A travelogue chronicling a journey through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and along the path to self-discovery.
When Roberts (English and Creative Writing/Lake Tahoe Community Coll.; Three Hours to Burn a Body: Poems on Travel, 2011, etc.) graduated from college with no plans for the future, she decided to take a monthlong vacation from worrying and embark on a serious hike with two girlfriends. Battling injuries, eating disorders, insecurities and each other, the three women hiked the John Muir Trail in the opposite direction of most hikers, attacking the hardest part of the hike first and ending on an easy note. Though Roberts dealt with many questions about her obsessive journaling, her attention to the exercise pays off in this memoir written almost 20 years after the trip. The writing is mostly engaging and keeps the long days of hiking and fighting interesting to the last page. Even when the constant competition between the girls—over men, how many miles to hike, how much food to eat, who makes the decisions and more—becomes grating, most readers will continue to turn the pages. Though Roberts waxes poetic about feminism and finding happiness outside of a relationship, it is obvious these lessons did not sink in until after the trip ended. Occasionally, these girl-power sidebars feel heavy-handed for a travel memoir, but in general, they flow naturally and honestly from the narrative.
Will appeal to readers of travel and nature books, as well as those who enjoy reading about social interactions and group dynamics.