After completing a five month 2650 mile solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail my feet finally cooled down and I decided to write an account of my journey.
At the time, Kevin Costners movie “Dances With Wolves” was around.
Hmm, I thought... “Dances With Marmots” would be a more fitting title for my experience - so that was it.
After ongoing comments asking whether the story was available to purchase as a book, I finally took the next step by adding a bit more content, editing and publishing.
A preview of Chapter One is available to read here online. (scroll to 'Chapters' and the preview link below)
Scroll down too for a list of the areas traversed on the PCT and the equipment I carried. Below that are readers' comments and reviews. There are also links to pages of PCT interest including a page showing mileages between various points along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Thanks for dropping in!
I'd also like to thank the characters and wildlife that took a part in my adventure with special thanks to Ziggy, The Gimp, and Mountain Goat Vern.
And happy trails to all!
Cheers, George Spearing, Oamaru, New Zealand.
The inspiring account of a 4300km solo hike from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Despite never having hiked before, George Spearing decided to take 'leave of absence' from his job as a firefighter in the New Zealand Fire Service and walk the length of America.
This is the story of his five month journey, travelling entirely on foot and off road through the desert areas and High Sierra Nevada of California, the Cascade ranges of Oregon and Washington to finally emerge in the Okanogan Forest of British Columbia, Canada.
The diverse mix of dry Mojave desert, High Sierra snows and the characters and wildlife met along the way, provide an often humorous look at the US and its wilderness through the eyes of a New Zealander.
The lively and easily read style, including illustrations, will appeal to both adventurer and armchair adventurer alike.
Follow the adventure from its inception on an Auckland, New Zealand Fire Station, to its culmination in British Columbia, Canada.
Traversing 40 Wilderness areas, 24 National Forests, 7 National Parks, 3 State Parks, 19 major canyons and climbing 57 mountain passes,
the epic journey takes the reader from near sea level at the Mexican border to 13,200 ft at Forester Pass in the snowbound high Sierra Nevada.
An entertaining and inspiring read for anyone contemplating hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, or for anyone who just enjoys a good adventure story.
Preview Chapter 1..Auckland/California..Devonport Fire Station, Inspiration, Uncle George, and the Mexican Border
Chapter 2..California..Rattlers, Strange Heartbeats, and Warner Springs.
Chapter 3..California..Idyllwild, Big Bear City, Agua Dulce, Three Points and the Mojave desert.
Chapter 4..California..Jawbone Canyon, Inyokern, and Mountain Goat Vern.
Chapter 5..California..Snowbound Passes, and a meeting with Ursus Americanus.
Chapter 6..California..Sadie's Important Message, More bears, Yosemite's Postal Clerk from Hell, and Little Norway.
Chapter 7..California..The Lovely Carola, Shasta-Trinity, The king of snakes, Milt Kenny, and Sierra City.
Chapter 8..Oregon..Ashland, Hillary, Crater Lake, Lolo latrine, and the Columbia River.
Chapter 9..Washington..Snoqualmie Pass, Stehekin - I meet my double, and US/Canadian Border Marker 78.
AREAS TRAVERSED ON THE JOURNEY ALONG THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL...
California, Oregon, Washington.
Hauser Wilderness, San Jacinto Wilderness, San Gorgonio Wilderness,
Cucamonga Wilderness, San Gabriel Wilderness, Domeland Wilderness,
Golden Trout Wilderness, John Muir Wilderness, Minarets Wilderness,
Ansel Adams Wilderness, Hoover Wilderness, Emigrant Wilderness,
Carson Iceberg Wilderness, Mokelumne Wilderness, Desolation Wilderness,
Granite Chief Wilderness, Caribou Wilderness, Bucks Lake Wilderness,
Castle Crags Wilderness, Trinity Alps Wilderness, Russian Wilderness,
Marble Mountain Wilderness, Red Buttes Wilderness, Sky Lakes Wilderness,
Mt.Thielson Wilderness, Diamond Peak Wilderness, Three Sisters Wilderness,
Mount WashingtonWilderness, Mount Jefferson Wilderness, Mount Hood Wilderness,
Columbia Wilderness, Indian Heaven Wilderness, Mount Adams Wilderness,
Goat Rocks Wilderness, William O.Douglas Wilderness, Norse Peak Wilderness,
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Henry M. Jackson Wilderness, Glacier Peak Wilderness,
Cleveland National Forest, San Bernardino Nat Forest, Angeles National Forest,
Sequoia National Forest, Inyo National Forest, Sierra National Forest,
Toiyabe National Forest, Eldorado National Forest, Tahoe National Forest,
Plumas National Forest, Lassen National Forest, Shasta-Trinity Nat Forest,
Klamath National Forest, Rogue River Nat Forest, Winema National Forest,
Umpqua National Forest, Deschutes National Forest, Willamette National Forest,
Mount Hood National Forest, Gifford Pinchot Nat Forest, Snoqualmie National Forest,
Wenatchee National Forest, Mount Baker National Forest, Okanogan National Forest.
Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, Anza Borrega Desert State Park, Mt.San Jacinto State Park
NATIONAL PARKS AND DESERTS
Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Yosemite National Park,
Lassen Volcanic National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Mount Ranier National Park,
North Cascades National Park. Mojave Desert, Pumice National Desert.
One man tunnel tent, Fairydown Dragonfly - Excellent.
Backpack, Macpac 'Cascade' 90litre + pack cover - Excellent.
Asolo Boots - very strong and comfortable.
Sleeping Bag, Fairydown Liteweight Entrant - too light, heavier down fill would have been better.
Ice axe - Indispensable.
Crampons - Made life comfortable at times, but could have got by with just the ice axe.
Gaiters - Good for shallow creek crossings, snow and tick protection. Not necessary.
Ground pad, Therma-Rest - very comfortable but can puncture.
Polypropylene clothing - 1 T shirt, 2 long sleeve crew necks,(one is enough) 1 Long Johns. (polyprop is excellent - light, quick drying, warm when wet.)
Track suit trousers - Good for cold weather and camp wear. Not necessary.
Waterproof Overtrousers, Gortex - Excellent.
Jacket, Fairydown Polar Plus - Excellent.
Anorak, Gortex - Excellent.
Balaclava - polypropylene, (not necessary) Woollen Watch cap, Brimmed hat - canvas. Bandanna, for neck sun protection.
Gloves, Woollen mittens double thickness. Not necessary.
Gloves, polypropylene finger - For wear under the mittens.
Cotton T shirt - waste of time, cold when wet, should have been another polyprop.
Light Cotton long sleeve shirt. Socks - 3 pairs Woollen, 3 pairs polyprop inners.
Underpants, 2 pairs - One pair for California and a change at the Oregon Border!!
Jandals (Flip Flops/thongs) - Good light camp footwear to air the feet.
Stove, MSR International - Excellent, but be sure to carry field maintenance kit!
2 Fuel bottles, Stove maintenance kit.
Pot with lid, 1 spoon, 1 plastic mug.
Water bottles - 4x two litre plastic soft drink bottles. (These are indestructible, light, flatten when empty and cheap!)
Swiss Army knife - with scissors for trimming toenails!
Compass with variation setting adjustment (less mental arithmetic when you're tired)
Map and trail guide - "Pacific Crest Trail" by Wilderness Press, Excellent, indispensable.
First Aid kit (Usual, plus painkiller/anti inflammatory drug)
Snake Bite kit, nylon stuff bag for bear bagging, Several plastic trash bags.
Sun Lotion, Insect repellent, Lip balm, Toothbrush, Paste, Toilet paper, Spare laces, Sewing kit, Tent patch kit, Velcro tape, Superglue, String, Lighters, Waterproof matches, Mightylite torch, Spare batteries, Sunglasses (Blinker type and conventional), Thermometer, Walkman radio, Iodine tablets, Water filter.
Parachute chord 50 metres.
Pedometer (This broke during a fall on one of the passes, but had served its purpose, as by then I could accurately assess mileage by time and terrain)
Camera, film, notebook, pen, pencil.
Hooks, line, bait.
FOOD and WATER!
Paperback - $14.7510 digit ISBN: 1-4116-5618-0
Ebook - $3.82
13 digit ISBN: 978-1-4116-5618-5
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4475-3300-9
6x9 inches, 263 pages, 10 Chapters, 24 black & white images.
Perfect binding, #60 cream interior paper, #100 full colour covers.
The paperback is available directly from the printers at Lulu.com or from Amazon.com
At the moment Lulu.com are offering 15% off print books with code READ15. Offer ends September 25th 11:59 pm ET.
Ebook formats also available from...
Kindle Amazon $3.82 Amazon Kindle
PDF Lulu.com $4.95 Lulu Press
Epub Lulu.com $5.99 Lulu Press
Nook book Barnes & Noble $5.99 Barnes & Noble
Kobo $4.99 Kobo
USA paperback orders are printed and despatched from distributors in the USA.
Non USA orders can also be made either through Amazon.com or through Lulu.com and depending on location will be despatched from distributors in either the United Kingdom, Spain, Australia or the USA.
The author also generally holds a few copies for retail within New Zealand and can be contacted HERE if interested.
Picture thumbnail page
Map and Elevation charts of the PCT
Mileages along the PCT plus Steve Shuman's article "PCT Northbound Hiking Rates"
Link to Pacific Crest Trail water availability reports
Link to Jon King's San Jacinto weather/conditions report.
Bears 'n' Stuff
Hiking and Navigation tips
Backcountry Lightning Risk Management. John Gookin.
Various Books of Hiking and General Interest
Links to sites of hiking, outdoor and miscellaneous interest