Cactus Eaters by Dan White
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Cactus Eaters
By Dan White

The Cactus Eaters

How I Lost My Mind - and Almost Found Myself - on the Pacific Crest Trail

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Format: Paperback

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Cactus Eaters by Dan White

Book Description

When Dan and his girlfriend set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, his parents wondered how two people who had never shared an apartment could survive in a four-by-six foot tent in the desert. Not to mention the fact that the trail stretches from Mexico to Canada, through boiling desert and snowcapped mountain passes. Despite the warnings of their loved ones, and even some naysaying strangers, Dan and Melissa set out into the wilderness. They are dubbed "The Lois and Clark Expedition" by their long-limbed, loping guru "The Gingerbread Man" after covering the requisite number of miles to be considered official PCT thru-hikers.As the desert gives way to mountains, and the winter threatens to abbreviate their trek, the hardships of the trail provide these addled adventurers a crystalline view of the American wilderness, themselves, and each other. This book tells the story of "one and a half step" Warren Rogers, co-founder of the Pacific Crest Trail. Rogers overcame polio and risked ruin during the Great Depression to chart the trail from beginning to end. As Dan White walks in Rogers' footsteps, he starts to wonder if he's assumed the man's bravery, or his insanity.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780061376931
ISBN-10: 0061376930
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 135mm x 23mm)
Pages: 400
Imprint: HarperPerennial
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
Publish Date: 20-May-2008
Country of Publication: United States

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Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Journalist White and his girlfriend Melissa tackle the Pacific Crest Trail, Mexico to Canada and all the many miles and weather developments in between.They both worked at a small newspaper in Connecticut. He was a book-smart nerd with a deep-seated need to rebel; she was professionally ambitious but with an appetite for adventure. They fell for each other and, in an act of sublime ignorance, decided to knock off the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail in one summer-long act of youth and bravado. That was ten years ago, which has given White time to recover from their trail-trial-by-fire and to find some humor in the story. White and Melissa encountered a typical gallery of blowhards, weirdos and good Samaritans on the trail. They desert-fried and snowfield-froze. They found scorpions in their boots and swarms of ticks everywhere. The food was scary (and so was the diarrhea). But they also saw peach-colored mornings and lavender evenings; they skinny-dipped and made love. Drawing on diaries he kept at the time, White polishes up these memories, serving them forth with brio and dash. But he also unsparingly portrays his selfish ways as he gradually descended into an edgy and anxious frame of mind. He was raw: a buffoon, quixotic when not churlish. Readers will laugh with the author as he delivers one-liners ("It changes you when you bite your first cactus"), but they will also steam at his solipsistic antics and become unnerved when they see him making critical decisions with decidedly impaired judgment. No wonder Melissa broke up with him after the big hike.Brings a fresh perspective to the timeworn adventure-travel genre. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Dan White

Dan White is a journalist and author whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Backpacker magazine. He received his MFA from Columbia University, and he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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