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Skywalker: Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail Paperback – October 26, 2010
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About the Author
Born and raised in Macon, Georgia Bachelors and Masters Degree University of Georgia in Accounting. Commodities broker in Chicago and London for 14 years. Teacher of English as a second language in four Latin American countries for three years. Author of Skywalker--Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail. Just finished a book on the Camino de Santiago (The Best Way--To see the Old Continent).
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Top Customer Reviews
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. Nearly every page took me back to the trail where I remembered quite vividly the internal struggle that was going on as I looked ahead to the next set of switchbacks or waterless stretch of trail. Those conflicts are what I sensed again as I read The Highs and Lows of the PCT. I trust, however, that even those who have never set foot upon the Pacific Crest Trail will get an accurate taste of what life on the trail is like, the risks and challenges inherent to it, and some of the people you meet along the way.
However, there are several flaws in the book as well. They have been mentioned by some other reviewers, but given the overall rating of the book I have to agree with another reviewer that it seems Walker has many friends who have left 5-star reviews. This is a good book, but it is not a 5-star book. The grammar and structure of the writing are unforgivably atrocious. I am writing this review on my iPhone; I wonder if he did the same with his book! It is obviously self-published, which leads to other problems. Not only was the grammar left unchecked, it seems no one edited the book's flow or took out unnecessary/boring tangents, of which there are many.
He seems to try to write a bit in the style of Bill Bryson- humorous, with interesting tangents that tie in with the story. Unfortunately, this is a difficult task and one that requires a great editor. There are just too many uninteresting side stories, facts and anecdotes that bog down the story. The book isn't terribly short so there is plenty that could have been trimmed and the story would still have a lot to offer. As it stands, the story is a good read, but the incredibly sloppy way it is written unfortunately mars what could have been a 4- or 5-star book. In its current state it earns a 3.