‘Unabashed Honesty’ Appreciated in Skywalker’s Pacific Crest Trail Book
Yesterday, my Pacific Crest Trail narrative, Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail, received the above Amazon book review. The reader specifically mentioned that she appreciated my “unabashed honesty.” Well, let me say I greatly appreciate that.
Most of the 98 book reviews for this narrative have been very positive. But on a few occasions, I have had readers write, “I can’t believe he wrote that.” Well, let me say, there have been times I was thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m going to write that!’ But at the end of the day, it seems like an author’s solemn task is to do exactly that–write the truth as he or she sees it, wherever it may lead. Over the course of the 2,663 mile PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) journey from Mexico to Canada, things (shit) happens. It is still somewhat embarrassing to read back about how incompetent–even cowardly–I seemed at times. And then there is the PCT (and Appalachian Trail) phenomenon of ‘pink-blazing’. This refers to when male or female hikers speed up or slow down to connect with members of the opposite gender. Most pink-blazing is completely harmless and can actually be synergistic (two different couples met on the PCT and got married). But it can also be awkward. I confess to having pink-blazed a British lady for awhile. Nothing came of it, although we did remain friends.
In Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling Pacific Crest Trail book, Wild–From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, she told stories that surely required solemn reflection and digging deep. Again, she has received an inordinate number of Amazon book reviews writing critiques such as, “Did she really have to write that?” But as a reader of her book, I’m very glad she did. Overall, it’s a positive tale and showed the courage it took for her to overcome her personal demons.
“If in doubt, write,” wrote James Thurber. Along the same lines, I say, “Write–and write the whole story.”
Bill Walker is the author of Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also the author of Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail, The Best Way–El Camino de Santiago, and Getting High–The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. Walker, who is nearly 7-feet tall, is currently working on a whimsical book on the subject of height.