I just finished the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I was attracted to the book originally because I heard they were making a movie with Reese Witherspoon about a girl who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This immediately sparked my interest when I saw it was based off of a book. I love books turned movie. I have always been a reader, I’ve loved books since 1st grade when I started reading Goosebumps and The Boxcar Children. In school I was always the first kid with my hand up when the teacher asked who wanted to read aloud for the class. When I am immersed in a book, its like living another life. If its well written I feel the emotions as if I were living them. That is what makes a great book in my opinion.
I dove into Wild as soon as I downloaded it onto my iPad. I immediately fell in love with the story. Cheryl lost her mother to cancer and was struggling to cope. She decides to hike the PCT because she saw a guide book in an REI store. The way she describes her relationship with her mother, reminds me of my own. They were best friends just as much as mother and daughter. When I read through the part of her actually losing her mother, I was in tears. I could not fathom losing my mother so young. It’s no surprise to me that she had trouble coping.
I have been talking about hiking the Appalachian Trail forever, but still haven’t managed to make it happen. So naturally, reading about the PCT makes me want to go hike it ASAP. Cheryl hiked it back in the 90s before it was very popular. She meets a lot of people and makes awesome friends to share her journey with. She also learns a lot about herself.
“I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feet along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me?
The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one.”
She learns how tough she actually is, which I think really teaches her that she can go on without her mother, she can continue to grow as a person, trust other people and trust in herself. The friends that she meets along the way, are very important in this aspect. I think the trail itself also makes her realize how strong of a person she is. Most women would not go hike for 2000 miles by themselves. In the end I think the trail comforts her because she finally realizes her strength and she finds happiness in herself.
Someday soon I hope to hike either the PCT or the AT. Wild made me want to go do it tomorrow. I know there will be a right time, and when it comes I’ll be beyond ready!
“It had nothing to do with gear or footwear or the backpacking fads or philosophies of any particular era or even with getting from point A to point B.
It had to do with how it felt to be in the wild. With what it was like to walk for miles with no reason other than to witness the accumulation of trees and meadows, mountains and deserts, streams and rocks, rivers and grasses, sunrises and sunsets. The experience was powerful and fundamental. It seemed to me that it had always felt like this to be a human in the wild, and as long as the wild existed it would always feel this way.”
Wild movie trailer: