I went into reading this book with no knowledge of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Let me re-phrase that — I knew nothing about thru-hiking the PCT. I knew about the trail itself as I’ve been reading a lot on the Appalachian Trail, so the PCT, naturally, was also intriguing.
Also considering that I had already read Bill Walker’s tale of his AT hike, this book was of interest to me.
Walker, a nearly 7-foot-tall hiker, has a unique and witty way of writing, so I was really interested to see his take on this trail on the West Coast of the country in his book — Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail.
For those who don’t know about the PCT, it’s a trail that runs from the border of Mexico to Canada, going through California and other Western states. It’s actually longer than the Appalachian Trail.
If any of you read Walker’s AT book, this is worth a read, too. His style is the same and the stories keep you smiling throughout.
On a side note, Walker will also be one of a handful of people I have spoken with for a series of stories I’ll be doing on long-distance hiking (more specifically the Appalachian Trail) here on the blog in a few weeks. Stay tuned for that.
Back to the book, Walker takes you through the trials and tribulations of the PCT. It’s definitely not the AT, as he shows, and it’s definitely not easy.
Now for my thoughts…
Walker’s style is a fun way to read. He’s witty, funny and entertaining. He captures your attention and really keeps you interested in the subject matter.
As with his first book, this one was a page-turner. I got through the book quickly, though not as quickly as his AT book. Walker does his best to paint a wonderful portrait of this trail and the people he meets. He also does a very good job in showing major differences between the two trails, which is especially beneficial for people who enjoy knowing about long-distance hiking. For example, there are no shelters on the PCT, as opposed to the many that dot the AT.
Further, he does a good job at making fun of himself. Though he does a good job at pointing out the misgivings of others on the trail (which is especially good because it shows the different personalities one meets on the trail), he’s not afraid to bash himself and show his fears or mess ups. It’s a good way to realize that Walker is essentially a normal Joe, just like you and I. What that really does is shows that doing something like this can be someone who works the 9-5 job and all that. Someone doesn’t have to be super human to hike 2,000-plus miles.
I also like that Walker holds no punches. He tells it like he sees it. Whether it’s a mistake that he made or someone he met on the trail being a total jerk, he gives the full feel of the trail and what one might encounter.
I’ll also note to those of you who read on the Kindle, the book is extremely well-priced for it.
This book was a little more jumpy than his tales of the AT. There were times when I was left scratching my head in wonder about certain people. He meets a lot of people on the trail, so keeping them together was a little tough when he jumped around. In his AT book, things seemed to flow a little better and I, as a reader, felt more connected to the personalities that he presented.
I also read this in the Kindle version. So, as with many books I’ve found on Kindle, there are the occasional errors, which range from spelling to style. But that’s bound to happen. Though it’s a little frustrating to someone who watches for things like that (such as me), it’s not a deal-breaker in regard to reading the book. I write this, however, to warn people of this as it might bother others. There were some misused words and some odd words used in situations. Though a couple times it made me let out a deep sigh, I still enjoyed the book.
As with Walker’s Appalachian Trail book, he takes us through a memorable trip. From his personal safety and thoughts to the antics and craziness of people he meets on the trail, Walker does an excellent job at painting this wonderful trail that goes walks the one side of the country.
He’s funny. He’s serious. He has a colorful way of telling a story.
There’s good stories and bad. There’s interesting people and duds.
Basically, it has everything one needs to be a strong tale of something crazy and amazing. There are a lot of hiking books out there, but this one and Walker’s AT book are two that I would highly encourage people to read.
If you have an interest in the outdoors or hiking, this is a book that will allow you to armchair a long-distance hike through someone’s eyes. And that someone doesn’t worry about ruffling feathers. He tells it like he sees it unfolds and that’s a refreshing way to see this trail.
The rating on this one is tough. I think it’s a solid read and well worth the time spent reading it. However, it wasn’t as good as his first book on the AT. I thought his AT book was more crisp and flowed better. I was also laughing at that book a bit more and more intrigued by where he went. It could be the subject matter, too, as the AT seriously does seem more interesting than the PT. Still, with everything in mind, I’m going to give this book a strong 4, with an edge a little higher even. It’s well worth the read and I would highly recommend it. I look forward to more from Walker in the future.
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