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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I truly enjoyed reading this book from one of the great masters of backpacking. Mr. Fletcher has a way of bringing you along on his journeys making you feel as though you are right there. This book was written in the days before backpacking equipment exploded onto the market, but Colin Fletcher inspired many would be backpackers, and backpack makers, with this book and his other famous backpacking books. This book can be easily obtained used and is well worth the effort as it will inspire the reader to takes some treks of their own.
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on January 21, 2015
Format: Hardcover
THE THOUSAND-MILE SUMMER (1964)

Two years after arriving in the United States, while lying awake in his San Francisco apartment one night, it occurred to Fletcher that he should walk from one end of California to the other. The following morning, as he remembers, “the idea still glittered. A week later it still had me half dazzled. And by then I was quite sure.”
And that was the inception of Colin Fletcher’s first big adventure, a trek that began on March 8, 1958 and ended six months later, on September 8.
During the first leg of this walk, which took the author along the west bank of the Colorado River, from Mexico to Needles, several good things occurred, i.e., he toned up, he began to appreciate his solitude, and he came to terms with various desert vagaries, including rattlesnakes. He also passed through the small town of Palo Verde, which figures prominently in his 1981 book, The Man From the Cave.
In mid-April, bidding farewell to the Colorado at Needles, Fletcher turned northwest and began a 150-mile hike toward Baker, CA, a leg that included a brief stopover at the small settlement of Goffs, where he met quite an interesting assortment of desert characters. His overall plan was to reach the southern end of Death Valley by May 1, in order to avoid the enervating high temperatures to be found later in the year.
From Baker, Fletcher followed State Highway 127 north, then turned west toward Saratoga Springs, at the south end of Death Valley. Resting at that oasis for two days, he could only hope that the caches of water he had buried on the west side of Death Valley on his way down to Mexico were still in place. If they weren’t, he was in trouble.
Fortunately, his water was there, and, in fact, it took Fletcher only 51 hours, sleeping during the day and moving at night, to hike the 50 miles from Saratoga Springs to Bennett’s Well. Upon his arrival at Bennett’s, he noted “the ordeal that had been hanging over ever since Mexico was almost over before it began.” After another brief rest, the intrepid hiker climbed an old miner’s trail west over the Panamints, via Augerberry Point, and continued on to the Emigrant Ranger Station.
In mid-June, after proceeding north through the Eureka Valley, Fletcher arrived at Mt. White, where he spent some time with personnel from U.C. Berkeley’s High Altitude Research Stations located there. Continuing, he descended White’s steep western slope, hiked to Bodie and then on to Markleeville.
As Fletcher hiked ever northward, his appreciation for the scenery seemed to dwindle. Indeed, he compresses the final third of his trip into a mere two chapters (while the first two thirds took eight).
By the way, to nitpick, one of Fletcher’s few errors is that he refers to the Sierra north of the Carson Range as the “High” Sierra.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2009
Verified Purchase
This is a marvelous book, espcially when read in conjunction with Colin Fletcher's other walking/rafting sagas. I enjoy his reflections on his life. I find his writing very wise & calming.
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Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
My brother-in-law and a buddy hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Northern California in the 1970s. They left the trail when the buddy's dad fell gravely ill, they never picked it back up again. Reading this book was the motivation for both to start this journey, and my brother-in-law (now an attorney in Sacramento) told me about this book this past summer of 2014. I am going to read it myself, with the aim of doing a long hike, possibly the Arizona Trail.
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on January 8, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This was a hard to find book and just what my friend was looking for. She couldn't rate it any higher.
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on November 24, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This was mailed directly to a friend who lost her copy in a house fire, so we never saw the book.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Written by someone for whom English is a second language. Talks about himself and other inconsequential stuff, blows through the scenery and the nature of the country he's in, and has got a lot of misinformation that he never checked out to see if it was accurate. Don't waste your time or money.
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