• Kathy Schrenk

Thirst by Heather "Anish" Anderson

Updated: Nov 4, 2019

Kathy is reviewing her favorite books on the outdoors and hiking. For the list of all the reviews, click here.

Heather Anderson is a Very Famous Hiker. Anyone with more than a passing interest in through-hiking knows of her FKTs (fastest known times) and Triple Crown records. When I learned that the company that published Best Hikes with Kids St. Louis and Beyond was publishing Anderson's memoir, I mashed that pre-order button.

I wasn't disappointed when I got the book. Anderson's telling is unique because, unlike other thru-hike memoirists, this isn't a one-time lark. It's her calling. It's who she is. She started hiking because it felt good. She kept hiking because not hiking felt intolerably bad. She's completed the Triple Crown twice and has set records on the both the Pacific Crest Trail and Appalachian Trail (as well as the shorter Arizona Trail). She shares her self doubt as Strayed and Storey do, but not about her ability to complete the hike; indeed, Thirst tells the story of her second through-hike of the PCT. Her self doubt comes from wondering why she's like this, why she can't be happy settling into a house with a husband and working a 9-5 job.

Over the course of the hike she feel more at peace with her unusual lifestyle. As she says, she hikes to figure things out. Each step brings her closer to her true self.