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Dances with Marmots: A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  106 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
The account of a 4300km solo hike from Mexico to Canada through the desert areas and high Sierra Nevada of California and the Cascade ranges of Oregon and Washington.
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published November 10th 2005 by Magog Pub.
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Wild by Cheryl StrayedHikertrash by Erin     MillerDances with Marmots by George G. SpearingThe Cactus Eaters by Dan WhiteThru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart by Carrot Quinn
Hiking the PCT
3rd out of 24 books — 20 voters
Behind the Hood by Marita A. HansenThe Bone People by Keri HulmePhenomena by Susan TarrThe Whale Rider by Witi IhimaeraMister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Books By New Zealand Authors
204th out of 620 books — 294 voters

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Community Reviews

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May 11, 2010 Tammy rated it it was ok
This story of a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike is both the same and different as the dozens of other accounts I’ve read.

It is the same because the trail is the same, the difficulties are the same, and the challenges of writing about a 5-month walking adventure are the same. After all, walking is not the most naturally engaging of activities.

But this book is also different from other accounts in some interesting ways. First, author George Spearing is from New Zealand, so we see his experiences on
May 09, 2008 Turi rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, pct
After the last PCT book I read, I wanted a little different view of the long-distance hiking thing, and I certainly got it with Dances With Marmots. George Spearing is a firefighter from New Zealand who decides he needs to get away for awhile, and heads out to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This book reads very informally; like a you'd imagine a conversation with a kiwi firefighter over a beer might be transcribed. I think they have some different punctuation rules in New Zealand, too; I kept wis ...more
Bev Siddons
May 17, 2012 Bev Siddons rated it really liked it
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 othe ...more
Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
Apr 21, 2012 Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf) rated it really liked it
This book is the best and the worst. On the good side, Spearing's thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail is chronicled humorously and Spearing really seems like a nice guy throughout the entire trail. Spearing also intersperses his memoirs with historical information pertinent to each particular section of the trail. On the bad side, this book is self-published. Copy editing in this book is non-existent and at times atrocious punctuation and spelling mistakes are a huge distraction.
George Spearing – British by birth, but Kiwi by choice – is inspired by Stephen Pern’s account of his own trek on the Continental Divide trail and decides to shake up his own life by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Although he’s in decent shape as a fireman, he hasn’t done any serious trekking or backpacking before and the weight of his pack sometimes is enough to topple him. Still, his spirits remain high and hopeful and the challenge of what he has set out to do motivates him through the more ...more
Mar 27, 2014 Aoife rated it it was amazing
Shelves: hiking
Really enjoyed this account of hiking the PCT. Could have done with being twice as long with more detail on the day to day thrills and travails of long distance hiking.
Jul 05, 2013 Laura rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Threw in the towel on this one. Spearing isn't a bad writer, per se, but he definitely isn't a good one. His New Zealander's take on America was interesting and amusing at first (especially reading as he moved through the desert in the Southwestern US, where I lived for years) but the weakness of his writing finally wore me down. There are too many others books waiting on my shelves for me to continue plodding through this one.
Feb 17, 2010 Michele rated it really liked it
Shelves: pct, hiking
Spearing handles his 5-month journey on the PCT with humor and honesty, both approaches I appreciate. It's a good source to learn about the trials, joys and experiences of thru-hiking alone and he includes a list of his equipment, what worked, what he would have improved and how.
Like some other readers said, the New Zealand punctuation threw me off but not enough to ruin the book.
Rob Lever
Jul 03, 2015 Rob Lever rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Very readable and enjoyable hike along the Pacific Coast Trail.
Jennifer Meech
May 16, 2013 Jennifer Meech rated it really liked it
A really enjoyable read which made me yearn to travel. George has a great attitude and an adventurous spirit which makes it easy to ignore the fact that this is a self-published book with the odd mistake and regular fart jokes. I googled many of the spots he traversed while I was reading to see what they looked like. What an incredible journey.
Nov 21, 2012 Jen rated it really liked it
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!
Sep 06, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this guy's sense of humor. He added some interesting bits of history about the locations on the trail as well.
Dec 02, 2010 Matthew rated it liked it
Very funny, honest opinions about American's and our park system, and anything else strange to a Kiwi.
Sep 13, 2013 Robbo rated it really liked it
Good stuff. Nice to read an NZ book that is no nonsense, plain and simple.
Cheryl Devine
Nov 18, 2010 Cheryl Devine rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books :)
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