By Dan White
The Pacific Crest path stretches from Mexico to Canada, a distance of 2,650 grueling, sun-scorched, bear-infested miles. while Dan White and his female friend introduced their goal to hike it, Dan's parents—among others—thought they have been nuts. How may perhaps humans who'd by no means even shared an residence jointly continue to exist six months within the desolate tract with little greater than a two-person tent and a few path combine? but if those addled adventurers, dubbed "the Lois and Clark Expedition" via their benevolent trail-guru, set out for the yankee desolate tract, the hardships of the trail—and one delicious-looking cactus—test the bounds of affection and sanity.
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Extra info for The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind--and Almost Found Myself--on the Pacific Crest Trail
And he was once giggling. * This passage is a riff on principles provided in Rebecca Solnit’s As Eve acknowledged to the Serpent: On Pandscape, Gender, and artwork, Athens, Ga. : collage of Georgia Press, 2001, pp. 70–71. bankruptcy eleven The Gingerbread guy How did he locate us right here, within the spot the place our direction vanished in a twist of rabbit brush, a spool of concertina cord to my left, a culvert to my correct? He should have been following for a while, hiding within the shadows. He slowed as he complex. A light-refracting patina of sunburn and crud had grew to become him orange. In his correct hand he carried a ski pole, within the different, a tattered plastic sack. I braced myself for what might ensue subsequent. He’d beg for unfastened switch, come at us with a knife he’d whittled from a spoon, or attempt to drink our range gasoline. I straightened up and regarded him lifeless on within the face. Out right here, within the desolate tract, I needed to hold my chin excessive, push my chest out, and not exhibit the slightest worry. “Dan and Allison! ” the hobo roared. I nearly rainy my pants. How the hell did he comprehend our names? Evasive motion got here to brain, yet I intentionally muddied my thoughts—when your antagonist may be psychic, you dare now not exhibit the plan, now not even to yourself—but what to do? He was once getting nearer. “Dan and Allison” he yowled. “I’ve been ready seventy miles to assert these phrases. ” Jesus Christ, i assumed to myself. Seventy miles? So it was once actual, he’d been following us. I grew to become to Allison to corroborate my worry, yet her facial features drifted someplace among entertainment and torpor. I took one other shut examine the stranger, and slowly, steadily, got here the belief, like waking from a nightmare. the guy was once no longer a beggar, inebriated, or hobo. He was once a Pacific Crest path hiker. nonetheless, he used to be a wierd one, even for my subgroup. He wore a blue bandanna round his head, babushka-style, and wraparound colours, the type you spot on cataract sufferers on the seashore. His pack leaned to 1 part. He had a grimy foam-rubber napping pad and a bunched-up drowsing bag strapped to it. the fellow had a relentless smile, as though extremely joyful at his scent and his entourage of gnats. with out prompting, he introduced, “I am the Gingerbread guy. ” “And we're lost,” Allison stated. “Yeeee-haw! ” the Gingerbread guy acknowledged, as though our being misplaced have been the funniest funny story he’d heard shortly. He had a Texas accessory, thick as Karo syrup. “Mark the postman instructed me all approximately you. ” “Oh no,” Allison stated. “What did Mark say? ” “Too undesirable you men didn’t hike the Appalachian path first. It passes via cities. plenty of water resources. nice education path. Very forgiving. They’ve obtained piped-in water and shelters. The Pacific Crest Trail’s very unforgiving. It doesn’t allow you to make errors. ” “We basically make mistakes,” Allison acknowledged. “This is much extra complication than we concept. ” “Hardship,” stated the Gingerbread guy, announcing the observe slowly, savoring it. “Hardship is what it’s all approximately. ” He provided to be our advisor throughout the mountains. whilst I requested if this may inconvenience him, or exhaust him if we ended up climbing until eventually sunset, he let loose one other deafening yee-haw.