Wild: From Lost To Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
I just want to start this post by saying that I read this book before Oprah told me to. Oprah is using this awesome book, ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trailway’ to relaunch some enthusiasm for her book club, it’s featured in O Magazine this month, blah blah blah, but I loved it before Oprah.
There have been many hiker tales that have come before Cheryl Strayed, but none so moving as this. Strayed hiked the Pacific Crest Trailway, a long distance hike almost 3,000 miles long that stretches from Mexico up the West Coast to Canada. The trail crosses the Sierra Nevada, and includes several different climates from the dry heat of the desert to the snowy mountain tops of Canada. And just in case you thought this was no small feat to do in 2012, Strayed hiked it in the early 1990s, before everyone had a cell phone and a computer attached to their hand 24/7. She hiked it solo for an entire summer, and the transformation she went through on that journey is astounding, as well as wildly entertaining to read.
Surprisingly, the heart and soul of the book is not even her daily hike, or mantra that “She is not afraid” in the face of immediate, present danger. The heart comes with the catalyst for her decision to hike the PCT, when her mother abruptly died within a month of her cancer diagnosis, and Strayed’s life promptly unraveled, and boy…does it unravel. One cannot even begin to imagine going through the obstacles that Strayed dealt with in the wake of her mother’s death, everything from divorce to drug addiction.
Despite her profound journey and clear ballsiness, Strayed comes off humble and easy to relate to at every turn of the page. By the end, you can’t help but feel connected to Strayed, and while the book is a little intense to be considered a ‘beach read’, I highly encourage anyone to pick it up!