I'm doing something a bit different today. I'm writing a book review... with a treat. Stick with the review and you could win a copy (details below)!
The Pacific Crest Trail, or PCT, has been everywhere lately. A high school friend's parents just hiked sections of it and their lovely photos have been dotting Facebook. I heard about bear canisters and resupplying and blisters galore! Many of my friends have been reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed and photos of her book (about the same hike) have been populating my Instagram feed. And then, I was selected to participate in this book review and lo and behold, the PCT rears its fascinatingly terrifying head again.
Gail Storey's I Promise Not to Suffer chronicles her attempt at a thru-hike of 2,663 miles of often unforgiving, but always beautiful west-coast wilderness. Gail's hike is prompted by her husband's urging - a former hospice doctor that set out to find himself among the wild after a series of changes in hospice care and his facility caused him to resign. She chooses to accompany him for reasons I found myself instantly sympathetic to: she doesn't want to worry about him for six months, she doesn't want to miss out on an experience to get closer to him, she wants to find herself as well out in the great unknown.
What results from Gail's decision to undertake the route, from the start in California on the U.S./Mexico border and through to British Columbia, Canada, is a journey where she comes to terms with her relationship between her husband and herself, her strained relationship with her mother, and her own body (its strengths and its failings). With Gail's own personal reckoning, in I Promise Not to Suffer, there also comes vivid description of the trail, their well-thought out and trail-gourmet meals, and encounters with the most difficult terrain. She and her husband climb achingly tall mountain peaks in the snow, ford swollen and icy rivers, and fear for their lives on many an occasion - sick from drinking un-purified water and fearing frostbite in the snow.
One of the things I loved most about this book was that it detailed a journey I will (most likely) never take. Thinking about making the hike that Gail and her husband did fills me with fear and worry, and yet they did embark, hiked 20 miles every single day through treacherous desserts and mountain peaks, and emerged all the stronger and more in tune with themselves. I found the book to be a total page turner as I wanted to join them on each turn in the trail, see them safely bedded down for the night and out of the way of passing bears and mountain lions. I found myself inexplicably drawn into that which I feared - just as Gail found herself drawn into the journey and adventure of the PCT.
Interested yet? Win a copy of Gail Storey's I Promise Not to Suffer by following my blog (links on the sidebar) and leaving a comment with a goal that's out of your comfort zone that you'd like to accomplish and the way you follow the blog. The winner will be randomly selected on August 30! Giveaway open to U.S. readers for the physical book, or any readers for a Kindle or ePub file version.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.