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Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail
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Thru-Hiking Will Break Your Heart: An Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,880 ratings  ·  409 reviews
Carrot Quinn fears that she's become addicted to the internet. The city makes her feel numb, and she's having trouble connecting with others. In a desperate move she breaks away from everything to walk 2,660 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. It will be her first long-distance hike.

In the desert of Southern California Carrot faces many challenges, both
Kindle Edition, 370 pages
Published April 14th 2015 by Little Brown Dog Books
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Jill "Just for the satisfaction of saying you did it" is often cited as the only conceivable reason for engaging in difficult physical endeavors. It says m…more"Just for the satisfaction of saying you did it" is often cited as the only conceivable reason for engaging in difficult physical endeavors. It says more about the speaker than the doer — the idea that external validation is what thru-hikers are seeking. Personally, I find the notion preposterous. There are far easier ways to get pats on the back from others, but very few ways to engage in the kinds of internal, emotional journeys these hikers experience. (less)

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It always feels weird to be critical of books about thru-hiking when I haven’t done it. Heck, I’m training for a half marathon and I am still *very* much in the run 2-minutes walk 1-minute stage. I can walk for days, but I’ve never tried to do with much of a pack or in much elevation (the exception being lost for 2 hours while we searched for Triangle Rock in Rocky Mountain National Park). So I fully respect what Carrot did, both in writing a book and in thru hiking the trail (which she has done ...more
Rebecca Garcia
Jul 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
this is one of those books I didn't want to end. 2600 miles with carrot was not long enough. thank goodness she has a blog and I can follow her second pct adventure there and her current hike on the cdt, 2800 miles this summer. this book is about hiking. the nitty gritty details of the day to day, mile to mile adventure. you will cheer her on each step of the way, you will feel her chill, her fatigue, her thirst and hunger. you too will be huddling with her in the shade of a small shrub in 100 d ...more
Apr 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Carrot communicates the rawness of being on the PCT in each moment. The startling beauty, the hunger, the physical pain and the incredible determination to be a thru hiker. I don't think you could get a more thorough, embodied, brazenly honest version of what it feels like to be on the PCT - whether in the moments wonder, of utter loneliness or those of deep, trail-found friendship. I tore through this book as she ran, stumbled, climbed the 2660 miles. And often, late at night as I read, I would ...more
Jul 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE. Seriously, don't bother.
I hated almost everything about this.
Let's first start with her just randomly deciding to do this with no prep or apparent reason. She's addicted to the internet, yet she takes her phone and browses the fucking internet when she's in town. Seriously? While making sure your pack isn't back-breakingly heavy IS important, it shouldn't be your #1 goal when packing for a hike that is several thousand miles. Spoiler alert: it's hers. For fuck's sake she didn't even pack pants or soap!

Next there's the
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Greg by: Bill Walker aka Skywalker
As much as I enjoy reading travel memoirs, and particularly from hikers, sometimes I can’t help but be incredulous (and a bit annoyed) at how self-centered and short-sighted some of them can be. Also, there was more raw language and description than I would have wished…I skipped over several sections to get back to the hiking part.

Nonetheless, it's a tremendous accomplishment to hike the PCT (or the AT or any trail like them), one that requires fortitude, persistence, and determination. Despite
Sam Scheidt
Mar 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I listened to this book on Audible so that might have influenced my experience compared to actually reading.

As others have commented, this book had so much potential but just fell a bit flat. I enjoyed Carrot's story but I was waiting for the book to dig in to the characters and experience of the thru-hike more, and it just never did. There was a lot of detailed descriptions of meals and towns along the PCT, and that became distractingly repetitive about halfway through the book. I
Michelle Ratliff Willett
This read like one of my high school student's creative writing story. It was so incredibly repetitive - mememe, hikehikehike, mememe, friendsfriendsfriends, mememe, foodfoodfood, mememe, sexsexsex. She tried to be a lot more clever and introspective than she actually is, unfortunately. Most of her misery came from incredibly poor decisions and contradictions - such as "nah, I don't need anything other than shorts and a tanktop for fall in the Cascades" or "I love my friends soooooo much look at ...more
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
The PCT journey itself sounds wondrous and inspiring. The writing is mediocre at best, with annoying repetition and adolescent self-indulgence. It was the desire to stick through the entire trail that motivated me to actually finish the book instead of abandon it. Worth doing research on other PCT journals instead of read this one
Jun 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not Just Another Hiking Book

Carrot Quinn takes us 2,260 miles across a varied wilderness, as she simultaneously takes us through a tremendous period of personal growth. You would think that reading about the minutia of daily trail life would be dull, but it isn't. The discerning reader will grieve the end of this book almost as strongly as Carrot grieved the end of the trail. Carrot's writing flows and the reader is swept along. I was left wanting to read more.
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kudos to Carrot for self-publishing this gem of a book. The character she portrayed and the stream of consciousness narrative really allow the reader to identify and put themselves on the trail with her. I felt her anxieties, her exhaustion, and triumphs. I've got a major girl crush on this feral lady as a result. Meow.

Pop culture currently places Reese Witherspoon ala Wild as the face of the PCT. Slight blonde, unprepared, and uneducated on the trail. Carrot is strong, intelligent, and doesn't
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The author decides to walk 2,660 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail for her first long distance hike, after she realizes she is having trouble connecting to her everyday life.
Quinn is a gifted writer and makes us feel like we are right there with her on the trail as she experiences many different emotions and physical challenges, as this book delves into her personal struggles along with the daily feel for the trail with its beauty and hardships.. She meets different groups o
May 10, 2016 rated it liked it
I really loved this book. The 3-star rating is more to do with the rating system in Goodreads (1-5), and that it covers all books of all type in the universe, more than enjoyment - I hope this rating won't deter other nature lovers and hikers from reading it! I love Carrot Quinn and her transparency, and the things she has to share about the trail and her experience there. I also read her blogs, and this book feels like a cleaned up, easy-to-access way to read those in a more concise way. I real ...more
B Rhys
Apr 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
It was okay. Carrot has a lot of potential but this book just did little to impress me. Some of it was a little ego fueled and felt it was more about the miles and finishing, than the adventure part. It was bland and her writing was simplistic enough to drive me crazy towards the end (I complained enough to drive my boyfriend crazy). There was a lot of the same descriptive words and some parts were just too much. I thought she would have something more profound and amazing coming out of this, sa ...more
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I so loved this book. I admit I was a little apprehensive when I first read a couple of the reviews that talked about this book being a kind of stream of consciousness, rather than the traditional narrative of this genre. In reality, I found it far more refreshing than I had anticipated! I really enjoyed the more introspective view of Carrot's experiences, as opposed to the usual recitation of sights and towns and resupply places. This was a raw, emotional look at thru-hiking, and in a way, ...more
Travis Duke
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Carrot succeeds at writing a detailed yet emotional story of hiking the PCT back in 2013. I am no expert but i have read a decent amount of these PCT/AT stories and most fail for a number of reasons. It is in the form of a daily journal, sort of, but she keeps it's playful and colorful. Carrot is 30-31 when she hikes the trail back in 2013 so it is one of the newer PCT books and I think her language is relatable and fun. I will say the back half of the book from oregon to washington really shine ...more
This book had a lot of potential, but I found it had some pretty big problems that prevented it from reaching that potential. You don't get a feel for who the other characters really are, because they aren't really fleshed out. The author doesn't succeed in conveying any sense of depth or development in her relationships with the other characters either. One second she's making out with a guy and the next she's saying she loves him, and as a reader I was hard pressed to figure out how she got fr ...more
Ann Frost
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have a thing for books about long walks. I loved this book. I found the last quarter though highly disturbing and I had to stay up to finish the book - way past hiker bed time! I couldn't believe the author's so-called friends abandoning her to hike out on her own when she got sick. The woman is in the throes of a fever, she clearly has tonsillitis, and you send her down a barely marked side trail? Which in the end doesn't lead to anything and she has to bushwhack around an overgrown lake only ...more
May 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Carrot Quinn has potential as a writer. She's adventurous, she's a likable narrator, and she's honest (almost too honest).

That said, this book was not the best. The overly simple language was charming for a while, then began to grate on me; and the other figures in the narrative never really developed into believable, flesh-and-blood human beings. And I really could have done without the "romance." (Why did you keep going back to him, Carrot? Why, why?) I read on just because I was hoping she wo
Feb 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
Couldn't finish. The book needed context about the trail. Some of us know nothing about the PCT. So, it was odd about reading to go to town and get a ride and eat a delicious burger every few pages. Some of use think the PCT is in the mountains, but this book made it sound like it was more like part-time mountains, part-time urban. I didn't finish the book because of the endless complaining about sore feet and hills to climb and go down and temperatures going up then down and running out of wate ...more
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I’m very partial to the PCT books and essays. This did not disappoint. It was easy to read and entertaining. I really enjoyed following Carrot’s thru-hike and her truthfulness telling the highs and lows she experienced on unforgettable hike.
Kristen Dunder
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Beautiful, poetic, and unlike any other trail account I've ever read. Looking forward to following more of Carrot Quinn's tales from the trail on her blog!
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a great read. I love Carrot's style of writing. I felt like I was on the trail with her! ...more
colleen brown
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great read!

Have read many (at least parts of many) e books. This is the first I've took the time to comment.
Meredith Reads
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Not at all what I was expecting. :(
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I liked the writing style, but somehow after doing the entire PCT, she didn't have much to say about it. It's all about her junk food craving. And Gatorade. Always Gatorade. #sponsored? ...more
Jak Krumholtz
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A friend is currently hiking the PCT (Stella Hikes on Instagram and YouTube) and this gives me better perspective on what it can be like. Shout out to Krissy for recommending.
Bill Davis
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wanted to love this book...and I did! But I'm only giving it 4 stars because the first half of the book wasn't as interesting. The first half was like, "I did this, then I did that, then I saw this..." and so on...not much reflection. It seemed like a different author for the second half of the book, starting in northern California. The second half was funnier, more reflective, better metaphors and descriptions of the trail. I appreciated her thoughtful reflections about her conflicted and ten ...more
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
I read this as part of my 2019 Reading Women Challenge, in the category of a book about a woman athlete.

This book is Carrot Quinn's recounting of her hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Overall I found it very interesting and mostly compelling, but I thought it was too long (could have used a lot of editing) and it's clear that Quinn isn't a writer by trade. That said, I enjoyed it overall.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book. Her style of writing made me feel like I was there, which was compounded by being able to look at photos on her blog of each part of the journey. Thank you for all of this, Carrot!!
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unlike Cheryl Strayed, Carrot Quinn actually thru-hiked the PCT and wrote about it in a way that truly captures the beauty and the misery of thru-hiking. The "stream of consciousness" writing style really works for this topic and conveys the jumble of feelings and thoughts that you have when you're hiking for months on end. ...more
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I'm a writer and a long-distance hiker.

You can read more of my adventures and essays on my blog-

My instagram is @carrotquinn -

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