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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

April 11, 2014

wildI am so behind on writing about the books I’ve read! This was a book club book from back in January and it got mixed reviews within our group. I think I liked it a bit more than some of the other members because even though Cheryl can be a bit idiotic at times, I ultimately was on board with her journey.

After her mother’s death, a failing marriage, and a bout with drugs, Cheryl Strayed is looking for some kind of meaning in her life. She happens upon a copy of a guide to the Pacific Crest Trail at a sporting goods store and decides that hiking the trail may be the challenge and change she’s looking for. She begins preparing for the hike, having a pretty low level of understanding of exactly what a hike like this – hundreds of miles – will entail.

Not surprisingly, she’s ill prepared. She overpacks her bag so that she can barely lift it. She doesn’t give herself enough money for restocking supplies during the hike. She doesn’t know the weather forecasts or how the trail has been impacted by a long winter. Like I said, she’s kind of idiotic. And that can be annoying to read about, but something about Cheryl and her journey was redeeming for me.

For every silly mistake, there was a beautiful scene. For every annoying misstep, there was a moment of peacefulness. For all her silliness, she was strong. I can respect that she didn’t know what she was up for, but she made it. Cheryl and her journey reminded me a bit of Chris McCandless (in a very different way, of course, but there was some similarities in their struggles) and I loved his story. She made the trip into something that changed her life and brought her happiness and gave her a sense of accomplishment. She was a different person at the end of the Pacific Crest Trail. Even with all her mistakes, I commend her for taking up the challenge and enjoyed reading about her journey.

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