Monday, September 9, 2013

Wild is not Totally Wild at all

I just finished reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It was meh. It wasn't the best book I ever read but it did make me curious about the Pacific Crest Trail. And, I do have admiration that Strayed completed the trek with no ounce of training. I admire that she was gutsy enough to set foot on the trail solo.

I like adventures. I like reading about them, watching movies about them, and experiencing them first hand. I haven't ever had quite an adventure like Strayed had but that is ok by me. I actually would like to know less about Strayed's sexual adventures. I think I would have enjoyed her book more if she left that part out and focused on the adventures of the trail itself. I get that it was cathartic for her to get all of the words out and tell her story but yeesh!

I was thinking about the boldness of stepping into the wilderness for basically 3 months. That is boldness in spades! I can't imagine that you would be the same person at the end of the trek that you were at the beginning. The resilience it would take to live by the whims of nature is mind-boggling to me.

I know that I am a weenie. I love hiking and have hiked 20 miles in a day. But, at the end of the day there was a shower and a bed. Strayed hiked miles upon miles with no shower promised to her at sunset and no flush potties waiting for her rump. I could go a day - maybe. I don't like to be gritty and smelly and stain streaked. I will ride a canoe and hike a mountain and even jump out of a plane but I must have a shower and a potty when the day ends. And, I would not turn down a razor and a toothbrush!

In the book, Strayed talks about her over-packed backpack. I totally do not judge her because I would likely want to pull a wagon behind me to carry the odds and ends I think I would need on such a journey. Toilet paper comes to mind. As does toothpaste and a few bars of soap. And sneakers for when the boots become unbearable. Something about sneakers makes my feet happy! I would definitely want a pair of those for when the trail wasn't too strenuous. Something sweet that wouldn't melt would be good. Maybe gummy bears or licorice. Like Strayed, I would probably want a book or two and a light to read them by. I would also need a pad of paper and a pencil to record the events of each day. In short, I would need a lot. I have seen those garden wagons with monster truck wheels. That would need to be part of my gear unless I could round up a donkey.

I wanted to hear more about the friends that Strayed made on the trail. I wanted her to expound on the sounds in the woods whether real or imagined that she heard as her journey began to wind down. Some parts of the book where so descriptive that I felt as though I was right there with her plopped on a log watching the events unfold. Others were skimmed over like she was tired of writing. 

I am curious what other readers of the book felt? I would encourage others to read it because some parts are bewildering and some parts are exciting and still other parts are heart-wrenching.  The book, like its topic, is a journey. It will take you from California to Oregon but it won't happen overnight.

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