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

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail is a great book. Like any good travel adventure it offers a bit of danger, some self-exploration, a little other-exploration (sex), and touching passages that almost made me a little weepy. Almost.

Written by Cheryl Strayed well after the fact, Wild is her memoir about ultimately traveling away from a very difficult time in her life. Faced with the relatively recent death of her mother and the loss of her marriage due to her own destructive behaviors, Cheryl decides to hike an extended portion of the Pacific Crest Trail. The PCT (as those in the know like to call it) extends from the southern desert of California to the border of Canada. Along the way the trail crests many big mountains and wanders through prime cougar and grizzly territory. Besides the constant danger of being eaten by a big cat, twisting an ankle and then starving to death, or getting lost and then starving to death, there are the locals and other folk who might not always have your best intention at heart. There is also the sheer loneliness to contend with which Cheryl mostly embraces. She also had no prior backpacking experience and never even bothered hoisting her backpack until her first day on the trail. Lessons are learned and the Cheryl who finishes the trail is not the same person who began the trail.

So I liked Wild for the thrilling adventure she tells. Corey liked it for the touching portrait Sheryl creates of her late mother. We both agree that the narrator is not always the most likeable person. I think Cheryl Strayed would probably agree with that. And although there was no mystery as to whether Cheryl made it off the trail alive (the book cover after all does not refer to her as the late Cheryl Strayed), I was eager to know if she became a better person. After reading a couple of author interviews, I think that she did. A good trip will do that. Noel