LIKE MANY PEOPLE, I’m sure, the Pacific Crest Trail entered my radar screen after reading the bestseller Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed. In it, Cheryl recounts her time in the summer of 1995 hiking over 1,100 miles on the PCT, from the Mojave Desert in California, through Oregon, and into Washington State. She did it alone and she did it without any training or experience (she’d never backpacked before). She’s drawn criticism for this, for her “irresponsibility,” but given the circumstances in which she undertook what many people would probably call a suicide mission, I’d consider it perfectly understandable. A few years prior she’d lost her mother to lung cancer; her family scattered; her marriage fell apart. As the title suggests, she was lost. (She later discovered she was also angry.)
Her unpreparedness is a big part of what makes the book so entertaining and relatable. It’s a big part of what makes it such a great story, and one that will be relayed to the big screen when the movie version of Wild is released later this year, with Reese Witherspoon playing Cheryl. What I’m most excited about is seeing the scenery and wilderness, shown below, in motion picture adaptation.