Thru Hiking Will Break Your Heart is a tale about a women's first time hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). For those of you who aren't familiar with the PCT, it is a trail that begins at the border of Mexico and California and goes all the way to the border of Canada. The trail goes through varying landscapes such as the Mojave desert, the Sierras, Mt. Shasta wilderness, and the Cascades in Oregon and Washington.
This book is by far the best book I've read about the PCT. Carrot Quinn, the author, gives a detailed account of what it is like to be on the trail everyday. She leaves glorification aside and talks about things like hunger, hypothermia, fevers, gastrointestinal problems, and foul body odor. Amidst all these things, you watch Carrot fall in love with the PCT, or what she calls "her whole world, 18 inches by 2,660 miles long." Carrot is such an inspiration; from her lightweight gear, to her writing style, to her confident spirit. She makes me want to get out "there," get something done, and be myself along the way.
"Big doug-fir, I think. What do I need to know right now. I love you, says the doug-fir. I love you so much. I can feel the tree there, the tree underneath me the tree all around me, the tree inside of me. The trees holding each other holding the soil holding me. The trees more patient than anything, save the ocean. The trees with the long view. I can feel their pity- Little mammal, they say, with your two legs. Running around saying Where Do I Belong. Making value judgments on the wind, the flowers in the springtime, the shapes of the stars. Little mammal with your trembling heart. I am your home and I love you and I will always be here"
"Time disappears, and it is just me and the mountain, and the wind. I have always been in this windstorm, I think, as I fight my way forward. And I will always be in this windstorm. Up ahead, on a ridge, is a single tree. Someday, I think, I am going to be reincarnated as that tree. As punishment for every choice I've ever made. Or as a reward."
"They say there's a long, narrow ribbon of space-time that stretches from Mexico to Canada. I here you can live there, for a little while, as long as you keep moving. But be careful, it will break your heart."
Read this book if you enjoyed Wild but you wished it would have focused more on the details of the trail.
Check out Carrot Quinn's blog, where you will find even more hiking tales!
Buy it here
For now this book is only available on amazon for purchase, but hopefully more independent bookstores and libraries will pick it up soon!
Curious about the cover art? Check out the artist here