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A Blistered Kind of Love: One Couple's Trial by Trail
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A Blistered Kind of Love: One Couple's Trial by Trail

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  657 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
On a 2655 mile trek through some of the most rugged and beautiful scenery in America, a young couple from the suburbs discover nature, push their limits and test their commitment to one another.
Paperback, 264 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Mountaineers Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,288)
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Oct 25, 2012 Darla rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the Ballards' perspective on the PCT experience and appreciate their sense of humor and honesty about the difficulties they encountered. I'd recommend it to anyone considering hiking the PCT, especially if you plan to hike with a significant other. What makes this a 3 out of 5 for me is the Ballards' not-that-subtle irrational fear and judgment of Mexican immigrants (illegal or otherwise). The book starts out with them afraid of encountering a boogieman-esque illegal immigrant n ...more
Feb 16, 2009 Danielle rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I'm sorry, but this book is awful. I wanted so much to like it, being one half of a hiking couple, but by the end of the book, I am sort of hoping that the happy couple gets mauled by a bear.

I enjoyed the fact that each chapter came from a his or hers point of view, but the heavy handed cliches and cutesy language was almost unbearable at times. Also unbearable was Duffy's need to educate the reader on the most basic of concepts, like how mountains are formed and very basic history. If I wanted
Sep 25, 2012 Natasha rated it really liked it
I think this book has been harshly punished for what it isn't rather than what it is. If you already know a lot about distance hiking and the PCT, you'll probably find this book boring and the narrators annoying or even condescending. It is not a story of rugged people surviving in the wilderness. It's a narrative about two relatively inexperienced hikers hiking the PCT for the first time. It's about their struggles, triumphs and revelations as they make their way from Mexico to Canada on foot f ...more
Beth Jusino
Apr 02, 2016 Beth Jusino rated it really liked it
For all of us who cringed at WILD--the "helpless female" author's reliance on others to rescue her, not to mention the sense that she brought most of her discomfort on herself through willful lack of preparation-there's A Blistered Kind of Love. This is a true travel memoir, which means that it's a story about travel, with all of its boring parts and minor adventures. While the authors both have their quirks and hangups (him: medical information; her: a weird obsession with her parents' disappro ...more
Nov 17, 2011 Michele rated it did not like it
Shelves: pct, hiking
Rob and I read this book together. I'm pretty sure if either of us had tried reading this alone, we would have given up at some point. Let's hope we approach the PCT with a little more gusto.

I appreciated the he said/she said format with each author writing every other chapter but other than that, there wasn't much to like in this book. There was a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth and too many pages spent on things that are just not huge concerns and arguably, not real- desperate, violence-p
jessicamax stein
May 22, 2008 jessicamax stein rated it liked it
Angela and Duffy Ballard are a super-straight couple who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail together and wrote a book about it. The gimmick of the book is that they alternate narrating sections. However, you could open up the book at random and know which one is writing, because she's a much better writer than he is. The book is a great read, but it's in spite of Duffy, not because of him.

Don't read this if you don't love this kind of long-walk narrative. If you do keep tabs on that genre, however, t
Aug 14, 2008 Erica rated it did not like it
Shelves: outdoors
I had somewhat high hopes for a memoir about the Pacific Crest Trail, considering it is something that Tal and I want to do someday.

Alas, rather than giving me inspiration, it put me in a funk. Instead of hearing crazy trail stories and solioquays on the beauty of nature I read about the authors relationship to each other, about crying on the trail and having basic trail/outdoor knowledge condescendingly explained to me.

I could seriously care less.

Then, to add insult to injury, they skipped the
Jennifer Myhre
Feb 22, 2014 Jennifer Myhre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story!

Great story!

I loved this book, so interesting and I loved how each wrote separate chapters, one followed by the other. I also liked how they included trail and regional history.
Jan 14, 2016 Shannon rated it did not like it
Racism, sexism, classism...Everything you could want in a hiking book. Oh and pages and pages of mansplaining, too.
Aug 07, 2013 Maria rated it did not like it
20130703 This book was awful. The main characters were entirely unsympathetic. I kept waiting to feel some resonance with their adventures, and it never happened. I read this book in advance of my own 8-day backpacking trip with my fiance, thinking that it might have some good advice -- or at least some points of interest to share, since he hiked a good portion of the PCT after college. It had neither.

To be clear, I really wanted to like this book. Written from the alternating perspectives of
May 09, 2008 Turi rated it liked it
Shelves: travel, pct
Not sure what spurred me to pick this book up - I had just dropped my parents off to do a section of the PCT in Oregon, but I honestly can't remember if I sought this book out or if I just happened to see it. Anyway, this is the story of a couple who decide to thru-hike the PCT from Mexico to Canada. They realize that it's going to be a test of their relationship, and that's part of the reason they do it. They weather it well; apparently they married not long after the trip. Neither of them had ...more
Jun 13, 2013 Brittany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: outdoors
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 06, 2011 Ahimsa rated it liked it
This book succeeds in nearly every aspect it wishes to. It's not easy to write about yourself without going into too much detail, particularly under these grueling conditions, but both authors do a great job. There is a great sense of place here; you meet many of their trail friends, see their relationship suffer from some bumps and bruises, and feel the love of the trail angels.

The real star of this book is, of course, the Pacific Crest Trail. From the dusty desert to the High Cascades, the tra
Sep 08, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Wannabe long distance hikers
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
I used my REI dividend to purchase Day & Overnight Hikes: Oregon's Pacific Crest Trail last summer, and this summer I used it to plan several trips, both day and overnight. In poking around the library for other guides, I found "Blistered Love" in the PCT section and decided to check it out, hoping it had some funny stories about the part I was going to go through.

It didn't have much reminiscing on Oregon, but after reading it I became fascinated with the Pacific Crest Trail in general. "Bli
Kristy McCaffrey
Mar 17, 2016 Kristy McCaffrey rated it really liked it
This story of a couple hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada is an engaging tale, told from both points-of-view. This adds a humorous dimension to the trials and tribulations they faced, not the least of which was their different hiking speeds. While such a trek has often broken up couples, this one ended thankfully with a wedding. And for those considering hiking the PCT, this book has great descriptions and details of the trail itself.
Oct 15, 2014 Laura rated it liked it
This was the first(of many) long hike/trail memoirs that I have read. As a somewhat novice backpacker/hiker, I enjoyed the perspectives offered by both, and felt reassured when I read their struggles, some of which paralleled mine. Since reading more of the genre, I would have to say that this is a great one for novice hikers/backpackers to read, but don't be disappointed when they skip over details more experienced hikers would find important.
Dec 28, 2007 John rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: hikers, general readers
A Blistered Kind of Love is a terrific account of one couple as they trek the Pacific Crest Trail. The narrative alternates between authors Angela and Duffy Ballard, and that sets the book apart from other hiking memoirs. Seeing the hike from both perspectives invites the reader to share the experience with greater depth than most single-perspective narratives. It's almost as if we get to alternate sharing the trail with each author, hearing ones view of the trail tale before we hang back and jo ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Gabriela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really appreciate the honest portrayal of the challenges thru-hiking can bring for a couple and I thoroughly enjoyed the altering chapters that allowed for both sides to be heard.

The book is well written, smoothly flowing narrative of the hike itself intertwined with explanation of basic backpacking terms (which might seem nonessential for those already familiar with the life on a trail but will surely be enjoyed by novice hikers or non hikers) and historical facts.

One of the best PCT memoirs
Apr 16, 2016 Catie rated it it was ok
I loved reading this because it let me reminisce about trail life. This couple experienced many of the same things my husband and I did hiking the PCT. The writing is a little loosey-goosey at times. I'm not sure I would have really enjoyed it if I hadn't done the hike and could therefore really picture what they were talking about.
Nov 21, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
While one of my all time favorite books, WILD by Cheryl Strayed, is much more introspective with more depth, this book provides a good travelogue approach with attention to details and documenting factoids of the Pacific Crest Trail. Between the two books I now have a whole itinerary of places to go, particularly in the Pacific northwest. Crater Lake is a definite on my bucket list, as well as some hiking in surrounding areas. The added bonus of this book was the candid telling of the relational ...more
Lori Wagner
Apr 07, 2014 Lori Wagner rated it really liked it
This book is certainly not for everyone, but if you love to hike, you will probably enjoy it. Feeling inspired for my hiking adventure in Yosemite this summer, but not sure I am ready for the entire PCT. Never say never! :)
Nov 20, 2010 Tammy rated it liked it
Here is yet another book I’ve added to my long list about through-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. This account is certainly one of the better and more engaging documentary of what is essentially a long, often boring, and repetitive endeavor. This story has the advantage of also exploring the dynamics between a young couple with little experience in long-distance hiking. Sometimes the story is told from his perspective, and sometimes from hers. Their differences and conflicts and how they deal wi ...more
May 12, 2011 Michelle rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011, hiking
This book is about the journey of a couple, Angela and Duffy, who decide to hike the Pacific Crest Trail together (about two thousand something miles). They are your average couple, so much so that I could easily identify with Angela and I even began to identify my boyfriend with Duffy. I am certainly not a sportsy person (although I wish I was) but I do love the outdoors so this served to further fuel my spawning interest in hiking. Reading Angela and Duffy's story was inspiring but the tone is ...more
Devon R Shimek
May 08, 2015 Devon R Shimek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could have joined them!

If you dream of the trekking adventure this book will feed you nicely. It was entertaining and a better than average read.
Molly Shubert
Mar 31, 2014 Molly Shubert rated it really liked it
Shelves: trail-stories
Reassuring to read about another couples' squabbles and compassions on the PCT. Fun back and forth POV for alternating chapters.
Aug 14, 2008 Kathy rated it really liked it
Duffy & Angela Ballard decide to hike the 2,655 Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada in four months in 2000. The back cover of the book says it all: 6.300,000 steps, 528 doses of ibuprofen, 180 Snickers bars, 36 popped blisters, 7 pairs of shoes, 4 pairs of shorts, 2 stoves and 1 titanium pot. They were brutally honest about both the physical difficulties and the relationship issues that inevitable cropped up but were able to see and communicate the humor in most of them. Duffy & An ...more
Jul 29, 2014 Lindsey rated it it was amazing
An exciting and hilarious retelling of a couple's trip on the PCT. Engaging, informative, and well written.
Jan 16, 2014 Esther rated it liked it
If you're looking for a personal narrative about hiking the PCT, go for Cheryl Strayed's book, Wild. It was more engaging. This book, while definitely interesting in parts left me wanting more accounts of actually hiking the PCT and less philosophical ruminations on the differences between men and women.
Jan 30, 2011 Mary rated it liked it
I liked this book because I like to read about true stories of things I would never do myself. I learned that as with many sports, interests and hobbies there is a percentage of people who take it to the next level. For some it gets in their blood and devote their lives to their chosen endeavor. However, this couple are not quite that way. They learned about themselves without the distractions that face us everyday. They learned that they liked a bit of solitude and maybe even preferred more of ...more
Douglas Shafer
Jan 03, 2015 Douglas Shafer rated it it was amazing
Awesome account of couples hike of Pacific Crest Trail.
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