Book Review: Dances with Marmots…

Here goes the first ever book review! I decided to start with the book I just finished; Dances with Marmots: A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure by George Spearing.

“From Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail”

“4300 km, 5 months and a lifetime of unforgettable memories…”

For my non-imperial friends, 4300 km is roughly 2,672 miles.

I enjoyed this book immensely. I always like reading books from the point of view of “people from off.” This is a turn of phrase I heard a lot growing up in the Missouri Ozarks; it essentially means anyone that wasn’t from my neck of the woods. Now, that I’m older and have been “out” more I tend to use it for folks from other countries that come to the US for vacation, hiking, and travel.

I love the outsider looking in perspective.

Even if it’s almost twenty years old…

George Spearing’s writing style reminds me a little of Bill Bryson- it might stem from time spent in British countries but it is endearing. So are some of his short quip-like poems in the book.

The book kicks off by how he was influenced to go out and hike… by a book. Citing a book by Stephen Pern and the Continental Divide Trail- I’ve already added it to my extensive reading list.

“He wasn’t reading about it, he’d done it!”

And just like that I’ve been called out by a book.

George picked the PCT for ease of access and food delivery. I did find the international planning interesting- even though it is twenty years old he does provide decent information for international hikers and with better internet services that’s gotten easier!

I wonder if there are similar books about New Zealand… *fondly remembers childhood enjoyment of Xena and Hercules/LOTR and wanting to visit and hike some of the places shown…*

He gives us a rundown of his physical abilities- firemen, but hasn’t hiked extensively. Like many newbie or wannabe hikers…

His high spirits and get it done attitude help him out through the five month journey- plus the friends he makes on the trail.

As for the title… he has some encounters with Marmots along the PCT. He actually had an interesting conversation with them and had several run ins with the little critters throughout the book and liked their company.

I really enjoyed chapters 5 & 6, his adventures with bears, flatulence, and postal employees were funny in hindsight.

He includes several photos (in black and white) of his adventures which gives a richer picture of his journey.

He has a direct- simple and honest- approach in his writing and the humor makes it flow really well.

Like I said, I enjoyed it!

Possible Cons for some folks:
Some of the content is now outdated (published in 2005)- park and trail policies have changed a little, the trail is far more popular now, and a thru/section hiker will have a slightly different experience than George’s experiences.

The editing was a little loose- which coming from me, is funny considering I don’t notice a lot of my mistakes until nearly a week after I post something. And I proofread シ…

As a Kiwi (New Zealand) writer, some of his jokes and colloquialisms are hard to follow at times. But a quick Google search (woodland Noddy) or context clues make it easy enough to figure out. Plus, he does explain some of the misunderstandings.

It seems he shortchanges the northern section of the PCT- a lot of the more interesting adventures and learning curve stories happens on the southern section, California. But it would have been nice to see more information and stories from the Oregon and Washington sections.

Keep wander…eh…reading?,

BJ

P.S. I’ll have to come up with a new sign off for the book reviews…

P.S.S. If you want to pick this book up…
Just an FYI, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

P.S.S.S…? Drop a comment for the next book you want reviewed, pick from photo! Otherwise I’ll just go down the stack in order.

Best Laid Plans

Well…

That didn’t go as planned.

Also short boring post this week.

The doctor appointment went well but we didn’t leave as early as we would have liked going to North Platte and then we didn’t leave North Platte until almost six and I had a dog that practically ran me over to get outside when we got home.

So, there was no stopping at Thedford or the Valentine NWR this week. Luckily, the art gallery is going to hold onto my pictures, and they signed me up to sell on commission there… I’ll see if my photography is good enough to sale. Exciting.

This week is going to be work and reading heavy I’m afraid…

Other than when I’m hanging out watching Ultimate Frisbee- then I’ll be taking some photos or falling asleep in my awesome lawn chair!

But my weekend is going to be fun- I have a surprise visitor that is going to do some local adventures with me!

No, it will not be an early delivery lol. Sorry friends and family that keep making cracks about how it’s twins or I’ll be giving birth early- the doctor said I’m on track for a late September date, as expected.

Since it looks like my adventures are coming to a middle for the time being how about we change it up a little more. I showed my stack of books on hiking and adventure last time. How about I toss in a review of the books I’m reading?

At least this way I can feel productive and still talk about hiking (and river adventures)!

I’ll probably do them as a separate post that starts with “Book Review:…”

**Due to some whacky planning, I’m taking a couple of grad classes in history during this time period too… however, I doubt you all want to hear about early colonial America or the Age of Enlightenment so I will try to not to get the book reviews confused…**

Heck, I might even reformat my blog and play around with other themes.

Reinvention is important in this day in age!

In other news, I’m working with my dad to republish a book he wrote in 1970 about a hunting dog in the Ozarks. It’s great to collaborate with him on stuff like this- I’m hoping we can do more things in the future!

Book in question- one of the original copies. We’ll probably do some new cover art!
Back cover…

I’m also being horrible and putting the Baby Wipes and Day Hikes behind a paywall…

I decided since I probably will be backing off on some of my other jobs, but still need to fund Hunter and I’s hikes, I would just put that page behind a monthly $5 fee.

I was just going to do a tip jar but unless you fork out almost $300 for a business plan you can’t use that plugin… If I get some more traffic/followers and some of my other ideas pan out I might change the format to the tip jar but for now, I’ll just stick with Stripe and the $5 subscription. I might also switch to $15 a year- which puts the monthly price at $1.25.

I might do a poll in a later post to see what people think…

I will be putting highlight or blurb whenever I make a new post on the Baby Wipes and Day Hikes in my “main” blog so you can decide if you want to read more/subscribe.

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. Milk gives me heartburn…but Hunter still craves it…

Bored…I’m Bored!!!!

Short post this week, sorry about that.

Yeah…after that nine-day work week my weekend consisted of me doing laundry (only productive thing I did) and eating Oreos on the couch…

Oh, and walking the dog.

I’m turning into a boring person.

It’s just not the same as going somewhere for a hike.

However, I did read a wonderful book on hiking… Dances with Marmots- A Pacific Crest Trail Adventure by George Spearing

If you have any recommendations or want to hear about one of these books let me know!

I have a friend on social media that got out and was hiking some mountains in Japan; now I’m itching to go somewhere and climb a mountain. However, between the Covid-19 restrictions and lung kicking that’s not going to happen- so, I’m drooling over his photos and jealous. Thanks @bnheise

Sadly, the closer I get to the due date the less my doctors seem to want me to do anything- I understand why but it’s sending me into a funk. Plus, with the extra weight and the whole growing a small human the heat of summer is getting to me- it’s making me cranky.

**plan any future children to be carried to term during the winter… the internal heater will be nice.

So, more sitting in the A/C and reading books on other people’s adventures. Some are re-reads. Nothing, wrong with that but there goes my winter reading list… although, this year I will have a new buddy to spend the winter with.

I’m back to my normal grind and have an upcoming weekend- I’m hoping to do something this “weekend.” I do have a doctor’s appointment in North Platte this week and I will be going by the Valentine NWR. I might take a little time and wander there…

It’s hot mom!

Keep wandering,

BJ

P.S. Send me your favorite hiking reads!

P.S.S. Decaffeinated sweet tea is not the same!

33 weeks!