Genre: nonfiction travel memoir
Length: 315 pages
Setting: Californian and Oregonian sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, around 2010
Interest: It was chosen as the book club book this month
Font: Adobe Garamond
Summary: Cheryl’s life is pretty much in a tailspin after her mother died, four years ago. Her family is no longer close, she started sleeping around on her husband, as well as doing drugs, and no she’s finally getting a divorce. Basically on a whim, she decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) to perhaps find herself again. She starts saving her money, buys all her equipment at REI that the salespeople suggest, and heads out. Once on the trail, she realizes how woefully unprepared she is for hiking the trail for the next 100 days. She meets several other hikers on the trail ans takes numerous detours, but makes her ultimate goal. She also reminisces about her mother’s life and some of her problematic life leading up to her decision to hike the PCT.
Final thoughts: I did not like Cheryl as person at all. When her mother died, she lost her anchor, and just fell apart. I didn’t hate her, because I could feel her grief, but I was frustrated and annoyed with most of her decisions. Even her decision to hike the PCT was a bad one. She was completely unprepared (she hadn’t even put her backpack on her back with all her gear in it until she was leaving the motel room the morning she started hiking! Surprise, surprise it was ungodly heavy). But again, I hesitate to say she should never have gone, because I do think she needed it. I think she’s lucky she didn’t end up in the hospital at some point on her trip.
I did enjoy her description of hiking. It’s put a little worm in my head of “what would it take to do a long, unsupported trip like this?” Of course, I would much prefer to bike than hike, but you miss some of that immersion in nature. Just stepping away from your regularly scheduled life for that long is a major achievement for most people, let alone hiking all those miles with all that weight on your back.
Title comes from: The last line of the book, “How wild it was to just let it be,” and the overall setting.
Reading challenges fulfilled: 41/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and a W in my Title Alphabet Challenge
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