“Wild (From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail)” is an amazing non-fiction book in so many ways. The author, Cheryl Strayed (last name self-made), shares a very private and motivating story of her life during her mid-twenties, and the journey that she made in order to find herself.
Strayed was going through a difficult time in her mid-twenties. Her mother died of cancer. Her marriage was great in many ways, but she couldn’t stay committed to it, or her husband. She is flat broke. She is broken and lost.
She decides to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, which runs from Mexico City to Canada. Her route will cover California, Washington State and Oregon. It is a very difficult trail, with little traffic. She had no real experience camping or hiking alone, yet she sets out on her own, determined to hike for eleven hundred miles, over a three month period.
Her pack is too heavy for her to lift. She is not in shape, at all. She has almost no money. Her boots are destroying her feet. Her backpack is destroying her body. She goes without showering for two weeks at a time when she has to. She hikes through snow and ice and rain. She hikes through sweltering hot days. She is not prepared. At times she doesn’t see another person for weeks.
She hikes. And she hikes.
She encounters bears and rattlesnakes and other wild animals.
She never gives up.
Strayed changes over the course of her journey. She needed the solitude, the pure torture of getting through each day, the lack of other people and of the comforts that we take for granted, including hot water (and sometimes even any water), soap, bathrooms, music, conversation, a bed to sleep in and lots more. But she gains character and self-worth and strength.
I loved this book so much. She is a great writer. Her story is engaging throughout. I couldn’t put it down. I was sorry when I finished it yesterday.
I am not a camper. I am not a hiker. I could never do what she did, but I related to her story at every turn. Read this book. It is truly an inspiration.