I’m a little late to the party that is Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, but I’m here now! Like most people who read this book, I came away with a sense of awe that Cheryl not only accomplished her goal of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, but also that she didn’t freaking die in the process since she was so wildly (ha!) unprepared for the task.
“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
For anyone who doesn’t know, Cheryl chose her new last name of ‘Strayed” after her mother died, she cheated on her husband, divorced him then dove headfirst into heroin and drugs with a guy named Joe. She decides to get back on her path by following the literal path of the Pacific Crest Trail. Despite growing up under less than ideal conditions and often living rather rough, she was not a serious hiker when she decided to do this. She sold all of her belongings, arranged for a friend to ship her boxes of supplies along the way, and set out, with no idea of what she was getting into.
The book is full of the dangers she encounters, both of the animal and human variety, and Cheryl’s musings on life and the decisions she’s made. It’s not as navel-gazing as I expected: she takes a tough, honest view of what she’s done and seems intent on making real changes. I would love to read a follow up. The details about the hike itself are the best part though: what it’s like hiking on snow and ice, what hiking does to your body, and the importance of finding shoes that fit.
Worth the read. Looking forward to the movie, since I think Reese Witherspoon could pull this off wonderfully.