This post originally appeared on Beers at the Bottom (9/25/20). Updated 11/20/23.
“Hike your own hike”, as the saying goes. You may never catch me thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), but I’m always interested in reading about others’ hiking experiences. One book that’s been on my radar for a while recently showed up on my doorstep thanks to Read and Share, a series of events put on by Whatcom County Library System (WCLS). It’s a book with a strong connection to Bellingham and the local trail community, so I was excited to read and review it.
The author, Heather “Anish” Anderson became a legend in the through-hiking world when she set the unsupported fastest known time (FKT) on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013. An unlikely contender, this zebra dress-wearing woman from Bellingham crushed the previous record by four days, hiking 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada in 60 days, 17 hours, and 12 minutes.
Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home
Years after setting her record, Heather took on a new challenge: writing a book about her experience. In “Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home“, she tells the story behind her record and why she set out to achieve an FKT in the first place. “Thirst” isn’t just about an epic through-hike, it’s about realizing a childhood dream. It’s about determination, self-talk, and stubbornly sticking to a goal despite dehydration, wildlife encounters, severe fatigue, and any other obstacle the trail (or life) might throw your way.
If the past few years’ relentless volley of obstacles are getting you down, this may be the book for you. “Thirst” provides a healthy helping of inspiration – something we could all use a little of these days. I enjoyed armchair-traveling the PCT with Heather as she hiked an average of 40 miles every day for 2 months. I can’t imagine the strength, stamina, and perseverance Heather needed to pull off such a feat. Truly incredible.
Side note: I’ve hiked roughly 30 miles on the PCT since 2016 – almost certainly making me a strong contender for the slowest known time 🙂