Genre : Travel and story
Age recommended : For teens, adults and up.
Author : Cheryl Strayed
Readers intended : Backpackers, hikers, non backpackers, ones with hyper imagination prowess.
Why ‘Wild’? : It all started with my admiration for my friends who love to hike in the wild. Once they go hiking on hills, its my soul which toggles on its impatient mode at its ever best. I cannot wait for them to return because most of the times, they come back with the most amazing experiences in their caddies. Those tales of adventures are so endearing that I could keep listening to them without a single moment of boredom. And my imagination runs on such a hyper mode that i can’t help picturing myself in that wilderness, up on those hills, trodding on the rugged terrain,my shoulders drooling with the weight of the monster sized backpack. Its like a natural technology that makes me feel the nature through their words. This bucks up a lot of excitement in me about backpacking and hiking. I came across this exact kind of experience documented and spiced up with a hint of fiction, one day while skimming through goodreads. Lusted by the passion of travel and books, it did not take a second thought for me to order this book on Amazon. Mind you! I have never seen this one on a heavy sale. But, chuck it. It’s totally worth every penny you spend to own it.
What is it all about? : This book is about a woman, who sets on a hike over the Pacific Crest Trail, a long distance and equestrian trail bordered by multiple states in the USA. And she decides to do it alone. Please note that this is not a travel journal that lists out do’s and dont’s for hikers and backpackers. The reason why a girl with very little local hiking experience sets out on an excruciatingly, long trail forms the crux of this book. Its about the abundance of love she has for her mother, about the feeling of being shredded apart by her untimely death, about her, drifting into drugs and infidelity and ultimately admitting it to her husband. It’s about messing up her life and then taking charge of it to straighten it out in her own difficult way. Warning : The beginning of this book can envelope you in a gloomy atmosphere and make you weep with grief.Later part, though, is like a roller coaster ride. There’s this thrill of a lone woman hiker backpacking through sheer wilderness, there are beautiful lakes, clear sky, green meadows, snow covered hills, lucid streams and fluid nature, there’s a list of specials she meets on her way. One day its a rattle snake, and the second day, the wilderness throws a bear on her way to wrestle through. You will experience snow on some days, and the feeling of going through extreme heat the very next day with her. She transitions many strangers into friends in her journey. There’s respect she earns from her fellow hikers who crown her with a tag – Queen of PCT. Its all about the art of accepting the wild as your home and the feeling of getting accepted by the wild as one of them. Most importantly, its about a woman on her trail, lone and strong, walking away miles in search of herself. My personal favorite is towards the end, when she realizes how valuable the silence of those weeks of hiking was to her than the cacophony of city life. The language is crisp. Cheryl has expressed her feelings with such clarity, the reader can easily get into her skin and feel the thrill – the mountains, the snow, the animals, the wild. Undoubtedly, this travel literature takes you through a journey of self discovery and healing by losing yourself to the wild. If you are a seasoned hiker, you should read this. You will be surprised how much you can relate to it. If you are much of a roll-in-the-couch-with-a-book person (like me), well, then you should definitely read it. Because, since the probability of actually living it up is low, it feels beautiful to sit in the corner of this world and feel the journey through a virtual medium.
Looking for Bonus?? Along with the adventure and thrill of backpacking life,you get to know a real life tale of profound love, which will stay with you, for long, even after you have turned away the last page of this travel blog. Don’t miss this one. Its wicked and it’s wild!
My Rating : 9/10 because this story exists, and so does this brave woman. ( based on her true experiences).