"Wild: Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail" by Cheryl Strayed, was given to me as part of my birthday present from a girlfriend, who knew I was getting into backpacking. This book was eye-opening for me, and interesting.
It's about a 26 year-old women, who essentially loses everything. She ruins her marriage through infidelity, she loses her mother to cancer, and with that loses contact with her family. So upon hitting rock bottom, she makes the decision to quit everything and hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Pacific Crest Trail is a trail that essentially goes from Mexico to Canada. The book tells the story of her journey and treacherous struggles hiking this path. She deals with everything from severe heat, dehydration, snow, rattlesnakes, loneliness, hunger, severe blistering & pain, bear sightings, and potentially dangerous people on the trail. In these struggles, she finds herself again.
There is conflicting views on the character in this story. There were moments in this book that I found myself angry with her. How she irresponsibly would spend her limited funds. She didn't prepare her self for backpacking - and had never hiked prior to trekking across the US. And above all, she lost her husband due to her infidelity and drug abuse. But through her physical struggles on the trail, she worked through the emotional skeletons in her closet.
I tend to be a person who believes that people deserve a second chance and forgiveness. They have to earn it, of course.
This book showed the ugliness in backpacking, but it only made me more excited to do it. I think spending time out in nature really makes one contemplate and reflect on life. There is something very cathartic about being so far from civilization, that there's not a hint of it in sight.
After reading this book, it is definitely on my adventure list to hike a portion of the PCT. Obviously doing the entire trail is not in my cards....as it takes months to complete. But I've already started looking into trails that lead to Crater Lake in Oregon.
Do you tend to give people 2nd chances? One of my faults is probably that I can be too forgiving and trusting. Hence, why I struggle with confrontation - because I assume the fault will fix itself so we can all move on with smiles on our faces.