“In the well-written, laugh-out-loud, self-deprecating spirit of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods and Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally, Dan White takes us along for a walk on the wild side of adventure and love. I couldn’t put it down.” —Eric Blehm, National Outdoor Book Award-winning author of The Last Season
When Dan White and his girlfriend Melissa set out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada through boiling desert and snowcapped mountain passes, his parents wondered how two people who had never shared an apartment could survive in a tent in the desert. But when Dan and Melissa, dubbed “The Lois and Clark Expedition” by a fellow hiker, quit their doldrum jobs to set out into the wilderness, the hardships of the trail provided these addled adventurers with a crystalline view of the American wilderness, themselves, and each other.
In his wickedly funny memoir, Dan White also shares the story of Warren Rogers, who risked ruin to chart the trail during the Great Depression. As he walks in Rogers’ footsteps, he starts to wonder if he’s assumed the man’s bravery—or his insanity.
Both hilarious and harrowing, this account of a young couple's hike along the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail is a testament to the power of nature to change us and the power of love to get us through the uphill climbs.
Traversing broiling deserts, snowy mountain passes and dank rain forests on its crooked way from Mexico to Canada, the Pacific Coast Trail is an epic challenge for die-hard backpackers. White and his girlfriend, Melissa, set out, late in the season and bereft of experience, to tread all 2,650 miles of it, leaving behind lousy reporting jobs and hoping to find self-definition and a deepened relationship. (They call their trek the Lois and Clark Expedition.) Hilarious greenhorn misadventures ensue including the author's ill-advised chomp, while dizzy with dehydration, into a reputedly moisture-laden prickly-pear cactus that tested their survival skills and commitment as a couple. The trail becomes less an itinerary than a world unto itself, full of squalor, discomfort and majestic scenery, and peopled by charismatic misfits and an austere cult of ultra-light speed-hikers, as the couple rely on arcane camping gear and bizarre gummy-bear-and-marshmallow diets. The wilderness authenticity the author seeks proves elusive; all journey and no destination, the story itself eventually trails off with the hero even more callow and confused than when he started. Still, White's vivid prose and hangdog humor make readers want to keep up.