The High Adventure of Eric Ryback

The High Adventure of Eric Ryback Who was the first person to thru-hike the 2,650 mile long Pacific Crest Trail? A 17 year old boy named Eric Ryback!!

At a local used book sale, I picked up a copy of The High Adventure of Eric Ryback, an engaging and interesting story of Eric’s journey from Canada to Mexico.

The 17 year old Eric had hiked the Appalachian Trail in previous summer breaks, and in 1970 he set out to escape society and find solace and adventure for 132 days on the PCT.

Equipped with the bare survival essentials, Eric encounters freezing nights, many bouts of hunger, and a few wrong turns. But he also sees breathtaking vistas and makes friends with the few people he sees in his 4+ months of walking. Underlying the adventure story and details of the hike is the development of Eric’s maturity. Eric insinuates that his teenage years were socially awkward, but by the end of the story he has a better understanding of himself and confidence in his ability to make friends with all types of people.

The story is interesting and I’d recommend it to anyone considering a thru-hike!


  1. Campfire Kam says:

    I’m looking for it online, and it looks like you got a deal! I wanted to pick it up as a gift, but I’ll have to keep my eyes open at yard sales/used bookstores/etc.

  2. Hiking Lady says:

    At least the PCT was the first thing that crossed his mind! If he does read the book perhaps it will give him the inspiration to do it!

  3. steph says:

    I should pick this book up for my son. Every once in a while we have to meet with his supervising teacher, to turn in work, set goals, and so forth. Last time we met, she asked him to list a life goal. He said hiking the PCT. I was so excited I almost drove to him to REI straight away!

    Later, he admitted to naming the PCT because he just couldn’t think of anything else on the spot. Teenagers. What am I going to do? Keep day hiking, apparently.

  4. Belinda says:

    I read this story too many years ago and it inspired me to hike the the John Muir Trail! I would love to do the PCT one day.

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