I often enjoy books others found awful and sometimes find books that critics loved horrible...
The copy of
"Wild...from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail"
by Cheryl Strayed
that I found on the shelf of one of my local thrift stores though didn't have any promotional stickers on it, or a dust jacket heralding the book as a New York Times best seller...
Just a picture of an old worn hiking boot and mention of a hiking trail I was familiar with that runs the western flank of the U.S.A from Mexico to Canada.
The front cover seemed like it might interest me so I brought the book home and gave it a read.
Im happy I did!
Its not what I expected though...
The Pacific Crest Trail is a walking trail not for the uninitiated walker. It and the Appalachian trail on the other coast of the U.S. are considered the two most formidable long distance walking trails in America. Parts of this trail can involve climbing on ice and snow with crampons and ice axes, a lot of the trail is poorly signed and easy to get lost on and the sheer length of the trail makes "thru-hiking" the trail (attempting the entire trail or larger portions of it ) a complex logistical challenge.
Cheryl Strayed began to walk the the PCT tail in the summer of 1995.
Her life was a bit of a mess at the time, having experienced the unexpected loss of her mother to cancer and a fairly recent divorce and as well, she seemed to be dealing with some substance abuse problems back then too. Im not talking about alcohol here but Heroin!
Looking for some direction Cheryl decides on a whim to walk a bulk of the PCT on her own.
With very little preparation...hardly any money...poor fitting boots....and a pack that was so big she took to calling it "Monster" Cheryl begins an adventure that would last her months and cover over a thousand miles of walking.
Both her descriptions of the route and her describing the challenges she personally met along the way made for an enjoyable read. I love to champion an underdog and was happy to see her conclude her journey.
A finely crafted tale of personal of rediscovery
in my mind is worth the read!