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Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home

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By age 25, Heather Anderson had hiked what is known as the "Triple Crown" of backpacking: the Appalachian Trail (AT), Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT)—a combined distance of 7,900 miles with a vertical gain of more than one million feet. A few years later, she left her job, her marriage, and a dissatisfied life and walked back into those mounta By age 25, Heather Anderson had hiked what is known as the "Triple Crown" of backpacking: the Appalachian Trail (AT), Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT)—a combined distance of 7,900 miles with a vertical gain of more than one million feet. A few years later, she left her job, her marriage, and a dissatisfied life and walked back into those mountains. In her new memoir, Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home, Heather, whose trail name is "Anish," conveys not only her athleticism and wilderness adventures, but also shares her distinct message of courage--her willingness to turn away from the predictability of a more traditional life in an effort to seek out what most fulfills her. Amid the rigors of the trail--pain, fear, loneliness, and dangers--she discovers the greater rewards of community and of self, conquering her doubts and building confidence. Ultimately, she realizes that records are merely a catalyst, giving her purpose, focus, and a goal to strive toward. (Mountaineers Books)


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By age 25, Heather Anderson had hiked what is known as the "Triple Crown" of backpacking: the Appalachian Trail (AT), Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT)—a combined distance of 7,900 miles with a vertical gain of more than one million feet. A few years later, she left her job, her marriage, and a dissatisfied life and walked back into those mounta By age 25, Heather Anderson had hiked what is known as the "Triple Crown" of backpacking: the Appalachian Trail (AT), Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and Continental Divide Trail (CDT)—a combined distance of 7,900 miles with a vertical gain of more than one million feet. A few years later, she left her job, her marriage, and a dissatisfied life and walked back into those mountains. In her new memoir, Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home, Heather, whose trail name is "Anish," conveys not only her athleticism and wilderness adventures, but also shares her distinct message of courage--her willingness to turn away from the predictability of a more traditional life in an effort to seek out what most fulfills her. Amid the rigors of the trail--pain, fear, loneliness, and dangers--she discovers the greater rewards of community and of self, conquering her doubts and building confidence. Ultimately, she realizes that records are merely a catalyst, giving her purpose, focus, and a goal to strive toward. (Mountaineers Books)

30 review for Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalie zieman

    For those who know me – you’ll know that the woods and the connection to nature through hiking is something especially important to me. There is no other activity that I can think of in my life that brings me a real palpable rush of joy and calm as does standing on the precipice of a trail along a mountain ridge, or listening the leaves in the thick of a Maple Forest , or drinking in the sweet un-mistaking scent of coniferous smells of a trail through the pines . Every year I grow more and more For those who know me – you’ll know that the woods and the connection to nature through hiking is something especially important to me. There is no other activity that I can think of in my life that brings me a real palpable rush of joy and calm as does standing on the precipice of a trail along a mountain ridge, or listening the leaves in the thick of a Maple Forest , or drinking in the sweet un-mistaking scent of coniferous smells of a trail through the pines . Every year I grow more and more bold and adventurous and spend more time day dreaming about working up the nerve to push further , do a solo overnight that may lead to a long thru hike. The PCT is on my bucket list – but first I I aim aiming something closer to home in Canada 😊 To keep my daydreaming alive - I started a page on Facebook to Journal and share my adventures as I embark on completing the full end to end hike of the Bruce Trail ( in Ontario, Canada) . You quickly learn about the hiking community when exploring social media and ravenously I joined a whole slew of groups to take in everyone’s experiences, advice and of course the pictures of adventures amongst the tree’s, and trails. When I think about it - really only Hikers can appreciate the endless pictures tree’s, creeks, trails and rocks and keep interested 😊( I mean really after the first few pictures of tree’s one would think they’d get bored of posting the next 20!! Not avid hikers!) In joining these groups I stumbled on an All Women Hiking group that really got me excited – as these were experiences of like minded women, sharing their love of hiking , their frustration, their fears, their accomplishments and their failures – in such an open way that it could help but inspire women like myself to continuing pursuing the thing I love to do. As a result of joining this group I heard about this book – of which Heather had posted herself! Once downloaded into my kindle – I ravenously read the pages and couldn’t put it down. Well written, raw and full of openness and emotion – I was shocked at how emotional I was reading the chapters and truly feeling Heathers experience’s on the PCT. The daily descriptions of the hike allowed me to imagine for myself where she was and the sensory elements that a hiker can experience through varying climates and terrain. I held my breathe every time she stumbled on an animal and reacted the same I would – fearful and grasping “what I do now?” “Should I be loud?”, “Should I run?” “Am I really to tired to be scared anymore?”. I cried when she made it to northern terminus and felt the accomplishment I can only imagine must have been rushing through her. I could really empathize with the numerous fears she shared as she was marching north . I felt her emptiness post hike and know that yearning for myself ( albeit I am nowhere near her trail experience!!) The fears she shares in this book are the same fears that I know I have and I hope to draw on her experience as an inspiration to push my limits further and further. This was a great read, an inspirational one- especially for like-minded women and am so thankful to have stumbled on her post on Facebook to prompt me to download it .

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Morrell

    I read this straight through in about three hours on a Saturday morning, and in doing so I felt maybe I understood the author's staggering determination to do something amazing, break the fastest time ever to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. Okay, no, I'm kidding, lying in bed with my heated blanket and cup of coffee I have no idea what she went through to push her body and mind to perform this feat, beyond what she was able to put on paper. But I do know my heart is in the woods and I need to do a I read this straight through in about three hours on a Saturday morning, and in doing so I felt maybe I understood the author's staggering determination to do something amazing, break the fastest time ever to walk the Pacific Crest Trail. Okay, no, I'm kidding, lying in bed with my heated blanket and cup of coffee I have no idea what she went through to push her body and mind to perform this feat, beyond what she was able to put on paper. But I do know my heart is in the woods and I need to do a lot more hiking this year.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tara deCamp

    I have so much respect for Heather "Anish" Anderson, and I identify with her in some regards. I was never good at sports in school - always picked last for teams, one of the last to finish the mile, etc. But something about hiking did it for me. I have a huge connection with nature, and I feel my best when I'm outside. Hiking/backpacking multiplies that feeling: every inch of trail I follow I find a new miracle or beauty to revel in; nothing both soothes and energizes me like leaves rustling in I have so much respect for Heather "Anish" Anderson, and I identify with her in some regards. I was never good at sports in school - always picked last for teams, one of the last to finish the mile, etc. But something about hiking did it for me. I have a huge connection with nature, and I feel my best when I'm outside. Hiking/backpacking multiplies that feeling: every inch of trail I follow I find a new miracle or beauty to revel in; nothing both soothes and energizes me like leaves rustling in the wind, cool rock formations, interesting fungi, a beautiful sunrise/sunset, hopping across rocks, scrambling up to a summit, taking in the beauty around me. At some point in college, by some crazy triathlete friends, I was introduced to fastpacking and bagging huge mileage days. Somehow, despite my history of lacking athletic abilities, this was something I was extremely good at and loved. I find I'm quite capable of nudging myself along a trail for hours, charging up steep summits, and pushing through pain. At some point in life, I had considered going for FKTs on the trails myself. All that to say, I was the perfect audience for this book. But it just didn't do it for me. This was more a factual record of what she did than a thoughtful, inspiring journey. While it's certainly not bad, I didn't find it very interesting. As much as I respect her and admire her, I just wasn't into this. "Why is it that I spiral into depression when I am away from the mountains for too long?... Why am I only wired for loving the mountains and moving among them?" Me too, Anish. I feel ya there.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chana

    I enjoyed Heather's story very much. She has grit and determination beyond anything I have ever imagined. I have a little secret wish in me to through hike. I am 61 with no hiking skills or experience whatsoever. I go out and walk in my neighborhood with my secret wish in my heart. It is a live spark within me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eli

    This was yet another of my “guilty pleasure genre” (long distance hiking) reads. As is often the case, people who are capable of impressive feats of physicality are often not capable of equally impressive writing. AND WHY IS HER TRAIL NAME ANISH. Ugh, the constant racism of cultural appropriation on “the trail”. Whyyyyyyy. I also struggled with her internalized fatphobia and how she seemed to glamorize a body that was literally starving. All of this is true, and yet I read it in a day, so. There This was yet another of my “guilty pleasure genre” (long distance hiking) reads. As is often the case, people who are capable of impressive feats of physicality are often not capable of equally impressive writing. AND WHY IS HER TRAIL NAME ANISH. Ugh, the constant racism of cultural appropriation on “the trail”. Whyyyyyyy. I also struggled with her internalized fatphobia and how she seemed to glamorize a body that was literally starving. All of this is true, and yet I read it in a day, so. There is obviously something compelling in her story, which is why I keep on keeping on with the through hiker tales.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anita Elder

    I love books like this and wish that I were younger and could do something similar. I'm older now and things hurt too much to attempt them, but this book has given me the courage to try to hike longer/higher than I have.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Fleming-Swehla

    I’m reading and researching and following youtubers & Instagramers focused on the PCT this year in excitement and support of my son as he hikes the 2600+ mile trail. This book drew me in because “Anish” set the record for the fastest completion time of an insane 60 days. I enjoyed reading about the hike and the trail (the freaky guy with the knife was scary as hell). I thought it was great that she shared her personal mental ramblings. She shared her fears and self doubt and struggles with d I’m reading and researching and following youtubers & Instagramers focused on the PCT this year in excitement and support of my son as he hikes the 2600+ mile trail. This book drew me in because “Anish” set the record for the fastest completion time of an insane 60 days. I enjoyed reading about the hike and the trail (the freaky guy with the knife was scary as hell). I thought it was great that she shared her personal mental ramblings. She shared her fears and self doubt and struggles with depression. This book was pretty much her personal journal including her wandering thoughts and memories and the negative self-talk and the conquering good thoughts.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    As a fellow thru-hiker of the PCT, I really enjoyed reading Thirst. Anish does a great job sharing her personal journey within and along the trail as she pushes herself in ways that would break most of us. Hiking a long distance trail is a profound personal pilgrimage no matter how you undertake it, but Anish's journey shows the extremes of how such a journey can take you to the very brink of who you are and life itself.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erica Zutz

    Love this book and the vivid detail of hiking the pct. it was amazing. All I want to do is hike. Hike forever.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leah Hortin

    Overall, I enjoyed reading through Anderson's adventure but I found myself wanting a lot more to this book, especially afterward. I would have also liked to have had some pictures included in the book as well. I didn't feel like I connected with her "why" or her drive at all, though I can appreciate that people choose different paths all the time and I applaud her for following her gut.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gail Storey

    Shimmering with Heather Anderson's sensibility, finely honed by thru-hiking the "Triple Crown" of the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail, Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home is an exceptional book in that Anish (her trail name) reveals the Pacific Crest Trail as both formidable testing ground and liminal space. She says "I had always felt a strong sense of foreboding near Glen Pass--it was a thin place, an intersection of the spiritual and physical realms where I did not Shimmering with Heather Anderson's sensibility, finely honed by thru-hiking the "Triple Crown" of the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail, Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home is an exceptional book in that Anish (her trail name) reveals the Pacific Crest Trail as both formidable testing ground and liminal space. She says "I had always felt a strong sense of foreboding near Glen Pass--it was a thin place, an intersection of the spiritual and physical realms where I did not want to linger." (page 100) Hiking 40-plus miles a day and into the night, solo, she exemplifies extraordinary courage in facing the challenges of the trail (e.g. "My mind swam with hunger," page 89) as well as her own inner darkness. ("...I wrestled with grief, memories, loss, and destiny on a sliver of trail in the moonlight." (page 101) Anish's writing is so gorgeous, her synthesis of the self and nature so profound, that I'd like to quote much more, but I beg you to read Thirst yourself. My personal experience was that I was flying over the PCT with her, an embodied presence of the divine feminine-- fierce, powerful, and utterly beautiful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amy Moritz

    Full disclosure: I have interviewed Heather "Anish" Anderson on more than one occasion. I don't know her. I wouldn't even go so far to say we're acquaintances. But I love her. So I went into this with a preconceived notion that I was already going to love this book. And it did not disappoint. The book takes us through her attempt to set the FKT (Fastest Known Time) on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I loved the flow of the book, the tales of her time on the trail. It was detailed enough for me to Full disclosure: I have interviewed Heather "Anish" Anderson on more than one occasion. I don't know her. I wouldn't even go so far to say we're acquaintances. But I love her. So I went into this with a preconceived notion that I was already going to love this book. And it did not disappoint. The book takes us through her attempt to set the FKT (Fastest Known Time) on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). I loved the flow of the book, the tales of her time on the trail. It was detailed enough for me to picture it (I've never been) but not so detailed that I get lost in the minutia. The description of her mental and physical state is amazing and her journey is one that encompasses both. It was the final chapter and epilogue which had me near tears as I read it on the bus coming home. After accomplishing this amazing feat, the mental demons return. "I felt like I had finally proven that I was capable of something ... and still I couldn't believe in myself." Holy crap. That's me. Totally. And this inspired me: "Being myself -- and chasing my dreams -- was enough. I never once thought that hiking would make the world better or change a life. Yet, it had. Thousands of people had been inspired. I had learned to accept myself for all that I was and all that I wasn't. My calling came from the mountains and all that I needed to do to answer was put one foot in front of the other." My inspiration is not to necessarily hike the PCT. Or the Appalachian Trail. Or even the Finger Lakes Trail across New York State. But rather, to see what is in front of me, what is calling to me, that I love. Maybe I'm missing the point about setting big, audacious goals. (And I probably will set big, audacious goals for myself.) But what I got most out of Heather's story was the importance of being who you are -- of living your story, no matter where it takes you. Small is only small if you let it be just like normal is relative. On to the trail.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Misti

    Loved, loved, loved this book! The PCT has never been high on my list of the Triple Crown to hike (I've done the AT and the FT (not a TC trail)) but Anish's writing enticed me to re-evaluate it as a potential priority the next time I'm in a season of life to do another thru-hike. Heather's writing is deep but also easy to read, and the book flowed well. I did wish it was a bit more detailed in some sections but that's only because I wanted to soak up more of the surroundings. An FKT hike is neve Loved, loved, loved this book! The PCT has never been high on my list of the Triple Crown to hike (I've done the AT and the FT (not a TC trail)) but Anish's writing enticed me to re-evaluate it as a potential priority the next time I'm in a season of life to do another thru-hike. Heather's writing is deep but also easy to read, and the book flowed well. I did wish it was a bit more detailed in some sections but that's only because I wanted to soak up more of the surroundings. An FKT hike is never going to be in my cards but I can certainly appreciate why people go for them. Another thing I was appreciative of throughout the book was the mention of how women, particularly those hiking alone, deal with potentially threatening men on the trail. I've seen it addressed in Jennifer Pharr Davis' writing and a few other trail memoirs that were written by women---I think the hiking community as a whole needs to work to address this issue better. Thanks Anish for all you've done in the hiking community and this wonderful memoir!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Franziska

    This was not my first book about a PCT thru-hike but the first about a FKT record attempt. I have a lot of respect for what Heather “Anish” (her trailname) Anderson achieved. In her book she describes most of her days during her record hike and takes small sidesteps into her childhood. Usually not a fan of big background stories, I found those the most defining parts in Heather’s book. I don’t know her and in no way I’m in a position to judge her but the book left me feeling... sad... I feel she This was not my first book about a PCT thru-hike but the first about a FKT record attempt. I have a lot of respect for what Heather “Anish” (her trailname) Anderson achieved. In her book she describes most of her days during her record hike and takes small sidesteps into her childhood. Usually not a fan of big background stories, I found those the most defining parts in Heather’s book. I don’t know her and in no way I’m in a position to judge her but the book left me feeling... sad... I feel she’s lonely and in a way lost. She seems to have problems to acknowledge what she achieved and grow from there. That’s sad, in my eyes. She is a great athlete (something she repeatedly mentions she isn’t), she’s achieved a record by hiking 60 days on her own and there’s no one to cheer for her on her final mile, no one to embrace her and tell her she made it. She’s all by herself and that’s the feeling the book leaves behind (for me). Recommended for people who love the wilderness, future PCT thru-hikers and wannabes.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tim Mathis

    This book is SO good! It chronicles the author's 2 month process of setting the speed record on the Pacific Crest Trail, and manages to make an unimaginable accomplishment - hiking 2650 miles in 60 days - deeply relatable. There's just so much to like here. It's beautifully written, an underdog story, a classic trail journal, and an amazing adventure story. As a thru-hiking book, it's bound to be one of the core classics in the genre, and one of the most important contributions to PCT lore and le This book is SO good! It chronicles the author's 2 month process of setting the speed record on the Pacific Crest Trail, and manages to make an unimaginable accomplishment - hiking 2650 miles in 60 days - deeply relatable. There's just so much to like here. It's beautifully written, an underdog story, a classic trail journal, and an amazing adventure story. As a thru-hiking book, it's bound to be one of the core classics in the genre, and one of the most important contributions to PCT lore and legend. Anish's accomplishments on trail are enough reason to want to understand what's happening in her head when she's out there, and the book does an amazing job of communicating the human experience of her PCT record. It ties in experiences from her history that led up to the record attempt, the anxieties that drove her to attempt it in the first place, and the impact that the hike had on her, so it's a very personal story. But it also manages to function as well as any book about the PCT to introduce the trail - she creates beautiful pictures of the scenery, experiences, people and places of the trail. Somehow, in a book that's primarily about suffering, you come away inspired to follow in her footsteps. And as an outdoor/adventure book, it's also a genuine classic. In large part, the book is about the dirtbag struggle - being drawn to center your life on the wilderness even when it doesn't make sense from a financial, career, or relationship perspective. Again, in a book about an experience defined by a whole lot of suffering, Anish manages to communicate why wilderness has the power to absorb lives in a way that's uniquely beautiful. While she describes an experience that is unimaginably unpleasant (hiking 44 miles/day for 60 days straight!), the way she talks about it makes you want to opt out of the rat race for a life outside. So good!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Never go hiking, lest you discover what your life has been missing, and yearn for it every day after. I read a review of this book as part of my job, and the timing was just what I needed: feeling like life had little to offer me at present, I figured I might as well finally do the things I’ve always wanted to. Like backpacking. I started looking up trails nearby, and discovered the North Country Trail. In June, I’ll be exploring parts of it. But about the book: it’s an admirable example of what t Never go hiking, lest you discover what your life has been missing, and yearn for it every day after. I read a review of this book as part of my job, and the timing was just what I needed: feeling like life had little to offer me at present, I figured I might as well finally do the things I’ve always wanted to. Like backpacking. I started looking up trails nearby, and discovered the North Country Trail. In June, I’ll be exploring parts of it. But about the book: it’s an admirable example of what the human body and mind are capable of. I wish it could have ended with something a little more conclusive, but it simply illustrates that her story isn’t over, really. And it wasn’t: she went on to break more records and hike more trails. I hope she found some peace away from the trail as well. It’s also an example of how sometimes the biggest barriers in our lives are not external, but internal, in our minds. Despite being anemic, having a bad knee, and enduring a swollen toe for a large part of the trip, she not only managed to finish but broke the record for unsupported Fastest Known Time. And she continues to hold it. I don’t think I’ll be trying to break any records; I don’t care about being an athlete. And I’d like to think I’d make sure I was in better shape before starting something like this. But hey, if a woman like Anish can make this her life, why not me?

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kasey Lawson

    “Why is it that I can’t be content to live a “normal life”? Why do I spiral into depression when I am away from the wilderness too long? What possible use could my only talent be when it’s something as basic as walking?! Why am I happiest as a vagabond of the wild? I’d prayed - no, I’d demanded - to know why I’d been created like this. Why did you give me intellect and ability, yet no desire to use either in a meaningful way? Why am I only wired for loving the mountains and moving among them? I’d “Why is it that I can’t be content to live a “normal life”? Why do I spiral into depression when I am away from the wilderness too long? What possible use could my only talent be when it’s something as basic as walking?! Why am I happiest as a vagabond of the wild? I’d prayed - no, I’d demanded - to know why I’d been created like this. Why did you give me intellect and ability, yet no desire to use either in a meaningful way? Why am I only wired for loving the mountains and moving among them? I’d failed to live up to the expectations of my parents. I had not utilized my education in any real way and I’d given up on marriage. For the first time, I accepted that I could not meet the expectations of others and make myself happy at the same time. Being true to myself had led me here - onto a wild trail in the middle of the night - not into a career and the creation of my own family. I hated myself for not being able to conform happily. I hated myself for trying and failing. I loved myself for choosing to do what was right for me, no matter the cost. I forgave myself for trying to please others when I knew it wasn’t right for me.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sergey

    I'm giving the book 4 stars for her achievement, but, to be honest, as a piece of literature it's not very good (even though short). Also, I have hiked the PCT (and live in Washington). I have my own memories of the places she talks about and know how they look and feel. Without it the dry list of geographic names would be even less interesting. Again, what she did is remarkable and amazing, but she is unable to translate it well into text. The strongest (the most alive) writing is the quotes from I'm giving the book 4 stars for her achievement, but, to be honest, as a piece of literature it's not very good (even though short). Also, I have hiked the PCT (and live in Washington). I have my own memories of the places she talks about and know how they look and feel. Without it the dry list of geographic names would be even less interesting. Again, what she did is remarkable and amazing, but she is unable to translate it well into text. The strongest (the most alive) writing is the quotes from her Facebook posts. There are many books which describe inner and outer struggles of an athlete much more vividly. For example, read North by Scott Jurek about his supported hike of the AT. Yes, she is open about her insecurities, but who isn't nowadays. She is a hiker and an endurance athlete, but not a writer. I wouldn't recommend this book to my friends (unless they're thruhikers). Read "The Sun is a Compass", or "North", or "Finding Ultra", or "The Push", or one of the many other stronger books.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    I have admired Heather Anderson for years, following along with her mindblowing journeys on America's long trails. She recently completed a calendar triple crown, shortly before this book was released. We're taken back to her first record setting hike on the PCT, an intro to a woman who is hiking through pain from things that have happened in her life. But unlike Cheryl Strayed's memoir, Heather takes us into the mind of an average person turned extraordinary athlete. The reader can't help but f I have admired Heather Anderson for years, following along with her mindblowing journeys on America's long trails. She recently completed a calendar triple crown, shortly before this book was released. We're taken back to her first record setting hike on the PCT, an intro to a woman who is hiking through pain from things that have happened in her life. But unlike Cheryl Strayed's memoir, Heather takes us into the mind of an average person turned extraordinary athlete. The reader can't help but feel thirsty while reading her story. Carry more water!! Don't pass that source! You're going to run out! The incredible endurance displayed on this hike is inspiration for all of us to get outside more and hike through our inconveniences and personal struggles. I can't recommend this book highly enough to anyone who loves the outdoors and hiking. Mostly, I just want to take Heather for a cup of coffee to hear the rest of the story that wasn't written here. I truly hope this is only her first book...

  20. 5 out of 5

    Brett Anderson

    "My day starts at 5 a.m. I will walk all day at 3 miles per hour, stopping only to get water, dump sand from my shoes or such. Each stop lasts but a few minutes. I walk until the miles pile up, until night falls and my headlamp comes out, until the aching in my feet and legs seems unbearable." - Heather "Anish" Anderson, Thirst "By 11 p.m. I’d run into a wall—a wall built from fatigue and hunger. My fast walk downshifted into a stumble and then I fell down. I got up and continued onward, but soon "My day starts at 5 a.m. I will walk all day at 3 miles per hour, stopping only to get water, dump sand from my shoes or such. Each stop lasts but a few minutes. I walk until the miles pile up, until night falls and my headlamp comes out, until the aching in my feet and legs seems unbearable." - Heather "Anish" Anderson, Thirst "By 11 p.m. I’d run into a wall—a wall built from fatigue and hunger. My fast walk downshifted into a stumble and then I fell down. I got up and continued onward, but soon I had to admit defeat. Too exhausted to walk anymore, I pitched my tent right on the trail and crawled inside. It wasn’t hard to convince myself to skip dinner in order to ration my food because I was too tired to eat anyway." - Heather "Anish" Anderson, Thirst "No matter the outcome, I will be thankful for the strength of my body—for the blessing of being alive." - Heather "Anish" Anderson, Thirst

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fred Friel

    A must read for every thru hiker or tentative thru hiker. Heather completed her Pacific Crest Trail Fastest Known Time in 2013 in over 60 days and so many hours. Her descriptions of thirst and heat exhaustion in the desert, altitude sickness in the Sierra, and just overall exhaustion from extended physical exertion will sound familiar to endurance athletes and those who have found themselves in a tight spot in any austere environment. For those of us seeking some kind of peace or grace in the wil A must read for every thru hiker or tentative thru hiker. Heather completed her Pacific Crest Trail Fastest Known Time in 2013 in over 60 days and so many hours. Her descriptions of thirst and heat exhaustion in the desert, altitude sickness in the Sierra, and just overall exhaustion from extended physical exertion will sound familiar to endurance athletes and those who have found themselves in a tight spot in any austere environment. For those of us seeking some kind of peace or grace in the wilderness, her description of what brought her to the trail and her introspection as to why she is on the trail is very well worth the reader’s time. She causes us to pause for a moment in our busy lives and reflect upon our own desires and drives. Finally, this is simply a well written book. Her prose is engaging and pleasurable to read. I strongly recommend this to any thru hiker, tentative thru hiker or anyone who wishes to live vicariously through another’s deeds.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nina

    I live in the Northwest. So when this local author published this book, my local online hiking group talked about it. Then the author piped into the discussion to say “order the book from my website and I’ll sign it.” Score! I loved this adventure tale. I was thirsty for her and kept drinking water... from my bed while reading. The second half of the book should have been titled Part 2: Hunger. I started examine foods to get the maximum caloric efficiency. Not to mention eating a big burger after I live in the Northwest. So when this local author published this book, my local online hiking group talked about it. Then the author piped into the discussion to say “order the book from my website and I’ll sign it.” Score! I loved this adventure tale. I was thirsty for her and kept drinking water... from my bed while reading. The second half of the book should have been titled Part 2: Hunger. I started examine foods to get the maximum caloric efficiency. Not to mention eating a big burger after a four-mile SUP paddle for a treat! It’s no 40 miles like what the author was logging each day, but similar. Most of the book was what she was doing when on her hike. I could feel the urgency to get through the hike fast... therefore I started reading faster. However she did insert bits of herself into the book, which I appreciated: Her fear and insecurities, her search for happiness and purpose and her changing beliefs in God. Fantastic story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I don't currently have anyone in my life who connects with wilderness in the way I used to before I gave into a conventional suburban life with my two kids and a minivan. I ask myself hourly what I am doing here and if I have lost the courage to go back out for fear of something happening to me and leaving my kids motherless. I was never a thru-hiker, just backpacking, but I've dreamed of it. My cousin just finished the Appalachian Trail and I seethed with jealousy of his courage to let go. It w I don't currently have anyone in my life who connects with wilderness in the way I used to before I gave into a conventional suburban life with my two kids and a minivan. I ask myself hourly what I am doing here and if I have lost the courage to go back out for fear of something happening to me and leaving my kids motherless. I was never a thru-hiker, just backpacking, but I've dreamed of it. My cousin just finished the Appalachian Trail and I seethed with jealousy of his courage to let go. It was almost painful to read this book, Anish so perfectly describes my internal struggle, my inability to accept regular life, my desire to just walk, and that no one around me even knows and certainly wouldn't understand. I did a two month backpack 15 years ago and as the months and years wear on, I grow more certain that I will never experience life with that clarity again. Anish just might have inspired me to try, and for that I can't thank her enough. Totally incredible read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Leigh

    Great read! I meet Anish on the PCT last summer while she was going for the triple crown. I don't think this book would be good to read if you were interested in hiking the pct for the first time and wanted to learn about it. There is a lot of trail detail she leaves out (she was just hiking too fast). Also part of the fun of the PCT is meeting other hikers, trail angles, and enjoying trail towns. You don't learn about those magical experiences in this book due to how fast she is going. However Great read! I meet Anish on the PCT last summer while she was going for the triple crown. I don't think this book would be good to read if you were interested in hiking the pct for the first time and wanted to learn about it. There is a lot of trail detail she leaves out (she was just hiking too fast). Also part of the fun of the PCT is meeting other hikers, trail angles, and enjoying trail towns. You don't learn about those magical experiences in this book due to how fast she is going. However she is super inspiring. I didn't know she weighed 200 pounds in high school. It just goes to show if you really want something you can do it! Also liked how she shared her insecurities. I appreciated her honesty and vulnerability so you feel a connection. But there is no way I could hike 40 to 50 miles a days. 30 was plenty. But happy she got her triple crown as she is really remarkable!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sasha Wolf

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had such mixed feelings about this book. Anish's struggle to accept herself as an athlete with her body image, her disability and her depression really resonated with me, as did her spiritual experiences on the trail. On the other hand, I often wanted to shout at the book in frustration. It baffles me that someone who had already completed her first Triple Crown could be so underprepared for her FKT attempt that she was in too much pain to sleep at the end of her first day and had blisters on I had such mixed feelings about this book. Anish's struggle to accept herself as an athlete with her body image, her disability and her depression really resonated with me, as did her spiritual experiences on the trail. On the other hand, I often wanted to shout at the book in frustration. It baffles me that someone who had already completed her first Triple Crown could be so underprepared for her FKT attempt that she was in too much pain to sleep at the end of her first day and had blisters on the tenth. Yet she persevered and went on to set several more records, as well as becoming the first woman to complete the Triple Crown in a calendar year and to complete the Triple Triple. I guess that means there's hope for me too.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David Kessler

    If you wish to capture what it is really like to hiking long-distance trails, this book will do it. The elation of rising over a pass or rounding a arête or the fear of a lightning storm or lack of drinking water, it is all captured by Anish in her story. This is a special sort of hiking event. Anish decides that for her(her second thru hike of the PCT) this trek must be to accomplish the FKT for the trail. How fast is this trip to try to set the Fastest Known Time, self-supported, for the Pacific If you wish to capture what it is really like to hiking long-distance trails, this book will do it. The elation of rising over a pass or rounding a arête or the fear of a lightning storm or lack of drinking water, it is all captured by Anish in her story. This is a special sort of hiking event. Anish decides that for her(her second thru hike of the PCT) this trek must be to accomplish the FKT for the trail. How fast is this trip to try to set the Fastest Known Time, self-supported, for the Pacific Crest Trail? A brilliant bit of writing. She captures what it is truly like to hike the PCT.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shelley

    The could not understand me and therefore criticized me... Over the years and miles, I'd berated myself. I'd tried to change. I'd tried to settle down. I'd tried to have a career. I'd tried to substitute running for thru hiking. I'd tried to force myself into any number of conventional molds. I'd prayed, no, I'd demanded, to know why I'd been created like this... In my life, in so many different ways, I had tried. I had tried to become many things. To meet the many external expectations. I had t The could not understand me and therefore criticized me... Over the years and miles, I'd berated myself. I'd tried to change. I'd tried to settle down. I'd tried to have a career. I'd tried to substitute running for thru hiking. I'd tried to force myself into any number of conventional molds. I'd prayed, no, I'd demanded, to know why I'd been created like this... In my life, in so many different ways, I had tried. I had tried to become many things. To meet the many external expectations. I had tried to make the world better, to help people. And I had always felt empty.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Schuster

    I can only wish to be as mentally strong as her some day! I was silently rooting her on during her hardest nights. I did think it was cool how she met a few people along the trail that she’s met before on the trail (and that none of them could keep up with her 40-50/day hike!) I didn’t like the camouflage-clad creeper on the trail with a knife of his hip at the end who was asking if she was hiking alone and then further asking where her boyfriend was and why he hadn’t hike up to her yet. Dude, g I can only wish to be as mentally strong as her some day! I was silently rooting her on during her hardest nights. I did think it was cool how she met a few people along the trail that she’s met before on the trail (and that none of them could keep up with her 40-50/day hike!) I didn’t like the camouflage-clad creeper on the trail with a knife of his hip at the end who was asking if she was hiking alone and then further asking where her boyfriend was and why he hadn’t hike up to her yet. Dude, get the eff off the trail. And Pringles, you owe her a meal.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amber R-C

    A thoroughly enjoyable and exhausting account of Anish’s FKT record on the PCT. I saw a recent review that lamented the factual play-by-play of the book & I have to disagree that this is a bad thing. It’s exactly what we want as armchair athletes - we want to be with the author, suffering and cursing all the way. The pace of this book is fast and tiring and Anish does a fantastic job recreating her daily exhaustion and exhilaration for us. Well executed, and I very much recommend this one for A thoroughly enjoyable and exhausting account of Anish’s FKT record on the PCT. I saw a recent review that lamented the factual play-by-play of the book & I have to disagree that this is a bad thing. It’s exactly what we want as armchair athletes - we want to be with the author, suffering and cursing all the way. The pace of this book is fast and tiring and Anish does a fantastic job recreating her daily exhaustion and exhilaration for us. Well executed, and I very much recommend this one for your thru-hike library.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dan Ward

    It was an interesting read but like much of the genre surrounding thru hikers there is a ton of 'Me' or 'I' throughout this book. It is hard to get over the self absorbtion of the author. I've listened to podcasts and read other books about thru hiking and this is pretty typical. Walking on the trail is a noble goal but if that is all you do with your life that what have you accomplished? The author obviously was incredibly dedicated accomplished something truly amazing in her time on the trail.

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