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Traversing broiling deserts, snowy mountain passes and dank rain forests on its crooked way from Mexico to Canada, the Pacific Coast Trail is an epic challenge for die-hard backpackers. White and his girlfriend, Melissa, set out, late in the season and bereft of experience, to tread all 2,650 miles of it, leaving behind lousy reporting jobs and hoping to find self-definition and a deepened relationship. (They call their trek the Lois and Clark Expedition.) Hilarious greenhorn misadventures ensue—including the author's ill-advised chomp, while dizzy with dehydration, into a reputedly moisture-laden prickly-pear cactus—that tested their survival skills and commitment as a couple. The trail becomes less an itinerary than a world unto itself, full of squalor, discomfort and majestic scenery, and peopled by charismatic misfits and an austere cult of ultra-light speed-hikers, as the couple rely on arcane camping gear and bizarre gummy-bear-and-marshmallow diets. The wilderness authenticity the author seeks proves elusive; all journey and no destination, the story itself eventually trails off with the hero even more callow and confused than when he started. Still, White's vivid prose and hangdog humor make readers want to keep up. (June)
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“It is a funny, frequently harrowing, and altogether mesmerizing memoir about just how wrong a backpacking expedition can go….‘The Cactus Eaters’ is far more than a Sierra Club-approved romp. It’s gorp for the soul, a fascinating and surprisingly moving testament to the call of the wild.” (Steve Almond, Boston Globe)
“Drawing on diaries he kept at the time, White polishes up these memories, serving them forth with brio and dash…[The Cactus Eaters] brings a fresh perspective to the timeworn adventure-travel genre.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“In the well-written, laugh-out-loud, self-deprecating spirit of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods and Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally, Dan White takes us along for a walk on the wild side of adventure and love. I could not put it down.” (Eric Blehm, National Outdoor Book Award-winning author of THE LAST SEASON.)
“Dan White forges miles past travelogue to carve a poignant, uproarious, and deeply compelling love story between man, woman, and the land between. The Cactus Eaters is as impressive and enjoyable as the ground it covers.” (Franz Wisner, NY Times Bestselling Author of Honeymoon with My Brother)
I'm thinking about a through hike on one of America's long trails and this book held my interest and provided some good information.Published 17 days ago by Christ 1.
I have never written a review before, but by the end of this book, this author was so unlikable, self absorbed, and mean spirited, I had to warn people not to read this book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Brian Sweet
One of the better PCT hike books. Excellent writing and story-telling. The trail relationships are interesting. Explores trail history without being excessive. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Norman Osborn
This was the 10th PCT book that I read. It was a couple months ago now so I don't remember much about it except that it was an okay book. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sage Wolf
Here is the deal. The writer is immature, selfish, and unpleasant much of the time *and* his long-suffering girlfriend is somewhat creepy in her own way (what's with the making up... Read morePublished 6 months ago by MMMouse
Really enjoyed this story, especially the humor and honesty. I hope that I can get out there one of these days. Thanks again, Jim.Published 8 months ago by Jim
Never has anyone hiked so far and learned so little. I'll give White credit for being a fairly good writer but I give the actual story only two stars because he and his story are... Read morePublished 10 months ago by George
I read this book a few years ago, but never wrote a review. Having recently read WILD by Cheryl Strayed, this one cropped back into my mind. I absolutely loved Cactus Eaters. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Lucy M.