If I can ever get myself organised I want to hike one of the three America Long Trails that make up the Triple Crown (Appalachian Trail, Continental Divide Trail, Pacific Crest Trail PCT) and, if I can only do one trail, it will be the Pacific Crest Trail. While the PCT steadily gained popularity year-on-year, the release of the Movie ‘Wild’ in 2015 changed this trail forever. What became known as the ‘Wild Effect’ saw a massive upswing in hikers doing this trail on an annual basis and impacted long distance hiking in general.
I devour books on the US Long Trails and I have a collection of both guide books and novels based around these trails – they keep me enthused until I get a chance to actually do them! Read enough books and blogs and you’ll come across the name Heather Anderson. Her trail name is ‘Anish’ in honour of her great-great grandmother, who was of Native American Anishinabe heritage. Anish became the first woman, and the fifth person, to complete the Calendar Year Triple Crown that’s all three trails in one calendar year covering 7,944 miles (12,785km). Anish hike an average of more than 31 miles (just on 50 km) a day to finish in under 252 days. If this wasn’t enough this was the third time she had hiked all three trails and the only woman to do so at that stage. On the day she finished, her time was the fastest to date for the PCT, male or female, and faster than supported hikers.
The book Thirst 2600 Miles to Home captures Anish’s (successful) attempt to get the Fastest Known Time (FKT) on the Pacific Crest Trail which she completed on 7 August 2013. I loved the style of this book being a combination of her days on her trip with flashbacks going back to her childhood where, early in the book, she admits to being a ‘fat child’. While this may seem irrelevant her childhood experience drove her to become an athletic adult with the aim of setting a record and, in the meantime, also being an ultra-marathoner.
The style of this book is really well done combining a combination of her FKT journey which ended up taking 60 days, 17 hours, 12 minutes and on the final day covering a herculean distance of 53 miles (85km) although this wasn’t her longest day. Given that the average hiker will finish this journey somewhere between 84- 112 days, it shows you how amazing this journey was.
Style wise I found this to be a very enjoyable book. The daily stories interspersed with flashbacks dating back over 20 years provides an interesting counterpoint. The combination of the new and old is really well done. For me, this is one of the most enjoyable hiking novel/documentary books I have read, it’s that good! Anish has written this book beyond just a daily diary; she has the ability to coalesce her on-trail experiences into a coherent story and I don’t know how. Given she was walking daily for extended periods the only way I could see this being done is with the aid of a voice recorder, which would also help to convey the emotion months and years after.
I have yet to do a ‘top 10’ hiking book post but if I do, this book will be will definitely be on that list, and at the time of this review, it tops the list!
You can purchase Thirst 2000 Miles to Home from Amazon Australia
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AUD $36.75 RRP
Thirst 2600 Miles from Home – book cover
Thirst book text sample
This review was done with product purchased by Australian Hiker
19 January 2024