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Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail [Kindle Edition]

Bill Walker
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 282 pages
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Book Description

Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail
Authored by Bill Walker

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.

Publication Date:Oct 26 2010
ISBN/EAN13:1453862234 / 9781453862230
Page Count:252
Binding Type:US Trade Paper
Trim Size:6" x 9"
Color:Black and White
Related Categories:Sports & Recreation / Hiking

Editorial Reviews

From the Author

The Pacific Crest Trail is the best way for an average person such as myself to deeply immerse himself or herself in the famed American West.

About the Author

Bill Walker was a commodities broker at the Chicago Board of Trade and London International Financial Exchange for fourteen years. Walker then sharply reversed course and spent three years in four Latin American countries as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. Walker hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2005 and the Pacific Crest Trail in 2009. In 2010 and 2011, he hiked the most popular trail in Europe--El Camino de Santiago. This is an 1,100 year old medieval trail that is variously considered a spiritual pilgrimage, or "the European Divorcee Trail." He recently completed a narrative on that journey, 'The Best Way--El Camino de Santiago'.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1016 KB
  • Print Length: 282 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (November 1, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HZXYX4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,139 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Took Me Back January 17, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a 2009 alum of the PCT, I was excited to hear that Skywalker had written about his experience on the trail. I first bumped into Skywalker at the hostel in Big Bear City when he was trying to figure out what to do with his feet. When I arrived, nearly every person I met during my brief stay greeted me by asking, "Have you met Skywalker? The tall Georgia boy?" I ended up seeing Skywalker on several occasions throughout California and Southern Oregon. I never did see him in Washington. For obvious reasons, Skywalker was one of the most identifiable people on the trail, and it was always a pleasure to bump into him along the way and swap war stories from the previous section of trail. I vividly remember part of the conversation that he had with No Pain as NP was headed south and the rest of us were headed north because I caught up to Skywalker as they were having it. For me, it was at least as depressing a prognosis as Skywalker recounts in the book.

I mention the No Pain conversation because Skywalker has a great talent for capturing the human side of the trail. The PCT is so much more than 2600+ miles from Mexico to Canada. It has a lot of protagonists and antagonists, depending on your perspective. It's not just about getting up and over Forester Pass or taking the side trip to the top of Mt. Whitney. It's also about the decision-making process. Do I have the time? Do I have the resources? Will this add to the trip or contribute to the difficulty of making it to Canada before winter? Those are the conflicts that jumped out at me as I read Skywalker's book.

I recently took a cross-country flight and read the entire book from start to finish in the air because I just couldn't put it down.
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51 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Really needed an editor! June 14, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bill Walker is a likeable enough guy, and he's done things most of us haven't and never will. Kudos to him. We really want to hike this trail with him vicariously, but he makes it so hard.

I first read his AT story, and as it progressed, I thought I detected the telltale signs of self-publishing -- chaotic commas and hyphens, stories, instead of their audience, described as "incredulous," etc. No great stigma attached; it's just a fact that most people do not write in perfect prose. Publishers know this, and they hire editors and proofreaders to run interference so neither they nor the author will be embarrassed by the finished product.

So I was more than a little surprised to read at the end of the AT book that Bill actually had a publisher; now that's embarrassing. Did the publisher have either an editor or a proofreader?

But I enjoyed the story enough to continue on to the PCT. Wow. This book is a genuine festival of editorial error, and not just of the low-grade, misplaced comma variety. There are rampant, random italics, there are typos, there are missing words, and so many hyphens are missing it's almost like reading a foreign language at times. It took me nearly a minute to tease out what "heightrelated" meant -- kind of like seeing the bird in the Escher painting. Then there are the endless misused words and phrases: "wit" for "whit," "shear" for "sheer," "delicatessens" for "delicacies," "flee" for "flea," "tortuous" for "torturous," a hiker who "bought (rather than bit) the dust," and my personal favorite, a windstorm that was so bad the author had to "take umbrage" in his tent. Maybe he was deeply offended, and maybe he did appreciate the shade, but I'm guessing his intended meaning was "take shelter.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By K.O
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read Bill Walkers 1st book, (Skywalker - Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail). Bill Walker was a relatable character and it didn't take long to finish the book. That said, the writing was poor and the book didn't always have a great flow to it.

Despite this, it was a very personal account of life on the trail and I felt connected enough to the writer to want to read about his next adventure; "Skywalker: Highs and Lows of the Pacific Crest Trail."

Bill Walker did an absolutely tremendous job on this book. For one, the writing is much better! I had read complaints about errors in earlier releases. This latest release I downloaded to my kindle seemed to be cleaned up. Some occasional errors still exist, but as a hole, the writing was VERY improved.

The book goes back and forth between Skywalker's experience on the trail and the history / personal observations about the different regions he hiked through. In his first book (Skywalker - Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail), Walker's efforts to intertwine historical facts and observations with his day to day hiking felt forced. It just didn't seem to flow. In this book however, Walker was masterful.

Skywalker is very open and honest about himself and his own thoughts and feelings. He writes with no Ego, and gives a fair assessment of his own abilities and shortcomings. He does a wonderful job contrasting the many hardships of life on the trail (From his foot issues in the desert to freezing in Washington State) w/ the great beauty and personal accomplishments that accompany such a journey.

I found the book to be entertaining, educational, and interesting. The historical commentary appears to be well researched and the book itself flowed along nicely. Overall, it was very well done!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "How tall are you?"
Bill's vivid detail of the trail makes me want to throw my pack on and get out there every time I crack open my book. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another excellent account from skywalker. Good read.
Published 24 days ago by Meredith
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I liked this one better then the AT book. I find it amazing that someone with so much doubt in his own abilities accomplishes so much. Read more
Published 1 month ago by srusse03
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Enjoyed this book and his perspective. Enjoyed some of the history thrown in. Loved meeting the people he encountered and the different towns.
Published 1 month ago by Denise Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars I may read it again.
Some complain about inadequate editing, but I had no problem following along. Appreciated the interpersonal aspects of PCT thru-hiking. He definitely left his ego at home. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Michael Chance
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
So excited to read it
Published 1 month ago by LianaJeanMitchellWalker
1.0 out of 5 stars Creepiness About Female Hikers
Couldn't get through it.

His attitude towards women is creepy and he seems clueless as to why describing women's attributes on the trail is both off-putting and rude. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MMMouse
1.0 out of 5 stars Off Trail and off the mark
After reading Bill's AT book, I had high hopes. Unfortunately Bill spends a lot of time in this book on random "off trail" topics. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Russell STeen
3.0 out of 5 stars More Lows Than Highs for Me
I expected and wanted to be immersed in the Pacific Coast Trail the same way I was immersed in the Appalachian Trail when I enjoyed the yo-yo of the Barefoot Sisters. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Book Trekker
5.0 out of 5 stars ... Trail when we were in Washington and we have enjoyed reading this...
My husband and I hiked a small portion of the Pacific Crest Trail when we were in Washington and we have enjoyed reading this book.
Published 3 months ago by Amy E
Search Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Bill Walker attended the University of Georgia where he received a Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Accounting. He spent the two most boring years of his life as a tax accountant at Arthur Andersen in Atlanta.

Walker then became a commodities broker for the next fourteen years, first at the Chicago Board of Trade, then at the London International Financial Futures Exchange. That was anything but boring. But in 2001, the entire business was computerized. It was again time to sharply change course.

Walker became a VISTA volunteer and was the welfare-reform coordinator for the South Texas region. He then moved to Latin America where he taught English as a Second Language in five different countries.

In 2005, he thru-hiked the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail. Upon completion, he wrote Skywalker--Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail. This book has sold steadily on In 2009, Walker hiked the 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trail. He recently published a narrative of that journey called, Skywalker--Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail, which is the number one selling book on the Pacific Crest Trail.

Walker, who is 6'11", is currently working on a book on the subject of height. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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