Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

A Hygge-lism Book Review

**Caution** This review pays no mind to “spoilers” and a book that was released 8 years ago should be exempt from spoilers by now anyway.

“Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” by Cheryl Strayed, was released in 2012, and adapted into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon in 2014.

“Wild” is a memoir of Cheryl Strayed’s journey of self-discovery as she hiked 1,100 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail from Sierra City in California, to the “Bridge of the Gods”, which spans the Columbia River between Cascade Locks Oregon and Washington State, after the death of her mother.

Cheryl was only 22 when her mother died, her abusive father had long ago disappeared and her mother was the glue that held her siblings and step-father together.  When she died, Cheryl went into a marriage ending tailspin that involved numerous men and escalating drug use, which she referred to as “Planet Heroin”.  

While everything around her was falling apart, she happened upon a book the described hiking the California stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, while standing in a check-out counter line.  She flipped through it and put it back, but could not shake it from her mind. Desperate to “find herself” and get her life back together she imagined hiking the PCT as a way to do just that and she returned to the store to buy the book.

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With no hiking experience and very little camping experience she set out using the guidebook to acquire everything that she could possibly need to undergo this journey.  Her lack of experience and underestimation of what was ahead proved to be no match for her sheer determination and guts.

This story reads like two stories in one, the tale of her trek along all those miles of the PCT and the tale of the events in her past life that lead to this moment.  Both of those stories are gripping by themselves and together they create an epic story that is thoroughly enjoyable.

Her transformation while she travels is incredible, from her shoulders and hips callusing over due to her abnormally heavy pack rubbing them raw, to her endless fight to keep more toenails intact than she lost.

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Battling injury, heat, cold, rain, wild animals, exhaustion, dehydration, starvation and questionable intentions, she is able to strip back all of her masks to reveal and discover who she truly is.  Driven forward sometimes solely by the prospect of her next $20 and the idea of a real meal. Along the way she comes into contact with a community of people that instantly become like family to her.

This is a tale of great accomplishment and the power of perseverance.  It is an incredible read and I highly recommend anyone and everyone to give it a read.  I also watched the film that was adapted from this novel, but it pales in comparison.

I could really go for a Snapple Lemonade right about now!

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2 thoughts on “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail”

  1. I love books based on true stories. I’ve watched the movie, but haven’t read the book yet! There’s no better way to reclaim yourself then to brave the wild with no experience. Her story is raw, messy and inspiring, yet I couldn’t quite grasp how unprepared she was for the hike. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀

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