Full Title & Author:
Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home By Heather “Anish” Anderson
How I Came Across This Book:
I along with a lot of readers of this blog, am very aware of who Anish is and have followed along on her adventures via Instagram and visited her website anishhikes.wordpress.com for various bits of information. Because of her achievements, I have heard tons of “Anish” stories over the years as well; she is a trail legend.
For those of you who don’t know of Anish, she has MANY trail and non-trail accomplishments. Most recently in 2018 she became the first female Triple, Triple Crowner and became the first female calendar year Triple Crowner at the same time. She also holds several Fastest Known Time (FKT) records, one for fastest female self-supported hike on the Appalachian Trail (2015) and fastest female self-supported hike on the Arizona Trail (2016). She has also broken the overall record for the Fastest Known Time male or female (actually establishing the first record for this for females) out on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013. To say the very least, Anish is an extremely inspirational female and a phenomenal athlete.
Beyond her significant amount of record-setting and variety of incredible accomplishments, Anish opens up to the world with Thirst: 2600 Miles to Home allowing you the reader, to see her past the records and titles, to see her core. She recounts her emotional hike and her personal thoughts during that record-setting hike on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2013. Within the pages of Thirst, Anish shares many strained and painful memories from her childhood and the numerous trying times, she experiences on the trail leading up to that record-breaking moment.
Personally, I am sure I would have read anything that Anish would have written trail related or not for the simple fact that I look up to her, such an accomplished and strong woman. However, having that she wrote about a specific hike in which she broke one record and set a new one for females, on a trail I’ve traveled on and around before, grabbed my interest all the more.
Thirst is not for the light-hearted hiker. It’s gritty, tense, and uncomfortable but somehow, it’s presented all in a good way. If you’re a potential long-distance hiker who would like to know the non-romantic side of the hike, read this book; it’s sure to give you a reality check times 110. Although everything happens at a high rate of speed, Anish experiences all the common issues and non-issues of a thru-hike. The mountain top highs and the grimy lows are all there. The body that rejects the hike but the mind that is still willing. Mother Nature shows off her best and then her worst and the Hiking Community seems to always be there to give the boost to keep Anish going one more step.
Not only does Anish take you back to the PCT, but you can also feel her pain. You can understand why she keeps pushing but all the same, may find yourself wishing she would just stop. You’ll be rooting for her the whole way and fall in awe of her abilities. You find your self-thinking “ I would have quit right then” but keep reading because Anish keeps going. It’s an incredible read and will give you a small understanding as to what it takes to break a record. Anish to me is in a whole different category of hiker, but yet so humble about her accomplishments. I think what makes this book such a good read, is knowing that Anish is like you and me except when it comes to hiking and endurance sports, she’s a machine.
I found Thirst to be an easy way to lose track of the present time while getting lost in Anish’s world, finding her descriptions of her physical and mental challenges hard to turn away from. As the reader you know she sets the record (spoilers!) but you can’t help but still cringe when reading about blisters, or choke on her words while she describes her dry mouth and the single want and need for water.
If there are any reports that Anish’s book is hard to read, it can only be for the fact that it makes a reader feel guilty for living a life of luxury while she is suffering and pushes herself to the absolute limit for 60 days, 17 hours, and 12 minutes in 2013. You will wonder what you were doing back in 2013 that was even half as badass as Anish. The answer? Nothing.
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