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9. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

I have read reviews calling this woman a "dimwit" and "self-absorbed". I can only say "BRAVO" to her! She did what many have never been able to do. What guts to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) with zero backpacking experience and being totally out of shape!

She is an intelligent writer. Some of her words were almost amusingly too "big" for this kind of book, but I couldn't put the book down (It helped that my back was out, and I had nowhere else to go). Her reflections are poignant, and those days of solitude and battling the elements were better than therapy. 

I had this on hold for months. Therefore I missed reading it before my library held a "Random Review" in December to a packed audience. The reviewer, Leslie Richards, had hiked all of the Oregon part of the PCT, but she reiterated that her story was "G rated" compared to Cheryl's. This made me hesitant to read it. Cheryl is brutally honest. So the book is definitely NOT "G rated". Cheryl was an extremely promiscuous 20-something, but I knew that deep down it was due to her deep need to get something that she did not get as a child. Some parts were "R" or even "X" rated; so be forewarned! Some excerpts were too graphic for my tastes, and I wonder that she doesn't have diseases brought on by her years of VERY casual sex with strangers! YUK! I was happy that she came to not want that by the end of the book. 

Another fun thing about the book was that she was at many places I have been on day hikes: Castle Crags, Jefferson Wilderness near Three Finger Jack, Crater Lake, Timberline Lodge. I imagined her hiking through, gazing at the beautiful blue of Crater Lake (just went there in September) or eating food in the over-priced dining rooms of the lodges! I wish I could have been there to treat her to a meal. She was so poor when she hiked the PCT, but I imagine that she is no longer poor now! This book is pretty popular!

All in all, this is a very well-written memoir. It inspired me to hike the PCT someday, but maybe I will wait until my back gets better. :) 

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