting in showing how the trail has changed over the years. Back then the PCT had a lot more road walking than it does now. I disliked the book because of his attitude - he was utterly miserable and homesick the whole way. I wanted to tell him "Go home!".
    I hate books/journals that are like that. If you are going to bitch the entire time, go home.
    Cindy Ross's book was good, but scared me off the PCT for a few years.
    All of Cindy's books are like that. Maybe its her attempt at being dramatic. Look at how often she has a foot full of blisters. Kind of makes think you can't hike unless at least one foot is hamburger meat.
    Yellow Jacket -- Words of Wisdom (tm) go here.

  8. #8

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    I find most journals to be really boring (including my own) regardless of the hikers attitude. I'd much rather read a book about the Natural History of an area. That way, when I visit the area, I have a grasp of the geology, flora & fauna.

    Unless a hiker has a totally unique perspective, I am not inclined to read their journal or book. Of course, for the armchair hiker, a journal is a beautiful thing.
    'All my lies are always wishes" ~Jeff Tweedy~

  9. #9

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    I love my own journals - I reread them on a regular basis. At this point the only online journals I read now are either from friends who are hiking or CDT journals. I like those because each hike is so unique. I like reading about people who are enthusiastic about their hikes. If they aren't enjoying it, then we won't enjoy reading about it. Folks like Goof and Jonathan Ley are out exploring and having fun. Some hikes are just a litany of complaints - boring! Other journals just describe the food they eat each day and how often they go to town. I know that that's what is foremost in your mind when thruhiking, but it gets pretty boring to read about what the hiker ate for dinner. Sometimes the most interesting events aren't discussed at all or there will just be a passing line so those who know understand and the rest of us just scratch our heads. Of course, reading about illegal fires or vandalizing shelters makes me cringe - some things really don't belong in public journals - but people write about them as if they're something to be proud of. Oh well. No one said thruhikers have to be smart.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOWGLI16
    I find most journals to be really boring (including my own) regardless of the hikers attitude. I'd much rather read a book about the Natural History of an area. That way, when I visit the area, I have a grasp of the geology, flora & fauna.

    Unless a hiker has a totally unique perspective, I am not inclined to read their journal or book. Of course, for the armchair hiker, a journal is a beautiful thing.
    Mowgli, I agree 100% with your comments. I've never really understood the popularity of sites such as trailjournals. I made notes in my journal as to scenic places to return to - and the only time I ever pull out my journal is to research these hiking areas for upcoming trips.

    As far as "unique perspective" I can think of 2 individuals who if they wrote a book I would consider buying. I'd pick up a book written by Baltimore Jack since he is an accomplished writer and as a multi-time thruhiker he could probably tell me something about the trail that I don't already know. (But I have absolutely no interest in his upcoming "how to hike the trail" book.) I'd also consider a book written by Wingfoot as I share many the trail values that he does and I would expect that a book written by WF would have a lot of trail nature information in it.

  11. #11
    Just Passin' Thru.... Kozmic Zian's Avatar
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    Yea.....PCT Books...........Check out Eric Ryback's 'The High Adventure of Eric Ryback. Written in 1971 after his Can-Mexico ultra-marathon. See how they did it back in the 'Old Days' before ultra-light. Great read. by Chronicle Books/San Francisco. KZ@
    Kozmic Zian@ :cool: ' My father considered a walk in the woods as equivalent to churchgoing'. ALDOUS HUXLEY

  12. #12
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    I find it hard to capture the experience in the journal. I was journaling a hike I did this summer, and it was one of my best hikes ever, yet my journal was full of things like "the bugs have sure made it hard to rest today" and those types of things. I recognized this as I was doing the writing. I reach the end of an entry and it was like everything was there but the main event. The beauty of the forest. The old trees. The green plants that seem so alive compared to the dead dryed out ones at home. The butterflies lazily enjoying a patch of sunlight. Somehow that stuff was hard to get in there. The center of a hike is the feeling, the joy of exploring, the wonder of discovery, the refreshing dip in a cool stream, the sweet tart taste of a wild raspberry, the sense of remoteness when you see mountains in all directions. The experience is intense, but the journal just doesn't seem to capture it.

  13. #13
    Bloody Cactus MadAussieInLondon's Avatar
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    I really loved Danced with Marmots
    http://www.angelfire.com/trek/nz_usa/

    by a kiwi firefighter who had no hiking experience. just up and went!

    There is a photo of wha tlooks to be a book but I dunno if it was published.
    -- [TrailName :: Bloody Cactus] --

  14. #14
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    I agree with Bloody Cactus, I just read Dances with Marmots and it was great.

    BC, hope you and Xena are doing well! Congrats...

  15. #15

    Default Accounts of the PCT

    G'day Bloody Cactus! (and Solemates)
    Unfortunately my account never found a publisher that was interested enough - that pic of a book cover that you see on the site is just a sample of a cover that I had all ready and rarin' to go!
    Glad to hear you enjoyed the read though, get quite a bit of positive feedback from folks who have read it, which makes it all worthwhile!
    Cheers, George Spearing.
    Dances with Marmots

  16. #16

    Default New Book

    In the new PCT Communicator there is a listing for a new (to me at least) PCT book about a 1999 hiker. I have no idea how it is, but it is good to see that there are some new ones out there.

  17. #17

    Thumbs up

    Bit of an update here folks....
    "Dances With Marmots - A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure" is now available in paperback, ISBN:1411656180
    You can get more details at Dances With Marmots
    Available directly from the printers site or through Amazon.
    Cheers, Geo.

  18. #18
    Mom of Future Thru-Hiker docllamacoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit Walker
    Six Moon Trail is a really awful book, but interesting in showing how the trail has changed over the years. Back then the PCT had a lot more road walking than it does now. I disliked the book because of his attitude - he was utterly miserable and homesick the whole way. I wanted to tell him "Go home!".
    I thought the EXACT same thing when I read that book.

    Cindy Ross's book was good, but scared me off the PCT for a few years. I was terrified of the snow in the Sierras after reading her account. When I did hike the trail, Sonora Pass loomed as the big boogie man. Yes it had snow, and yes I could see where it could be dangerous - but for us it wasn't that bad.
    That's so funny! I felt the same way after reading the section on the Sierras. It scared me to death, but once we got out there, we didn't have much trouble at all.
    Llama, of Doc, Llama & Coy

  19. #19

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    Originally Posted by Spirit Walker
    Six Moon Trail is a really awful book, but interesting in showing how the trail has changed over the years. Back then the PCT had a lot more road walking than it does now. I disliked the book because of his attitude - he was utterly miserable and homesick the whole way. I wanted to tell him "Go home!".
    I remember him talking about "pretty girls" and constantly getting lost because he was reading books while hiking. I forget his name but the hiker is a NASA astronuat now.

  20. #20
    Registered User wilderness bob's Avatar
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    Trail Journals can be boring, mine is. Posted for personal reasons, printed and put into a three ring binder for the future grandchildren to read, that is why I wrote it. I suggest if you want to read other peoples experience's then do what I do, read what is recommended, I am about to order "Dances with Marmots" once I am done with this note (hmm, the reason why you posted your request no doubt). Thanks for doing so. See you up the trail, WB

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