on the shelf: wild lost & found on the pacific crest trail

Wild: Lost & Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
ISBN-13: 9780307592736

Synopsis: At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.

Strayed faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Review: Once I started this book, I didn't want to put it down. The very first day I started it, I plowed through the majority of it and realized that it was 3am and I had to wake up at 6am. That is how good this book is. I like how she wove all the stories together so that it's not one part life before the trail and one part life on the trail. It is all life on the trail with anecdotes and memories that are stirred by the vistas and hardships. I guess I could relate to Cheryl in the sense that she felt like everything in her life was collapsing around her. She didn't know how to regain control of her life and was struck by the idea when she ran across the book Pacific Crest Trail Volume I: California at an REI. It takes her a while to come back and buy the book, but the seed had been planted.

In the beginning, she only wanted to be alone. She thought that being alone was key to her putting herself back together. I can understand that. I usually don't like to burden the people around me with my thoughts, so I take to my room and do art or read. Sometimes, being alone is all that you need to bounce back. She proved to herself and everyone else that she had the endurance and mental capacity to achieve her goals, despite never having done long distance hiking. That reminds me of when I started running; I never ran distance and now I love it. She follows up with a little bit about her life after the trail and her life now. It's a wonderful story about solitude and finding yourself when you feel like all hope is lost.

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