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I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  953 ratings  ·  183 reviews
With comfortable urban lives in Houston, Texas, and career and life goals mostly accomplished, Gail D. Storey and her husband were in their fifties when they decided it was time to test themselves on a new path—a 2,663-mile path known as the Pacific Crest Trail, which stretches from Mexico to Canada.

I Promise Not to Suffer is Gail's light-hearted yet heart-felt memoir abo
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 2013 by Mountaineers Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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jv poore
I was fortunate enough to receive this via First-Reads Giveaway. I had just finished Cheryl Strayed's Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, so I was particularly thrilled to discover this book.

I enjoyed Ms. Storey's account tremendously. Barely into the book, I began to feel as if I were reading letters from a friend. Although her determination to embark on this journey baffles me, I admire it. Actually, that may be one of things I like best about her story. The bravery that she c
Jul 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
I made it to page 96 before giving up. Like "Wild", this woman seems to have issues with sex and feels the need to share that with us. I finally reached a point where I realized I really didn't like her, so didn't care whether she finished the hike or fell in a hole. If you read it, you might want to have some cheese to go with her whine. ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
I almost didn't read Cheryl Strayed's "Wild," worrying it was another "woman finds herself on the trail and overcomes adversity and takes in beautiful scenery" books. I'm so glad I read it, because it was so much more than that, it did however lull me into reading "I promise not to suffer," which is everything I worried Strayed's book would be, but even worse.
First, I didn't understand why the author hiked the trail simply because her husband wanted to. She didn't want to, but she also didn't w
Martha Rice
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool For Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail (Paperback)

This is not a book about a hike so much as it is a book about a life. Having said that, I rate a book based on whether: 1) I enjoy the writing, and 2) does it provoke me to think about new ideas, and to think in new ways? Applying this standard to Gail Donahue Storey's latest book, I had to give it five stars. The writing has that quality of both Jane Austen and Janet Evanovitch, i.e., the ability to recognize the
Lorna Rose-hahn
Oct 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
A memoir about a married couple hiking the PCT. She is not at all outdoorsy. Sounds promising, eh? Sounds right up my alley. I wanted to like this book. But I didn't like it. At all. The writing was uneven at best. The author comes across as a whiny princess. She would share intimate details of herself and her marriage, particularly her sex life, and instead of relating and feeling closer to her, I felt like a voyeur. And I wanted to read more about her transformation into an outdoorswoman, but ...more
Anne Bogel
Aug 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Some things are best experienced firsthand, but there are some adventures I would rather experience vicariously from my comfy spot on the couch, cup of tea in hand.

Thankfully, a good book can help me do just that.

I just finished Gail Storey’s memoir I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, and I’m adding through-hiking the PCT to the list of adventures I’d rather read about than experience.

This isn’t the first time a memoir has talked me out of something: Michael R
The Hook - The thrill of the hike, The Pacific Crest Trail, without all the equipment, bugs, heat, cold or animals stealing my food. More importantly, I Promise Not To Suffer is a Barbara Savage Memorial Award Winner. Larry Savage established this award in memory of his wife Barbara who was killed in a biking accident. I had read Barbara Savage’s Miles From Nowhere A Round-the-World Bicycle Adventure, an account of her 23,000 mile bike journey and am always looking for books that honor her memor ...more
Jun 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Terrible. Who goes on a six month backpacking trip to get closer to their husband? It makes about as much sense as having a baby to save a marriage. Oh, and no rain gear? Seriously?! Don't even get me started on the fact that they ran out of water purifying tablets...TWICE!

In addition, Storey did not train or prepare for such an arduous hike. At 125#, she should be able to safely carry 30-35# of gear, and she could barely manage 15-18#. It is dangerous to go into any hike ill-prepared; not only
Sandra Heinzman
Loved this book! Compared to Cheryl Strayed's Wild, I enjoyed this one more. Although I don't want to hike the PCT or the AT, I do want to do some day hikes. I love love love travel adventure books! ...more
Maureen Grigsby
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For some reason, I always enjoy a book about huge physical challenges. This could be because I have never attempted anything so massive and exciting. This was the memoir of Gail Storey, who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with her husband Porter. Although she was forced to leave the trail due to exhaustion after hiking nearly 1,000 miles, her husband Porter continued to the end. Her story of the incredible journey for both of them was extremely interesting, and I have nothing but admiration for an ...more
Julene Bair
Feb 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all who like to hike and enjoy a good love life
Recommended to Julene by: my writing group
I know this book is great, because Gail was in my writing group when she wrote it. Still, I can't wait to read it between covers. The book is funny, insightful, and full of fabulous descriptions of the PCT. We get to go along as a marriage evolves, through changes as drastic as the literal ones, from exhilarating heights to frigid lows. Ultimately what we get is a picture of long-term, committed love and how, with dedication, resourcefulness and two wide-open hearts, it can extend to everyone it ...more
Jul 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book had all the makings for a good summer read: an adventure hike across the storied Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), scenes in California and Oregon, a married couple embarking on the journey (interesting to me as most accounts are solo treks). It was even on the local bestsellers list at the Boulder bookstore. Surely I'd fall in love with this book, transported to the trail as I flipped the pages on my lunch break. Instead, I found myself exasperated.

Gail and I could never be friends in real
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
If you enjoyed Wild by Cheryl Strayed or Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, I've got another memoir to recommend: I Promise Not To Suffer: A Fool For Love Hikes The Pacific Crest Trail (Mountaineers Books, 2013) by Gail D. Storey. For many years the author was a customer at the West University Branch of Harris County Public Library where I worked. Gail, once a librarian herself, wrote two hilarious novels set in Houston featuring a fictional librarian: The Lord's Motel and God's Country Club, ...more
Jul 20, 2015 rated it did not like it
After joining our thru-hiking friends and hiking a 200 mile section of the PCT, I came home hungry for others' accounts of the PCT experience. I Promise Not To Suffer crossed my path and, although it had few positive reviews, I figured that it would at least quench a bit of my thirst for trail talk.
Gail's book is part trail experience but mostly life memoire. In the style of Wild (which I truly despised), she sorts through her past in order to make sense of her present and wonders about her post
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hiking-travel
I admire the stamina it took for the author to hike 900 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail and for her husband to complete it was incredible. The author and her husband (a doctor), in their mid fifties, pursue the husbands dream of hiking the PCT with him making most of the ultra light equipment to take on the hike. I had problems with some of the things in the book, i.e. the author washing her hair and shirt in a spring fed area of the hike where water was precious. Also, in their attempt to go u ...more
Heather Hansen
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For hikers, lovers, lovers of hikers and anyone who has gone - or endeavors to go - into the wilderness in search of themselves.

As I finished I Promise Not to Suffer, my flight into Denver began its initial descent. I was trapped in my seat and sobbing into my cocktail napkin! I exchanged glances with the woman seated next to me and told her it's the best memoir I've read in a long time; rousing, funny and touching. She wrote down the title and author--she said it sounds like a great candidate f
Tobias Mcevoy
You might not know this, but I’m legally obligated to read any and all books about the PCT. The thing is, most of them aren’t that good, and this one is no exception. First off, while I may agree with the old saying about judging a book and it’s cover ... what if the cover is so dumb that you’re embarrassed to be seen with the book on public? Fortunately it’s quarantine so I’m not leaving the house anyway. I keep reading these PCT books because I have incredibly fond memories of my own PCT throu ...more
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I would like to review this book but I cannot. Reviewing it would be like analyzing the deepest personal, intimate and philosophical center of a person. I feel as if I have spent an evening in the company of a warm friend who is gentle, generous, loving, even pure in heart but also tough, determined and realistic. I enjoyed her. I enjoyed listening to her. I understood her peaceful encounter with a mountain lion and their communication by eye contact. I understood her transformation from an urba ...more
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: journeys
File under yet another "woman hikes PCT" book that is much better than Strayed's. (See also "Girl in the Woods".) This was wonderful. I love these kinds of stories. I didn't expect to love the writing quite so much, somehow. I could see being a bit "woo-woo" and off-putting to some, but it fit with the subject matter. Highly recommend. ...more
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This memoir, I Promise Not To Suffer, tracks the 2,663 miles Storey and her husband attempt to hike – the Pacific Crest Trail – over a 6 month period. Often times the PCT tales seem like a vehicle for Storey to mostly write about her life, specifically her past transgressions and complicated relationships. She cleverly intertwines the two topics and I think she pulls it off.

“I never cared much for nature, or rather, thought it okay as long as it stayed outside.” That is how the book starts out,
Ever since I read Wild by Cheryl Strayed and enjoyed it (well, most of it), I have looked for books about people who have thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail and/or the Appalachian Trail. Every time I did a search, I Promise Not to Suffer would pop up. Now, I have a thing about titles. Once in a while, an author finds an absolutely perfect title, or (very occasionally) I will find a perfect title when I am writing, and it is like the perfect bow on top of a gift. I found this title so unappealing ...more
Frank Troy
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
As a retired college English professor who appreciates good writing, I was very pleased to discover Gail Storey’s I Promise Not to Suffer. It’s a literary gem that succeeds on multiple levels. At the physical level it gives the reader a vicarious experience of hiking 900 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. It describes—in rich, precise prose—the beauty of changing landscapes and the effort required to hike, with a heavy pack, through extremes of climate and terrain. At the psychological and spirit ...more
Cheri Hoffer
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Gail Storey

Here's a grand adventure in what it really is to be human. The stage is set. Early spring, remote southern California at the Mexico border. The characters have been cast. Highly-driven hospice-hubbie, Porter and supportive wife, Gail who wants him to herself for a change. But the script has been lost, blown away in the hot, dry desert winds. The characters set out, thinking they know one another and why they are there, taking on the mighty Pacific Crest Trail.

Their well-educated selv
Aug 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to hike with your spouse? What about doing it for six months? Just contemplating the idea blows me away. Of course, it is currently not an option for me for a multitude of reasons, but it was fun to let my mind wander that direction, ponder what that might be like and get lost in someone else's adventure.

In this book, "I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail", Gail Storey shares her experience as she sets out to hike the
Barbara Richardson
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Promises (with a spoiler...I couldn't help myself!)

Gail Storey's memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with her nature-loving husband is part trail guide and all heart. I never imagined the perils or stamina required to hike that trail. The two are in love and yet are also opposite in so many ways. Porter is so motivated, so hardwired to complete the hike, he creates all their ultra-light gear in advance. Gail, who "never much cared for nature," throws parties before they leave their well-hee
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Gail embarked on the 2,663-mile trek from Mexico to Canada not because she wanted to or loved nature (neither of which was true) but because it was her husband's dream and she seemed to live most of her life through her nearly obsessive love of her husband. Nonetheless, she managed to hike over 900 life-threatening miles, traversing the hottest deserts and highest mountains of California. She stayed open to how such a trek changes a person and a relationship. She used her heightened awareness to ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it liked it
My enjoyment of this book probably suffered from sky-high expectations. This is the first trail memoir I read after completing my own PCT thru-hike in 2012, and while I enjoyed Gail's story, I wanted to be able to relate to her and her journey in more ways than I did.

The glimpses of the author's growing strength and perseverance in the passages about hiking were the highlights of the book for me, and I wanted to see that journey continue for longer. I would have also enjoyed more of a postscript
Marian Szczepanski
May 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Harriet Wrye
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Gail is phenomenal! We met as authors through our own journeys into the back of beyond--Her book wasn't out yet and she couldn't make it to my author event in Boulder, CO because she was going to be on a Buddhist retreat--but i KNEW (and how right I was) that the arrival of her book would be a celebration. While I read Wild and was captivated, I was ultimately unsatisfied by the thinness of the introspection. Hiking the PCT with Gail and Porter is a whole other journey--Gail is very introspectiv ...more
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I'm the author of I PROMISE NOT TO SUFFER: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail, Winner of the National Outdoor Book Award, Nautilus Silver Award, Foreword/IndieFab Book of the Year, Colorado Book Award, and Barbara Savage Award from The Mountaineers Books, 2013. A non-hiker, I was out of my mind hiking the PCT with my husband, but I lived to tell the tale and we're still married!

My firs

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