Wild by Cheryl Strayed
With my internet feed being full of Reese Witherspoon's dirty face with a backpack strapped on, I figured it was time I finally picked up Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I am fascinated by people who take on this kind of challenge. As a Northeastener myself, I am more familiar with The Appalachian Trail. In fact, Husband and I spent 75% of our time during the last meeting with our financial advisor, forcing him to regale us with stories about the journey, his trail name, his equipment, etc. But I was not at all familiar with the Pacific Coast Trail. I guess we could say that my first introduction to it was recently, when I read John Muir's My First Summer in the Sierra. That was when I realized the majesty and glory of the trails and mountain ranges of the West coast.
I loved Strayed's voice. I loved even more when I learned that she named herself Strayed after a painful divorce. Although I think she should've gone for Princess Consuela Bananahammock when filling out the change of name form ;) What I especially loved about the telling of her story was how she didn't hide her own ignorance and ineptitude during her time on the trail. While her inability to understand and respect the dangers of the wild (i.e. throwing away items that would be useful down the trail, not taking care of her water supply, not being careful of the various dangers Mother Nature throws at you) made me want to scream at my Kindle repeatedly "ARE YOU REALLY THAT FUCKING STUPID?! DO YOU EVER LEARN?", I liked that she owned her stupidity in these poor choices. And in the end, she accomplished something that I will likely never do. And in doing so, she learned so much more about the person she is and the person she wants to be.
At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor,Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.