I thought of it in the desert. I started it in September. I’ve been teasing it for months. And now it’s finally available:
Absolute Creatures: A Zine About Thru-Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
By Sarahmarie Specht-Bird in Hiking
84 pages, published 3/2/2023
Absolute Creatures is the story of my 2022 Pacific Crest Trail thru-hike. It’s organized into five major sections, one for each of the original members of my trail family. In between each major section is a “tidbit”—a little extra slice of trail life, like my top 10 songs of the PCT, a glossary of trail terms, and silly quotes from the tramily.
This is totally new writing. Except for a few lines from my blog, I did not use any already-written content for this zine. So if you enjoyed my posts from the PCT and want to read more, this is perfect for you!
An exciting feature of the zine is the art, which was created by my friend Amelia “Patches!” Cleveland, whom I met on the second night of the Appalachian Trail in 2019.
There are also 11 pages with full-color photographs—some by me, some by Jumbo and Andy—from the PCT.
How to Buy a Copy
Click the “find out more on MagCloud” link above to go to my MagCloud store. This is where you can buy your copy!
You can buy a print copy or a digital copy. All print copies come with a free digital copy. The digital copy is less expensive than the print copy. No shame if this is the route that’s best for you! However, I wrote and designed this zine to be printed, and I think the print version turned out pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.
The price of the zine does not include shipping, which is calculated based on location at checkout. MagCloud ships worldwide.
Please let me know if you have any questions about ordering!
What’s a Zine?
A zine is a self-published booklet. Think “zine” as in “magazine.” Zines can be hand-printed and hand-bound, or they can be printed with a professional printing service, as I have done with Absolute Creatures.
Zines have roots in the do-it-yourself spirit of the punk movement, and they are also popular in the world of comics. Most people who make zines (“zinesters”) are mainly motivated by getting their ideas out there and sharing their artistic passions.
The world of zinemaking is a wild, beautiful one. I’m happy to add Absolute Creatures to this world.
Why a Zine?
I love zines. I like that the rules of zinemaking are effectively nonexistent. I like that people can use this medium to express themselves in whatever way they see fit.
Some people have asked me why I haven’t written full-length books about my thru-hikes. The reason is that this idea simply doesn’t interest me. Plenty of people have done this already and have done a lovely job with it. But the book that I am currently working on isn’t specifically about my thru-hikes; it’s about a lot of things, including my thru-hikes, but including other experiences as well.
I didn’t feel like writing a book specifically about the AT or the PCT. I felt like making a smaller, more manageable post-trail project to help me process the experience. So that’s what I did. My AT zine is very different from my PCT zine, but both suited my purposes just as needed at the time.
I started writing this zine the day that I landed back home in Cincinnati after the PCT. When I wrote the first words, it had been less than 24 hours since I’d seen Jumbo in Seattle. I finished editing it in February. The zine was a direct line between life on the PCT and life now. It was hard to put out into the world.
The fact that this zine is now available means that I’m letting the past go. The fact that I’m writing to you right now means that I recognize that my hike is indeed over, and a new season is about to begin. As the wood block above my desk reads: You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one. I’m giving you my last chapter. And I’m moving onto the next one.
This zine was for me, but it’s for you too. You, who are trail dreaming. You, who have already walked. You, who may never set foot on the PCT. Long-distance hiking is magical. However this trail impacts you, these words are for you.
I hope you love reading my words as much as I enjoyed writing them.