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Book Review: Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart

Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart by Carrot Quinn

With thru-hiking season in full swing, I have been reading as many hiker blogs as I possibly can. I absolutely love reading about trail-life and all of the adventures that comes with it, but reading blogs has proven to be a problem: they're not always updated regularly (not everyone can be Karen Wang!). I needed something with more substance, and I needed to know that I would be able to read from Mexico to Canada as quickly as I wanted - not over the course of 5 months.

Enter: Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart. A meaty 370 page account of Carrot Quinn's hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. I first heard about this book on some blogs about how people mentally prepared for their own thru-hikes, and it had been in the back of my mind for a long time. I don't remember what made me take the plunge and actually purchase it, but I am so happy I did.

This book follows Carrot along her 2,600 mile hike from Mexico to Canada in 2013. I don't know what I was expecting; I know thru-hiking is difficult, that's what everyone talks about, but there was a sort of honesty in this book that caught me by surprise. She has such a candid style of writing (it almost feels like she's blogging - which, to be fair, she was) that totally captures you and makes you feel as though you're there with her. For me, that was the best part.

I loved that Carrot focused on herself in this narrative, not on the landscape or what she was seeing. Instead, she spoke about how she felt on a given day, the strange spiral her thoughts would take in the desert, or how she conquered her fears of the Stick Breakers and moody campsites at night (something I took to heart; I find myself whispering you are safe, safe, safe when I'm anxious camping now). In a sort of sub-genre dominated by books like Wild and A Walk in the Woods, this was so refreshing. I finished the book feeling not only like I knew Carrot and her experience better, but like I knew myself better.

I'll be honest, this book is not for everyone. It's a much different book than most thru-hiking accounts, but if you are a fan of stream-of-consciousness type writing and the mental grit it takes to actually complete a thru-hike, this is the book for you. 

Check out Carrot Quinn's website and Instagram


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