Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT )is the perfect place for an average person to do something extraordinary. Bill Walker ("Skywalker"), who stands 6'11", might seem like anything but average. Yet in a brutally honest tone, he lays to bare all his considerable weaknesses and fears. Among these are crushing weight loss and fatigue, along with a fear of getting lost or a bear stealing his food. Nonetheless, he is bound and determined to hike the PCT, which at 2,663 miles, runs all the way from Mexico to Canada.
The PCT's calling card is its stunning beauty. It has a diversity of geography unequaled by any footpath in the world. Haunting and beckoning the PCT hiker are the implacable desert, the towering majesty of the so-called High Sierra, and the ruggedly bleak, northern Cascade range. Indeed, the PCT hiker faces much greater extremes of terrain and climate than on the famed Appalachian Trail. Completing this demanding challenge calls for overwhelming clarity of purpose. Walker's signature characteristic as a writer is his real talent in capturing people ("Skywalker's humor, his delight in human foibles appeal to a broad audience."--Jeff Minnick, Smoky Mountain Book News). Obviously, he is a people person because he runs into and vividly describes a truly colorful cast of characters from seemingly all walks of American life. Among these are Uber Bitch, Shit Bag, and Serial Killer; the reader learns how these hikers ended up with their names (hint: blunders).
The reader need not worry that Walker is a bully. Throughout this irreverent narrative, he turns his considerable supply of humor back on himself in ruthlessly self-deprecating fashion. It all makes for a delightful read.
from hers. By the Book showed up at dark. As his trail name might suggest, he was one of these people who had delved into every imaginable minutiae of equipment and trail planning. One nice thing about having Trout Lily around was I knew he’d train his total attention on her, and I’d be spared a seminar on all these mind-numbing topics. This was a phenomenon I’d see over and over along the trails. By the Book was a pudgy, non-descript, middle-aged man with ruddy cheeks and the least likely
everybody want me to do—look at his feet?” Ron, Dana, and Bettina nodded gravely. When I started taking off my shoes the waiter saw what was going on and rushed up. “Sir, could you please do this away from all our other guests?” he asked. Renee and I dutifully went to an empty table where I put my feet up on the table cloth. But that had the waiter rushing over again pleading, “Please, please, keep your feet off the table.” “They look a little better,” Renee said quietly. “Keep soaking them and
she figured out which direction we should head. The Mojave is basically a desert floor and utterly featureless. For mile after mile we walked in an arrestingly ugly landscape. For the most part, it was the easiest possible place to hike, despite hikers carrying up to 7 liters (15 pounds) of water. Some people had been talking for weeks about night-hiking all the way through it. However, a heavy cloud cover was to hold the entire time we were in the Mojave. Instead of burning up, I struggled to
all looked like either shaved snow or ice. I stood there frozen. If I had young kids, I simply wouldn’t do this. I’d turn around like Pepperoni had and walk backwards for two days. No lyin’. Normally, you try to step upwards to gain some purchase, but the only spot that looked like it might have some pliable snow was about a foot downhill. But I might not be able to brake after that step. “There’s nowhere to go uphill,” I yelled to Attila. “Should I take a step downhill?” “No,” he quickly
spring out for the clean kill.” “That doesn’t scare you?” would have been the logical question. But nobody asked it. It wasn’t that type crowd. Somebody did defensively ask, “What do you recommend doing if you see one?” “You know in India and countries that have lots of big cat attacks,” he answered, “some of the rural people wear hats with bills on both sides because the cats like to attack the back of your neck. If your hat has a bill on both sides, cougars don’t know where to attack.” That