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  • Walking the Gobi: 1,600 Mile-trek Across a Desert of Hope and Despair
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Walking the Gobi


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Product Description

Walking the Gobi: A 1600-Mile Trek Across a Desert of Hope and Despairby Helen ThayerAt the age of 63, Helen Thayer fulfilled her lifelong dream of crossing Mongolia's Gobi Desert. Accompanied by her 74-year-old husband Bill and two camels, Tom and Jerry, Thayer walked 1600 miles in 126-degree temperatures, battling fierce sandstorms, dehydration, dangerous drug smugglers, and ubiquitous scorpions. For more than 60 days Helen struggled to keep moving through this inhospitable terrain despite a severe leg injury. Without sponsors, a support team, or radio contact, hers is a journey of pure discovery and adventure.Walking the Gobi takes readers on a trip through a little-known landscape and introduces them to the culture of the nomadic people whose ancestors have eked out an existence in the Gobi for thousands of years. Thayer's respect and admiration for the culture of Gobi and her gentle weaving of natural history shine throughout this remarkable story. The author proves that Baby Boomers don't have to take life lying down-their adventures have just begun. Product Code: 0646 Pages: 272 ISBN: 978-1-59485-064-6 Binding Information: Paperback Publisher: The Mountaineers Books Publication date: 7/30/2007 Color: no

Product Details

Color: No Color
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches ; 15.7 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Origin: USA
  • ASIN: 159485064X
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #290,873 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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What an amazing story and read this one was!
D. Blankenship
Sprinkled throughout the book are wonderful and heartfelt encounters with Mongolian nomads who share what little they have with these two American travelers.
Cipcom
Walking the Gobi by Helen Thayer This book is an enthralling account of the fulfilling of a lifelong dream to cross the Gobi desert.
Kirk Penner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Cipcom on September 6, 2007
Color Name: No Color
I could barely put this book down. The adventures that Helen Thayer and her husband encountered as they walked across the Gobi Desert are bigger-than-life. As a reader, you feel as though you are on the trail with them, step for step, sweating, thirsty, tired and dirty. Sprinkled throughout the book are wonderful and heartfelt encounters with Mongolian nomads who share what little they have with these two American travelers. Scorpions, snakes, smugglers, rifle-toting border guards -- it's all here. What makes it all the more amazing is that Helen Thayer was in her early 60s and her husband in his 70s when they made this trek.

It is so refreshing to read an adventure tale from a woman's point of view. Helen's voice is authentic and down-to-earth. Yes, she can walk 1600 miles through the desert with the best of them, despite a serious hip and leg injury, but she also frets about the animal carcasses she sees along the way, wondering about the creatures' painful last moments. She worries about the plight of the nomad families they meet, but also recognizes and appreciates their quiet strength and close connection to the land. She'll make you laugh at the antics she and her husband go through to avoid eating some of the food and drink given to them by the warm and welcoming Mongolians. And you may find yourself in tears as their once-in-a-lifetime journey draws to an end. A wonderful adventure tale!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn C. Stevens on February 28, 2008
Color Name: No Color
I want to invite Helen Thayer over to dinner. Mainly I want to hear her stories again, and more of them. As soon as I closed Walking the Gobi and set it down on my kitchen table, I felt at the same time winded and awed, but hungry for more.

If you're reading this review, I'm sure you've read the synopsis: two people over age 60 decide to walk across 1500 miles of one of the least-studied deserts in the world. And they do it in the summer.

When Helen Thayer sat down to write this real-life adventure story, she must have known that she had something good. After all, the idea itself is impressive; it tugs at the ear and challenges the imagination. But Thayer does much more in Walking the Gobi than recount a long trek in a string of stories or patronize the reader by giving only summary and analysis of the journey's meaning.

Thayer's descriptions are careful and organized, educated and intuitive. She gives us the gift of recreating each day so we can experience them with her. Each day is numbered and recorded with useful detail- pointing out the unique moments that set it apart from the rest and reinforcing the monotonous heat, wind, and regional dangers that made the journey long and at times overwhelming.

Helen Thayer accomplished a truly great feat when she crossed the Gobi, but what's even better is that she wrote a book about it.

Happy adventuring!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Edward Etzkorn on December 11, 2007
Color Name: No Color
"You're going WHERE?"

"WHY?"

These are the questions Helen Thayer is asked by the people she meets in Mongolia's Gobi Desert.

The answer to the first question is--walking across the Gobi Desert from west to east at its widest spot. One thousand six hundred miles in 81 days, to be exact.

The answer to the second question is more difficult to answer:
Because it's never been done before.
Because Mongolia has at last been opened to travelers, after nearly 80 years of isolation under Soviet rule.
Because there is no better way to challenge yourself (at age 63) or your husband (at age 74).
Because the Gobi is one of the least hospitable places on earth.
Because its people, few as they are, are among the MOST hospitable on earth.

Already established as one of the greatest explorer-adventurers of our time, Helen Thayer, with her husband Bill, travel across the world's second-largest desert with only two intransigent camels as companions. No radio contact, no support team; just a single local pilot whom they must meet at pre-established coordinates every twenty days for resupply. Over 81 days of hiking, they must encounter border guards, smugglers, wolves, thirst, scorpions, giant spiders, and sandstorms. In return, they meet perhaps the kindest and most gentle people on earth, who are more than willing to share what little they have with strangers.

Alternately sad, incisive, moving, and exciting, Helen's narrative keeps you turning the pages until--too soon--the journey is over.

Now what do we do? Go there ourselves?--no, few of us could survive that. So we do the next-best thing and read her older books--and eagerly await her next one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Rios on December 16, 2007
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Modern day adventurers do exist. This is the first thing the reader will realize wehn reading "Walking the Gobi" by Helen Thayer. Ms. Thayer brings the reader with us as she traverses one of the most dangerous places on earth, the Gobi desert. It details a journey she and her husband made across the Gobi desert. From page one, I could not really put the book down. With her we meet Mongolian tribesman, smugglers along the Chinease border, rare Gobi bears, desert scorpions and the occasional Mongolian bureaucrat. Throughout, Ms. Thayer never lets the reader forget how truly amazing and beautiful this part of the world is. Any expedition like this would be a challenge for any healthy individual, but Ms. Thayer manages her journey with an injured leg throghout most of the book. Through sheer mental fortitude Ms. Thayer wills herself to complete her journey across one of the most hostile environments on earth, on step at a time. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys the spirit of adventure.
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