Have you ever experienced a downward spiral in life and wished that you could just get away from it all, even if only for a few minutes? That is exactly what Cheryl Strayed did and her memoir, “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail,” outlines how she was able to “find” herself again after hiking from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Cheryl’s life was in shambles. She was in her mid 20s, had lost her mother to cancer, destroyed her marriage, started using heroin, had no money, and had lost contact with her family. Her lifestyle had always been one that involved taking risks, but none compared to the risk she took when she hiked 1100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, alone!
When I first started reading this book I will admit, I thought Cheryl was crazy to even attempt this adventure. She had no hiking experience but decided to embark on this journey after she picked up a book on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail while standing in a check-out line. Ironically, she never even read the book before starting the hike. She spoke to a few people at a sporting goods store, bought some equipment, packed her backpack (which she refers to as “Monster” because it is way too heavy) and literally headed out for the trail. Physically, she was in no way prepared for this journey. She talks about losing her toenails because her boots are too small, her throbbing feet, and the pure utter exhaustion she felt most evenings. But, she forged on day by day and eventually grew stronger not only physically but emotionally as well.
I know there is no way I could do what Cheryl Strayed did, but I give her credit for being willing to not only tackle this trail alone, but her own demons as well. Sometimes from our own darkness emerges something really great and I would recommend that you travel along side Cheryl to learn more about her journey from being lost to found in Wild.
Reviewed by: Richelle Schneider, Chicago Southlands Director, LBDC