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A Pacific Crest Trail Adventuresmiley


The story of a New Zealand firefighter’s 2650 mile journey along
the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada

Available as Paperback or Ebook

(Previously serialized on New Zealand National Radio)

Sierra Nevada Pacific Crest trail
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. smiley
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.

Front cover, George Spearing, Dances With Marmots - Pacific Crest Trail book ISBN:1411656180
Back cover, George Spearing, Dances With Marmots - Pacific Crest Trail book

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.

Mojave desert, Pacific Crest Trail Sierra Nevada, Pacific Crest Trail


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.


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,
Pasaytan 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
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.)
Hiking shorts.
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.

Paperback - $14.75
Ebook - $3.82

10 digit ISBN: 1-4116-5618-0
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 or from

Ebook formats also available from...
Kindle Amazon $3.82 Amazon Kindle
PDF $4.95 Lulu Press
Epub $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 or through 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.

Mica Lake, Pacific Crest Trail
cover, Dances with Marmots, a Pacific Crest Tail Adventure Dances With Marmots
- A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure.
George Spearing
Paperback $14.75
Download $4.95
Indian Heaven wilderness, Pacific Crest trail
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


five stars
August 13th, 2022
Reviewer: Damaris
(Posted on
A must read for fans of Bill Bryson’s Walk in the Woods. Super enjoyable and funny.

four stars
April 12th, 2022
Reviewer: Mary K
(Posted on Kobo)
Refreshing and entertaining take on long distance hiking
I have hiked the Pacific Crest Trail so wanted to read an account of a New Zealander and newbie long distance hiker. Very entertaining.
Interesting insights about the American long distance hiking scene.
A good book to read to get a flavor of what thru hiking the PCT is like.

five stars
October 20th, 2021
Reviewer: Fran Koblum
(Posted on
Loved this book . Would give for the humor alone.
A wonderful book about long distance Thu hiking . What makes this different is the humor and the a not totally self absorbed hiker. His kiwi expressions made me laugh aloud.
Good on you mate from a Canadian fan.

five stars
June 28th, 2021
Reviewer: A, Modesto CA
(Posted on
Great read about the PCT!
Funny title along with his sense of humor all along his 5 month trek from Mex border to Canada.
He meets up with some interesting folks and has a couple of totally amazing coincidences, adventures, plus gets lost (a lot), adding to his mileage!
Loved this book!

four stars
November 13th, 2020
Reviewer: Hiking for Health CA
Book, Film and App Reviews Youtube

September 2nd, 2020
Reviewer: BJ
(Posted on Book Reviews at
I enjoyed this book immensely.
George Spearing’s writing style reminds me a little of Bill Bryson- it might stem from time spent in British countries but it is endearing. So are some of his short quip-like poems in the book.
The book kicks off by how he was influenced to go out and hike… by a book. Citing a book by Stephen Pern and the Continental Divide Trail- I’ve already added it to my extensive reading list.
“He wasn’t reading about it, he’d done it!”
And just like that I’ve been called out by a book...

five stars
June 6th, 2020
Reviewer: Alex Molina
(Posted on
Great book! I can't wait to do this hike when I retire from the Marine Corps!
Very informative and inspiring. There is much that can be learned and used from this book. I enjoyed every page. Must read book for those that plan to bike the Pacific Crest Trail as through hikers! Very inspiring book to read..

four stars
December 8th, 2019
Reviewer: Luis R. Blanchard
(Posted on, Paperback)
Funny informed read
A telling story of the PCT

five stars
September 30th, 2019
Reviewer: Tom M
(Posted on, Paperback)
A very enjoyable and entertaining book.

five stars
April 26th, 2019
Reviewer: William Donovan
(Posted on, Kindle)
Adventure without pain.
Almost as good as being on the trail and will inspire you to get out into nature. Animals encountered, human and other, very well described.

five stars
March 14th, 2019
Reviewer: Kelly Long
(Posted on
I loved this book. Spearing has a great sense of humor (plus being a Kiwi) so there were plenty of LOL moments. The bits of history were interesting and the people he met along the way were great.

four stars
March 9th, 2019
Reviewer: Chrisl
(Posted on
Very enjoyable. Appreciated how George told his travel story. Am left wondering if it was a neighbor's dog that stole my gloves. Perhaps, instead, it was one of the marmots with which I share my rocky hillside.

five stars
February 19th, 2019
Reviewer: John Stansfield
Very well written.
I very much enjoyed the author's humility, humor and Kiwi English. A bit better than most trail journals. Worth a read.

four stars
February 14th, 2019
Reviewer: Meredith Reece
(Posted on
I really enjoyed this book.
Although it is a bit dated - it's still a nice account of a New Zealanders journey on the trail. It was nice to have some comparisons and differences about US & NZ trails. I really enjoy the 'Kiwi' language and terms he uses. I would highly recommend it for anyone looking for a NZer's adventures of traveling/tramping story.

four stars
December 14th, 2018
Reviewer: GopherRancher
(Posted on, Kindle)
Great read!
He seems to have done a great job chronicling each waypoint of the trip. He writes with a great sense of humor and wit. And, no real complaints regarding the arduous task of the long hike. Great job!

five stars
September 12th, 2018
Reviewer: Yvonne Benting
(Posted on
I really enjoyed reading about George’s experiences walking the PCT, he has a writing style that makes for easy reading. I loved his quirky Kiwi humour often laughing out loud - especially at the wee poems.

five stars
July 26th, 2018
Reviewer: Aussie Hiker
(Posted on Kindle)
Entertaining read
A hiking book with humour! Being Australian it is so much easier comprehending the humour of a fellow "down underer" I found this book to be quite a pleasure to read with laugh out loud moments while still being a comprehensive hiking story. The only down side I find with a lot of these "telling my hiking story" books is that the last 1/3 of the trail tends to take up only the last 10% of the book...almost like the author gets bored and just wants to finish the book. All on all it is worthy of 4.5 stars so I rounded it up to 5.

four stars
July 17th, 2018
Reviewer: Megan Hart
(Posted on
A humorous and honest view of the trials and tribulations of the Pacific Crest Trail. George chronicles the high and low points of long distance and thru hiking. You get to love these characters of the trail and end up hoping they all complete their strenuous journey. Worth the read.

five stars
January 11th, 2018
Reviewer: Raul
(Posted on, Kindle)
He's a Foreigner, Ain't He?
In preparing for my own Pacific Crest Trail trip I have been reading several of these kinds of books. I liked this one very much. George has a good sense of humor and a generous spirit. It's interesting to see America through an outsider's eyes. It seems the good and bad of our country stand out in stark contrast. In the end I have no complaints about this book. I would only tell the author, "Dude, your pack was too heavy!"

five stars
December 3rd, 2017
Reviewer: William Sumneron
(Posted on, Kindle)
Very entertaining! I would recommend to anyone who loves the outdoors. Very well written by an author with great insight and wit. Probably the best book about the PCT I've read to date.

five stars
August 18th, 2017
Reviewer: Bert Pullenon
(Posted on, Kindle)
Great read
George tells a great story and has a wonderful sense of humour which had me laughing out loud with at times having to wipe away tears from my laughter. I admire his journey, mostly due to the fact that he chose to hike alone for most of the PCT. I recommend this book highly.

four stars
March 30, 2017
Reviewer: Matthew Cornwallon
(Posted on, Kindle)
Very Enjoyable Adventure with a Dash of Humor
This was an enjoyable journey from the Mexico/American border all the way north to the American/Canadian border. The book was well-written, had dashes of humor, and, at times, felt as though I was with him on the journey. It was a good book and I suggest it for anyone that enjoys hiking and the outdoors. Cheers!

five stars
March 21, 2017
Reviewer: Lauren
(Posted on
Everything about this book was amazing. Laugh out loud funny all the way through - sometimes I had to put it down for 15 minutes, because I was laughing so hard. Also so refreshing to hear the perspective of an outsider looking at America with his head on straight.

March 2, 2017
Reviewer: Austin Campbell
(Posted on blog)
Dances with Marmots depicts a PCT thru-hike through the eyes of New Zealander George Spearing. Although he had never done any hiking or backpacking George decided to take 5 months off from his job as a firefighter to hike from Mexico to Canada. An easy read filled with humor and insights from the trail, as one review said, "you will not regret reading this book."

five stars
Jan 31, 2017
Reviewer: Ronald G. Whittaker
(Posted on, Kindle)
Worth buying twice!
This is my second purchase of "Dances with Marmots." The first time I got it off the author's website via Somehow I lost that first e-copy through computer external hard drive problems. It is worth buying a second time. I have corresponded by email with George and his Kiwi humor comes through just as it does in this book. George brings a New Zealand viewpoint to the hiking of the Pacific Crest Trail and there are many of his observations at which I laughed until I cried. A recommended read.

four stars
Dec 10, 2016
Reviewer: Robert Blankon
(Posted on
George Spearing has quite a knack for writing. You will not regret reading this book.
This is a wonderful read! George encounters many situations of levity during his quest. He also portrays a sense of nostalgia that isn't seen by many authors that I have read. His book is very entertaining and I am very glad I read this book. It is a pretty fast read and I think most people interested in hiking or being outdoors would find many pieces of information useful.

five stars
May 20, 2016
Reviewer: Gam870
(Posted on Amazon Kindle)
Nice read.
Enjoyed this book. Author made it fun. A well written hiking journal, that invited the reader in, and along for the journey.

five stars
May 2, 2016
Reviewer: Sheila McEntireon
(Posted on, paperback)
Humor and Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail.
I really am enjoying reading this book. I bought it for my son who is preparing to do the Pacific Crest Trail, but I am reading it to get an idea of what he will be doing. The author gives a lot of information but with humor that comes from his personal experiences on the trail. The book arrived in a timely manner and in great shape.

five stars
March 7, 2016
Reviewer: Michael Chance
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Enjoyed it.
Kiwi humor on the Pacific Crest Trail with a dash of quirky history tied to various spots on the trail.
A worthy read.

December 9, 2015
Reviewer: David_Brittney Cannamore
(Posted on
There’s a fantastic book called “Dances With Marmots” about a fellow from New Zealand hikes the entirety of the PCT. Thoughtful, insightful, and hilarious! Highly recommend it.

four stars
December 8, 2015
Reviewer: Marie E Savanoon
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Very enjoyable read especially from the perspective of someone from another country. From his knowledge of historical details about the trail, the author also has a wonderful sense of humor. Having followed my own son's thru-hike and his struggles and triumphs on this trail, I was drawn back into the whole adventure again. I highly recommend this book.

five stars
October 25, 2015
Reviewer: iain mclennon
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Spearing portrays what it was like for him.
Dances With Marmots is a title that accurately reflects the read between the covers. Spearing portrays what it was like for him, a New Zealander, to hike the PCT, and it reveals not only the trials and tribulations of the long-distance hike, but the insights of one from another country doing it. This is a refreshing, entertaining, inspiring read that makes one feel they are beside him every step of the way.

five stars
September 12, 2015
Reviewer: Kent Hutchins
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
One of the best PCT books around - well worth your time and money.
So good to read a PCT tale from a Kiwi perspective - I may be slightly biased but this is now one of my favourite PCT books, and I've read plenty of 'em. Only problem is, I now really really want to go and do it myself. How to tell the wife?

five stars
June 8, 2015
Reviewer: Lesley Fraseron
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
One of the best stories about long distance solo hiking told with a good balance of factual information and light self-depreciating humour.

five stars
June 2, 2015
Reviewer: Sonya Sukalski
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Engaging, funny, and honest.
I've read many books about hiking the PCT, but none quite as much fun as this one. If you only read one book, I would say read this one.

four stars
May 29, 2015
Reviewer: Waldo 1812
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
The book moves at a good pace.
A very enjoyable read. Well written with humor and insights on the US and the West. Not as descriptive of the trails, but that gets boring - the book moves at a good pace - just like the hiker himself!

five stars
May 16, 2015
Reviewer: toxmedic185
(Posted on itunes)
Great read
This was a fun and interesting read that is full of the realities of life on the trail. I wish more people could be this honest after such a long trip in the back country. Well done!

five stars
April 26, 2015
Reviewer: Barbara L. Costelloon
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Loved this story.
This is a story by a "kiwi", a New Zealander who walked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada with a sense of humor and a purpose. I really felt the experience of climbing the passes in the Mountains, hiking through deserts and forests, rain, snow heat and cold. This is a good story told by a man who doesn't take himself too seriously, but set out to accomplish a journey and did it.
A good yarn.

five stars
January 31, 2015
Reviewer: R. Pattay (Florida)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
I'm sorry I'm finished. Really enjoyed this book Great sense of humor. I felt like I was there. I reccomend it highly.

five stars
January 22, 2015
Reviewer: Jodi C.
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Good read.
A good read about hiking the PCT. I laughed quite a bit and enjoyed his journey. I highly suggest reading.

five stars
December 23, 2014
Reviewer: L. Eisley (northern Calif.)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
I have hiked some of the Pacific Crest Trail and would love to do it one more time. George has a way of making you feel the hike in all its glorious beauty, the pain and the problems that go along with long distance hiking. He was strong and really prepared for anything the trail had to throw at him. Good job.

four stars
October 12, 2014
Reviewer: debbielacovicon
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
PCT comfortably.
George Spearing allows the reader to embark on the Pacific Crest Trail without leaving the creature comforts of their own sofa. He had me laughing aloud and admiring his grit and strength.
I thoroughly enjoyed his law of female beauty and cougarish, stealthy style. And he had me wondering about only 2 pairs of underpants; is that healthy?

five stars
September 20, 2014
Reviewer: Lisa T (Dublin, VA United States)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Thumbs Up.
I am currently reading my 5th book on the PCT, this book was the second one I read. George Spearing was entertaining and informative at the same time.
I learned about the PCT through his fun way of seeing and saying things.

five stars
July 8, 2014
Reviewer: Reader
(Posted on
This book is absolutely fantastic. I would compare this book to the PCT version of Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods". Similar to Bryson's book, Spearing throws in generous amounts of humor, creative imagery, and pertinent historical facts that maintained my attention throughout the book's entirety. However, unlike Bryson, Spearing kept the history lessons brief, acknowledging his bias's, and of course actually completed the full thru-hike. Comparison's aside, this book was written casually in a fantastic sense, as if Spearing was telling the story over a beer amongst friends. I would recommend this book to anyone with a sense of adventure looking for a motivating book that recounts overcoming hardship simply to test their own will power.
I personally found this book very inspiring and a easy 5 star in it's genre.

four stars
July 7, 2014
Reviewer: Bruce A Felton (Morgantown WV, USA)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
I always like this kind of book.
This one was a little different. He didn't go in to all the nasty details of a hike like this but just told interesting bits and stories of what happened along the way.
Was interesting and would recomend it to others.

five stars
June 16, 2014
Reviewer: J. McClain (Michigan)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Great Book!! Highly recommend!
I've been reading quite a few of these long distance hiking books lately and this would be right up there on the list. The only thing i would like to see different in this book, would be miles next to kilometer distances. But that is very minor. Really liked the book and would highly recommend it.

five stars
June 1st, 2014
Reviewer: Hikingfanatic (Lehi, Utah)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Well written read.
Hard to put down. Very engaging writing style and as fun as it was informative. Loved it.

five stars
May 12, 2014
Reviewer: S. Dalrymple (Southern California)
Best on PCT.
I have read a multitude of books on the PCT. I really enjoyed most of them I am too old and out of shape to go myself. I really wish I had thought of it when I was younger and could have done it.
This book is just wonderful. It is the best of all the books I have read about the PCT. The author is very humorous and writes in an easy style. Person who complained about cosmetic grammar errors should pay more attention to content. I laughed throughout the entire book while learning the details of the incredibly difficult trail. He went straight through even the snowy Sierra through the ice and snow. He went from Mexico to Canada in one straight push. I highly recommend this book

May 9, 2014
Reviewer: Metro to Mountain, book review
(Posted on
Lately, I have been reading long distance hiking book narratives. I guess I am becoming a bit of an armchair long distance hiker. Over the last couple of weeks I read Skywalker's accounts of his Appalachian Trail and then Pacific Crest Trail hikes. I enjoyed the overall flavor of the books and so then chose Dances with Marmots - mainly because of the title.
Dances with Marmots is the journey of a New Zealander on the Pacific Crest Trail. George Spearing worked as a fireman in New Zealand. He wasn't really a hiker, but decided to take leave from work,
go to America, and hike the Pacific Crest Trail. His story is of the trail, the hike, and America.
George had to learn about America, gear, how to hike, how to acclimate to the weather, and the trail. It was a fun, humorous story. So for a few notes ...
George has a great sense of humor (or he knows a really good joke writer) and he uses the witticisms to make fun of hikers, residents, animals, America, and himself. He is not afraid to poke fun at anything.
He thought there would be more hikers on the trail.
Other authors I have read, complained about the heat of the desert and the lack of water. George really didn't complain much at all.
He really didn't complain about the snow or the lava rocks, either. Maybe, the trail is not quite as bad as other authors made me believe! Well, or either it was just a Brit sandbagging the difficulty.
The book is filled with references to American history and movies (Westerns). I guess he was really writing for a British audience. Before the hike he had never seen a rattlesnake, hummingbirds, bears (in the wild), mountain lions, marmots, or a cowboy. He was amazed by all!
As in all trail books, he met and walked with some characters.
He carried a huge pack. Whereas it is not uncommon for an ultralight hiker to carry 10 pounds, George carried 65 pounds regularly. On long stretches of trail without water he claimed his pack weighed closer to 100 pounds.
He started the hike with knee pains. I am sure the weight of the pack did not help, but by carrying the extra weight, he had the gear to stay warm and dry in most conditions.
I also thought it was odd that he did not use trekking poles (hiking sticks) especially with his tender knees. When he saw a hiker using sticks, he thought they were skiing poles (or he was just trying to be funny). But, George learned how to hike on the trail. He did an amazing job and really did not complain.
It was also comforting that he was on the trail to hike, nothing more or less. Many other books tend to emphasize meeting the needs of the hikers' lost comforts and desires of their real life. Oh, he was always ready for a cold drink, but it was not life or death.
Oddly enough, George really didn't claim to have a trail name. The Gimp (a hiker) always greeted George with, "foreigner, ain't yuh" - but George never used a trail name.
George was definitely appreciative of the hospitality and kindness strangers showed to him along the trail.
I purchased and read the Kindle edition.
Dances with Marmots is a fun book on the Pacific Crest Trail. If you have read any other books on the PCT, this one will be a little different. Thanks, George.

five stars
March 7, 2014
Reviewer: Nicole Yokie
(Posted on, paperback)
It's a laugh out loud read.
When a co-worker recommended this book, I thought a travel book has to be a dry read. Not this one. Makes you want to strap on your hiking boots and head west!

five stars
January 21, 2014
Reviewer: Rivergirl
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Loved this book.
I felt like I was on the trail with him. Loved his mood. It made me feel good that our country was kind and generous. If he writes another book would love to read it. I'm originally from California so I was familiar with some of the areas. I chose the book because of the reviews I read and it sounded like I would enjoy it and I did. I would recommend to Anyone who enjoys humor and hiking.

five stars
December 6, 2013
Reviewer: jarhead70 (PA United States)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
This is one of those through-hike books which doesn't focus solely on the author, but gives a 360 degree panoramic view of his journey. This is what this type of genre should be, IMHO.
He's engaging, witty, and insightful. Thanks for the ride!

five stars
November 29, 2013
Reviewer: The_Traveler "6string" (Damascus, MD)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
So you want to thru-hike the PCT huh? Tells it like it is...with great humor too!
I purchased this book primarily for more insight about hiking about the PCT - I could not put the book down....His humor adds a nice touch to a well written book.
Highly recommended.

five stars
September 10, 2013
(Posted Barnes & Noble, Nook Book)
Like Being There
I am preparing for my solo thru-hike of the PCT and have read more travelogues on the subject than I care to mention. Of the multitude I have read this Kiwi does a better job of describing the thru-hikers experience than any of the Yanks I have read by far. Refreshingly honest without feeling like the author's shrink was along stride for stride (though the "'re the one who keeps showing me dirty pictures." was one of the many jokes and quips that made me chuckle and laugh out loud. A sense of humor should be hiking's 11th Essential, and it would meet ultra-lite weight requirements).
So if you are considering hiking the PCT or just want a very good sense of what it's like, I cannot recommend this book enough. Happy trails.

five stars
August 19, 2013
Reviewer: Terri Bosman
(Posted on, paperback)
Couldn't put it down.
I ordered this book for my adventurous son but I was intrigued by the title so I read it first...loved the humorous author...great read!

five stars
July 1, 2013
Reviewer: kroozlady
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Bright and Cheerful accounting.
George is from New Zealand and leaves his job as a firefighter, temporarily, to hike the PCT. He hikes the trail and faces the normal adversities of weather, resupply, physical exhaustion and scary experiences. However he does so with a wonderful sense of humor and great optimism. He is curious about the American culture and the history of each area he hikes through. He passes on the bits of history he learns about some of the notable spots along the PCT. He made the most of his American hiking experience and he is the type of visitor you would hope to see again.
He seems a humorous man, yet gentle and mannerly while at the same time being rough and rugged as needed.
I recommend this book, his point of view will make you smile.

five stars
May 25, 2013
Reviewer: Charles G Martin
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Great Read.
Of all the hiking and adventure books this is on top of the heap. A good perspective of the USA. A not to be missed read.

five stars
March 22, 2013
Reviewer: Supahorsenut (Wyoming)
(Posted on, Kindle edition)
Hiking the PCT.
Really great read. The author is very informative about the hike. He has a funny sense of humor that really keeps you laughing. I would recommend this book.

five stars
March 4, 2013
Reviewer: Jason Salis
(Posted on, ebook)
I read this book a year ago and I am redownloading it today, so I can read it again. While that says a lot about how great this book is, it doesn't nearly go far enough. This book inspired me to get my family of seven out backpacking. My oldest child is autistic and my youngest is only 5, but I was so inspired by this book that I managed to log over 300 miles in the past year, many of those miles with children that had no previous backpacking experience. This book will have you laughing until your sides hurt and keep you turning pages well into the night.
George is a larger than life character and seems like a heck of a nice guy. My only regret is that I bought the PDF version of this book. While the PDF version was ok, there have been times that I would have liked to reread the book when I didn't have access to my computer or tablet. After reading it I would say it is worth the extra money for the paperback. Enjoy!

four stars
February 19, 2013
Reviewer: Haf
(Posted on, paperback)
Hiking the PCT.
Very good story of hiking the total PCT from start to finish. The trials, tribulations, and wonder moments all detailed. Loved the parts where other hikers became part of the experience as well as the lone parts. Felt like I had done it myself, and the disappointment of the end.

five stars
February 19, 2013
Reviewer: Jennifer Jo Haggerty
(Posted on, Kindle Edition)
Fun and Inspiring.
Mr. Spearing's humor and spirit exemplify the personality of a true hiker and adventurer. His stories of being on the trail and descriptions of people he met have given me more reason and more of a desire to thru-hike the PCT! I saw a reviewer pick apart his book because of grammatical errors and paragraph structure, as well as what the reviewer saw as mundane portions of the book. This was not a fictional book written by a "novelist". It was written by a man who made an incredible journey and wanted to share his experience with others. Some get it, some don't! As a day hiker who lives in the foothills of the Northern Cascades and has hiked a small portion of the PCT, I got it and thoroughly enjoyed it!

five stars
January 18, 2013
Reviewer: W. Neal "AZ Wally" (Phoenix AZ USA)
(Posted on Kindle edition)
A Great Read - Best of my many on long hiking.
Lots of humor plus solid insight for PCT guidance. I really enjoyed this. Specific enough to follow on a map and calendar. George was slow but fairly steady and he made it.

four stars
Posted Barnes & Noble, December 13, 2012
Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Just the right length, with plenty of clean humor... kept me interested the entire book. Fun to hear his take on Americans and our culture.

four stars
November 21, 2012
Reviewer: Jan
(Posted on Goodreads)
A long-distance thru-hike on the PCT or AT is on my bucket list, so I've been reading as many stories as I can find about both. Dances With Marmots was very entertaining to read (I love British humor) and only succeeded in making me more motivated to go hiking/backpacking!

five stars
October 22, 2012
Reviewer: Guppy
(Posted on Amazon Kindle Edition)
Great read for enthusiasts.
Having hiked the Appalachian Trail, the length of New Zealand and various other places - and being from New Zealand - there was an instant connection with this book. If you want a fluffy book full of life-changing insights don't read this - but if you want a book about what it's really like to hike long distance for a 'real' person, then read on.
Thanks for the book George.

five stars
October 6, 2012
Reviewer: Lori Goodman
(Posted on Amazon)
Thoroughly Enjoyed!
Not many books make me laugh out loud. This was one of them. Very nice read, had a good time along the journey. I lent the book to a friend and she liked it so much I gave it to her, bought another for my library and she bought another one for her Dad.

five stars
July 30, 2012
Reviewer: Gordon (Grand Rapids, MI)
(Posted on Amazon Kindle edition)
A very enjoyable read. I got this a few years ago when he was giving it away as a PDF and have reread it several times. Humorous and an easy read. He comes from a slightly different perspective as an Aussie than most US hikers would have.

four stars
July 14, 2012
Reviewer: Dean (Washington State)
(Posted on Amazon Kindle)
An entertaining thru hiking book. Although the author is more of a loner then other thru hiking authors, he more then makes up for the lack of interesting people that you meet on the trail usually. Great descriptions of the journey and humorous moments along the way. I really enjoyed his writing style.

four stars
May 17, 2012
Reviewer: Bev Siddon
(Posted on
I love reading books about other people's adventures. Having recently completed a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail which extends from Georgia to Maine, Dances With Marmots showed up on a recommended reading list. So, I had to read this one too. Spearing, a New Zealander, has a wicked sense of humor and a love of western heroes. He hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from the California-Mexico border to the Washington-Canada border. His encounters with bears, marmots, rattlesnakes, deer and other wild creatures (read people) are met with fear and humor. I found myself laughing out loud from time to time. Certainly not "literature" but definitely a good read.

five stars
March 24, 2012
Reviewer: HJG
(Posted on Amazon)
I love this book!
This book rekindled my love of backpacking. It motivated me to purchase new backpacking equipment and hit the trails again. I love George's sense of humor; I had several laugh out loud moments while reading this book. George is the kind of guy you want to sit down and have a beer with while allowing him to entertain you. I first read the book when it was available for free online. Since then I have purchased the book and read it several times. Every time I loan this book to a friend I tell them they have to be sure and give it back once they've read it.

five stars
February 11, 2012
Reviewer: JuniperTrekker
(Posted on
Great Read
Really enjoyed this book. Anyone planning a PCT hike would appreciate this book. Interesting to read the thoughts/perspective of someone outside the USA as they hike through this diverse trail.

five stars
January 26, 2012
Reviewer: Betty Galean "nightreader" (Smithers, BC)
(Posted on Amazon customer reviews)
Entertaining, funny, and informative. Loved it!
George Spearing gets a sudden urge to do a long hike. Now, George lives in New Zealand, one would think he might elect to hike the two islands of New Zealand from bottom to top, but no. George has decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the border of Mexico to Canada, a distance of 4,280 km, or 2,659 miles in five months. This is his story of preparation, research, and finally his long trek over mountains through deserts, marshes, rattlesnake country and bear country, not to mention the ticks toward the latter part of his journey.
He has plotted well, arranged for food and other necessities sent on to small town post offices along his route to cut down on weight in his pack. Still it often gets up to 100 lb. at times. He does this trip as a solitary hiker, but often meets up with other hikers, some several times en route. A great demonstration of how small the world is, he also meets up with the very man he contacted through a friend for advice on the trip when still in New Zealand!
This book is slightly reminiscent of Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods" as he hiked the Appalachian trail through the eastern states. George will be doing the western states. I found the book very informative, humourous, and often giving historic trivia about various stops along the way. George has a tendency to talk to himself either out loud or in his head. On meeting his first group of marmots, he had quite a conversation with them, and enjoyed their company. He encountered marmots several times and found them to be very entertaining. Even his run-ins with bears are written with fear yet humour. Not being at all acquainted with bears, I can sympathize with him when crashing around the tent makes him wonder if he is going to become an appetizer. This is a very readable and entertaining book, includes photos.

four stars
June 8, 2010
Reviewer: Belle Starr (California)
(Posted on
A Different Take
"Dances With Marmots" is essentially a diary of a New Zealander's hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, starting in Campo CA (on the Mexican border) and ending when he reached Canada.
The nice thing about this book is even if you are not a hiker, the author being a New Zealander adds facets of interest to the book because he is new to hiking and new to the United States.
His comments about Americans and their land are very amusing.
I initially caught sight of this book online, where the first two chapters were published, and they mentioned Warner Springs, CA. I live near there, and had to laugh out loud at an incident he told of an encounter with a local at a little country bar, the Log Cabin. I bought the book at Amazon.
Spearling's humor carried through in the book, I enjoyed it and passed it on to family members who enjoy hiking and a good story too.

five stars
February 3, 2010
Reviewer: J.Barton "Jesselyn" (Richmond, VA)
(Posted on
I dream of long-distance hiking, but for now must just live it through books rather than real experience. I had read several books on thru hiking the AT and wanted to learn more about the PCT. Great book and author has a good sense of humor and adventure.

December 17, 2009
Reviewer: Sgt.Rock
(Posted on Book Reviews, Hiking HQ)
Here is a question: What do you do if you are a career firefighter from New Zealand and are looking for something to do out of the ordinary?
For George Spearing the answer was obvious: Go for a walk-about on the Pacific Crest Trail. I hope I am not mixing up cultures from down-under. Is it only Australians that go on a walk-about? Anyway...
Not being very familiar at all with the PCT, this was my first real introduction to what a PCT thru-hike could be like, and for that, George is the perfect guide because of his sense of humor and his ability to be the outsider looking in on some aspects of American culture at the same time. George takes you from how he made the decision to choose the PCT over the AT and the CDT (hint: he knows someone that lives near the start), through the perils of dealing with American Immigration, and then right into the adventures of his hike.
Along the way I got the feeling I wouldn't mind hiking around George - he seems like he would be a good guy to be on the trail with, well except for one thing: he likes to hike alone. I can't say that I blame him though.
I have read this book twice now and still laugh out loud at times while reading it. I still can't keep a straight face in restaurants when a waitress will ask "Soup or salad?". You will have to read the book to get that one.

five stars
August 30, 2009
Reviewer: Lohkom (Seoul, Sth Korea)
(Posted on
Entertaining, interesting, humorous. The journal of a Kiwi who took about five months to walk the Pacific Crest Trailing through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges, from the border of Mexico all the way across the Canadian border. 4,300 kilometers or about 2,650 miles. Wry observations, tales of running into rattle snakes, bears, some nice and friendly Americans, and some not so nice Americans.

five stars
July 30, 2009
Reviewer: Josiah
(Posted on
I loved it, very entertaining thoughts on america and its citizens along with great commentary about the trip. I cannot wait to hike the pc for myself.

five stars
May 4, 2009
Reviewer: Nick
(Posted on
There's something charming about the Kiwi world view. Spearing recounts his south-north trek on the PCT with much humour and warmth. Inspiring tale for those that aspire to long-distance hiking...

five stars
March 3, 2009
Reviewer: Brian
(Posted on
Fun tale from George, the New Zealander who hikes the west coast of the US along the 2,650 mile Pacific Crest Trail. Great characters and adventures galore. A fun read.

four stars
Feb 27, 2009
Reviewer: S. mcmullan "smcm" (USA)
(Posted on
Really enjoyable.
This is a funny and enjoyable read with lots of facts and history. I loved that George kept meeting up with the same other long distance hikers throughout his trip, his nicknames for them (and himself!) and his relaxed and humble way of describing an incredibly physically demanding trek.
Good for you George - you've inspired me! Buy this for a vacation read - you won't be disappointed.

five stars
Aug 26, 2008
Reviewer: Ian Ruxton
(Posted on
Excellent work.
The five months which George Spearing spent on the Pacific Crest Trail (of which I had never heard) are related in great detail: the people and animals (including bears and snakes) he met, and the experiences he had. Quite fascinating, really, and it took some guts to do it and keep on to the end, all the way from Mexico to Canada. There are some excellent photographs too, and it opens up a side of the United States which I didn't really know about until now.

five stars
July 13, 2008
Reviewer: Brad (Oregon)
(Posted on
A Worthy Book
A five star (out of 5) book. I had many laughs because of his humor and writing style.
There are many anecdotes about his experience and some history about the area he travels through and also comments about life in general. I read the book completely through in one sitting. It was that good.

five stars
March 24th, 2008
(Posted on
Reviewer: John A. Evans
This was a great read.
I love reading trail journals and this book was no exception.

February 13, 2008
(Review from Norm Goldman 'Book Reviews'
Reviewer: Jessica Roberts
Fancy packing up and hiking on a five month solo journey from Mexico to Canada? This is exactly what George Spearing did and what a wonderful tale he has to tell!
As soon as I began this book I was simply hooked. From the first page to the last, this is a totally enjoyable hiking memoir packed with humour and much inspiration.
We follow George on his journey and experience all the highs and lows along the way. From a bear wandering around his tent at four in the morning (“If there are any adrenalin freaks reading this, then this is what you’ve got to do - try lying on the ground about 2m away from a 250kg bear that is roaring its bloody head off - trust me, you will not get a bigger buzz!”) to his encounter with a deer, this is certainly a light-hearted but entrancing read which made me laugh so many times.
We also learn of his encounters with other hikers along the trail (Ziggy, The Gimp, Mountain Goat Vern) and read about a few mishaps too (“This was definitely uncool, and I was glad that only the Sierras and myself were witness to my close-up inspection of their snowy surface.”)
I literally found it impossible not to laugh from the first chapter to the last. George writes about his time on the Pacific Crest Trail in an easy-to-read style with humour in almost every sentence. I have never read a more funny, gripping trail book as this. Even if you don’t intend to walk the PCT, this book is still fun and totally absorbing.
The only part that did disappoint me a little was the fact there were simply not enough photographs included. It would have been better to see a little more of what George saw during his time hiking but having said this, I was impressed with photos of the hot Mojave desert, the snowy Sierra mountains and of course the absolutely cute snap of a Marmot awaiting his lunch.
Though George did suffer some pretty hairy moments with bears he lives to tell the tale of traversing 40 Wilderness areas, 24 National Forests, 7 National Parks, 3 State Parks, 19 major canyons and climbing 57 mountain passes.
Also included at the back of this brilliant book is a list of equipment George carried ranging from his one man tent, crampons (oh the misfortune those caused!) Swiss Army Knife and his trusty Snake Bite Kit amongst many, many more tackle that came in very useful during his hike.
A wonderful, hilarious book to treasure. One of the best of its kind.

five stars
February 10th, 2008
(Posted on
Reviewer: Ziggy (Washington DC)
You Can't Touch This!
A hilarious romp through the wilds of North America. Anyone thinking of hiking the PCT should definitely buy this book!

five stars
August 15, 2007
(Posted on Amazon)
Reviewer: Jeffery A. Green
Inspirational Journey.
Now I want to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. The story is well told, a real page turner. Well written, very interesting, and an inspiration for getting myself on a trail.

August 6, 2007
(Posted on
Reviewer: Eric Blehm. Author of “The Last Season”
You know you've just read a good book when the first thing you do after you’re done is to check if there are any more books by the same Author.... I REALLY enjoyed George’s book for various reasons including the “real backpacker” aspect mentioned by others on this thread while comparing “Dances” with A Walk In The Woods... I enjoyed, and was entertained by Bryson’s book and thought the structure and pacing of the story (alternating history of the AT with his own “adventures” on the trail) was about perfect. This is not to take away from Spearing’s abilities as a writer, but only to boost them up. I laughed out loud so many times, I lost count, and thought the PCT historical data was also weaved in seamlessly. I have Kiwi friends, and have always appreciated their carefree nature, and quick wit. Spearing did a masterful job of both interpreting the American aspects of the story, and conveying the spirit of his country. Please George go on some other trip and write about it. You have fans here in the U.S. of A. waiting with anticipation.

five stars
January 29, 2007
(Posted on SummitPost Gear)
Reviewer: Tarol (Rancho Cucamonga, Ca)
This book tells the true story of a New Zealander who thru-hikes the PCT. In it the author gives details about the different scenery and sights he sees, the characters he meets along his journey, and his many mis-adventures on this 2600+ mile (4300 km) trek along the backbone of the Pacific Crest.
Very funny read. I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it and thus sped right through it. George has a wonderful sense of humor, especially when writing about the colorful characters he meets. He had me laughing out loud during many parts of this book! Anyway, I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it to any outdoor enthusiast.

five stars
January 22, 2007
(Posted on
Reviewer: sgt. pepper "bard1949" (San Diego, CA)
A Must For Any PCT Dreamer.
My favorite aspect of this book is how the reader sees America (and the PCT) through the eyes of a humorous New Zealander.
George’s writing is a pleasure to read. I especially enjoyed the passage where he describes exactly why he hiked the PCT. He had obviously done a lot of thinking over the many miles he walked and had come up with a beautiful way to express the exact reasons as to why he would walk 20+ miles a day for five months.
The only aspect of the book I didn’t like was that, towards the end, Spearing seems to be a bit tired of writing a book and resigns to simply listing the names of the wilderness areas he visits. This is in stark contrast to the excited, witty and funny tone taken earlier in the book. Regardless of this, I thoroughly enjoyed Spearing’s book. If you are at all interested in hiking the PCT, I'm sure you will like his book too.

five stars
October 13, 2006
(Posted on
Reviewer: Old Goat (CA)
Buy this book! You’ll be happy you did.
I shot right through the book and finished it off in short order. The reason, of course, was that I found it to be very interesting, humorous to the point of frequent guffaws and snickers, and inspirational.
I truly believe that only those with physical and mental toughness have a chance to actually complete a thru-hike in one season. Add to that the perils of heat, cold, rain, snow, lack of water, scrapes, bruises, sprains or broken bones, loneliness, missed food drops, leaking canteens, dried-up water sources, high-altitude problems, indistinct trail markings, wildlife (bears and rattlers, e.g.) and a host of other perils, and it becomes apparent that one also has to be very fortunate and resilient to get through. I believe the odds are really stacked against success, and that is why stories such as George’s are so uplifting. Add to all that, the fact that he was half a world away with very limited resupply support, and it became an incredible undertaking.
I had originally thought that perhaps the next edition should include a dictionary of terms, so those of us unfamiliar with his particular way of expressing various words would be able to zero in on the meaning. In retrospect, however, I also believe that having to guess at the meaning adds to the magic, entertainment and humor of the story.
Thanks again, George, for the great read. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves the outdoors, adventure, and human triumph.

five stars
August 29, 2006
(Posted on
Reviewer: Wayne Gustafson (Ventura, Ca)
Along the Bill Bryson style.
A wonderful read with great account and descriptions, accented by a bit of humor throughout.
You won’t be disappointed with this one!

five stars
August 22, 2006
(Posted on
Reviewer: S. Svien (King County, Wa)
I was happy to see it printed!
A couple years ago, when googling PCT stuff, I ran into the orginal version that was online. I was happy in this past year to see that George had gone to the next level, and did the book. A good read, full of why some of us love to be out there!

five stars
August 16, 2006
(Posted on
Reviewer: Perry P. Perkins "" (Gervais, OR USA)
Best PCT Book I've Read,
Read this story several times before it was available in book form and was thrilled to find it had been published.
I've read dozens of books and journals on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and Dances With Marmots is by far the best!
Spearing’s gift for description and humor make this a fun read. The author has a gift for putting the reader on the trail
beside him and his anecdotes of trail buddies, town stops, and dealing with customs at both ends of the trail are a delight.
Dances With Marmots makes you want to strap on a pack and hit the trail.
A must for anyone who loves the outdoors and needs a chuckle.

August, 2006
Reviewer: John Manning, Deputy Editor, TGO Magazine, Glasgow, Scotland.
(August Issue, “The Great Outdoors Magazine”, Excerpt from Book review)
....there’s no chest beating here. George recounts his PCT odyssey with humour, self-deprecating glee and a real feel
for the camaraderie of the trail, even though he encountered only a handful of characters en route (compare that to the
hundreds I met in '04). As I read this book I imagined myself back among the forests, scaling passes, crossing rivers and
relishing George’s company and his sardonic antipodean humour along the way. Some of the tales herein will be familiar
to many - the bear encounters, the occasional “temporary displacement”, the varied battles with
the weather - but they’re all the richer for the matter-of-fact way they’re recounted.

July 31, 2006
Reviewer: Johnhens
(Posted on
Often a title can tell a lot about a book and more importantly, its author. This holds true for this book.
George hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. This book recounts his journey and the adventures he has
along the way. For those who have dreamed of doing a Long Distance Hike, particularly the PCT, I would highly recommend
this book. George “Wrongway” Spearing does a great job at taking a journey and introducing you to the characters he
encounters both on the trail and off the trail. He also does a good job at giving a little bit of history along the way without
the book turning into a historical perspective of the West Coast. Because George is from New Zealand, he has a good
perspective on international travel and how we are to visitors. While reading the book, I couldn’t help but think of
Travels With Charly, a Steinbeck classic. My favorite character was Mountaingoat Vern, a 75 yearold thruhiker.
Congratulations George on both a fine book and completing the PCT!!
What is next for you?

five stars
May 23, 2006
Reviewer: F. Walsh
(Posted on
Very cool, well written journal of his trek across America. This is a must for anyone planning to hike the Pacific Crest.

Wed Mar 29 23:09:11 2006
Reviewer: Michael Daniel
(Received by email)
I previously had gone through your website before it was abridged but I enjoyed the book so much more. The walk was a great achievement and I thank you for writing it up and allowing us to share your experiences.
The book was just as great an achievement. I have read Bill Bryson's Walk in the Woods but was a little disappointed with it. Your book was just what I wanted to read about - a good balance of observations and details about the actual walking, camping, scenery etc. I have read quite a few books about long walks and I have to say yours is the best. I suppose I sound a bit lazy, soaking up the descriptions of the hard slogs of others, but I think you have to be in a reasonably independent situation to do be able to do it and I would probably try it if I found myself there. Congratulations on a great book.
I wonder if you could put a postscript on your website about what happened afterwards. Eg: Did you ever hear from Ziggy, The Gimp and Vern? reconciliation with Sadie?, any more adventures?
Best regards and thanks,
Michael Daniel.

Fri Mar 17 08:23:11 2006
Reviewer: Teresa Cummings
(Posted on
Charmed, I am!
Reading this book was such fun! Delightful humor offsets the discomforts and inconveniences of long distance hiking, but not so much that a casual weekend hiker like myself might be tempted to walk about. I guess I’m just a fair weather hiker, and fond of my creature comforts. OK, I admit it, I’m a pansy and as such, I am deeply impressed with Mr Spearing's adventurous fortitude. Good on ya, George! (foreigner aren’tcha?)
Love his inventive turn of phrase, and wondered frequently how many of those were simply New Zealand standards that an American like myself found to be fresh and dead-on. 'Being monstered by bears' is my favorite example and one that I found applicable to many daily encounters, from rogue children to my neighbor’s overly exhuberant Rottwieler. Hope the author doesn’t mind if I borrow that from time to time.
Buy the book. You’ll have a great time.

five stars
Thu Mar 16 14:54:16 2006
Reviewer: kszwed
(Posted on
Great Book!
I stumbled across this book in passing - looking for something new after having just read a book on the Dalai Lama.
Most of the books that I browsed looked like they’d be let-downs after having just read a very inspiring story about His Holiness.
I paused to read an excerpt from Dances With Marmots and it sounded like the author had a good sense of humor. I reasoned that even if the storyline was uneventful and full of dry technical information, at least there might be some good jokes in there.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book isn't just about hiking, it is a book about adventure (mentally, physically, emotionally). I have recommended it to my family and friends and guarantee you'll be chuckling through the whole book. Very inspiring!

Sun 22 Jan 2:21 pm EST 2006
Reviewer: atrix2
(Posted on
Amazing book!
Tony said it well, after starting to read parts of this book, I am inspired to one day do this trip as well.
An amazing trip to be sure!

five stars
Tue 6 Dec 5:50 pm EST 2005
Reviewer: Tony Alsiere
(Posted on
Great great book. You will laugh, get misty eyed, learn and get inspired. George’s style is light hearted and his attitude is even better.
If you hike distance then you will love this read! Pick it up. By far the best book of its kind.
I have read a lot of them even ones from prize winning authors. George says it best.

five stars
December 5, 2005
Reviewer: M. E. Beaufoy
(Posted on
George Spearing writes candidly and with clarity on a journey/pilgrimage that obviously had a profound affect on his life.
In the days when our lives are increasingly abridged by safety legislation or by our own television fueled perceptions,
a book like Dances with Marmots can only “en-courage” us to take the first steps beyond what we think our lives are about.

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