#WellnessReads2015: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
I love books!
One of the first things I did when we moved to Pemberton, almost 7 years ago, was to join the library in anticipation of reading lots of books and meeting new people. Just one problem with that. I love to OWN books! I love the smell and the feel of them, I love to turn the pages and I love to see them lined up on my bookshelf, whether in paperback or hardback. And I am a traditionalist – no e-reader for me!
So when I was asked to submit a review for #WellnessReads2015 I thought it would be a great time to actually BORROW a book to review. I chose “Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” the #1 New York Times Bestseller and personal memoir written by Cheryl Strayed.
In it she gives an account of her 1,100 mile (1,770 km) hike along part of the Pacific Crest Trail (the full trail is some 2,650 miles or 4,265 kms from Mexico to Canada) through California, Oregon, and Washington via the glaciers of the Sierra Nevada to the volcanic peaks in the Cascade Range.
But it is not just all about the hiking, it is also about the experiences that led her to hike the PCT in the first place, including the death of her mother at a very young age, her adultery and subsequent divorce and her drug use. It was about the need to “find herself” again.
Having also lost both of my parents at a young age (I was 25 when my dad passed away at just 48 and 2 years later my mum passed away at age 50) I could relate to her sense of loss and the anger she felt. I, however, did not feel the need to walk over 1,000 miles – on my own – in order to overcome my grief (something that can never truly be overcome) but reading her journey was both inspiring and enlightening.
Everyone deals with loss and personal challenges in different ways and you can’t help but admire someone who embarks on such an expedition, despite the foolishness of tackling such a venture without any prior long distance hiking experience or knowledge of the trail. However, she succeeded in her goal, losing 6 toenails and a pair of boots in the process. And I, for one, was pleased that she finished her “pilgrimage” and that she was able to come to terms with, and let go of, her past.
For me, despite it being such a long time since my parents passed away I think, having read this book, I could even be inspired to set out on such an adventure. Maybe something small though, like hiking the Sea to Sky Trail, from Whistler to Pemberton, once it’s completed.
But for now, I can go and borrow another book from the library.