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The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind—and Almost Found Myself—on the Pacific Crest Trail (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In this off-kilter, sardonic journal of a couple embarking upon the Pacific Crest Trail, a relationship is tested, mountains are climbed, and yes, a cactus is eaten. Dan White is not an altogether sympathetic protagonist, but as a reader I reveled in his honesty, as it related to the travails of hiking from Mexico to Canada, as well as the difficulties of testing a young love while doing so.

— Zack


The Pacific Crest Trail stretches from Mexico to Canada, a distance of 2,650 grueling, sun-scorched, bear-infested miles. When Dan White and his girlfriend announced their intention to hike it, Dan's parents—among others—thought they were nuts. How could two people who'd never even shared an apartment together survive six months in the desert with little more than a two-person tent and some trail mix? But when these addled adventurers, dubbed "the Lois and Clark Expedition" by their benevolent trail-guru, set out for the American wilderness, the hardships of the trail—and one delicious-looking cactus—test the limits of love and sanity.

About the Author

Dan White is a journalist and author whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Backpacker magazine. He received his MFA from Columbia University, and he lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Praise For…

“It is a funny, frequently harrowing, and altogether mesmerizing memoir about just how wrong a backpacking expedition can go….‘The Cactus Eaters’ is far more than a Sierra Club-approved romp. It’s gorp for the soul, a fascinating and surprisingly moving testament to the call of the wild.”
— Steve Almond, Boston Globe

“Drawing on diaries he kept at the time, White polishes up these memories, serving them forth with brio and dash…[The Cactus Eaters] brings a fresh perspective to the timeworn adventure-travel genre.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In the well-written, laugh-out-loud, self-deprecating spirit of Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods and Nora Ephron’s When Harry Met Sally, Dan White takes us along for a walk on the wild side of adventure and love. I could not put it down.”
— Eric Blehm, National Outdoor Book Award-winning author of THE LAST SEASON.

“Dan White forges miles past travelogue to carve a poignant, uproarious, and deeply compelling love story between man, woman, and the land between. The Cactus Eaters is as impressive and enjoyable as the ground it covers.”
— Franz Wisner, NY Times Bestselling Author of Honeymoon with My Brother

Product Details
ISBN: 9780061376931
ISBN-10: 0061376930
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: May 20th, 2008
Pages: 400
Language: English
Series: P.S.
ABA Admin Product Details
Data Source: ONIX
Created At: 3/7/2014 08:25am
Last Updated At: 4/3/2021 06:19am