An incredible and unputdownable book that was relatable on many levels -Wild is the (true) story of a young woman who takes up the daunting journey of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a ~1000 miles journey along the Pacific coast , in an attempt to find herself and rebuild her life. Told in a simple yet powerful language, Cheryl makes you ‘feel’ the journey, almost in a physical way.
The narrative switches from the physical and mental challenges of the trail itself to the emotional ups and downs of her life. Grief stricken from the loss of her mother, and being in a confused and sorrowful state of mind, Cheryl undertakes the journey on a whim, hoping to ‘find’ herself on this journey.
And she does! One can feel the breathtaking sights she passes, described in brilliant detail, as her many emotions ranging from anger, sorrow, helplessness and sheer physical burden of hiking the trail. The story is very interesting; with her solo trekking interspersed by various characters that also hike the trail along the same duration. The story alternates from the present hike to various past incidents and memories of her life, her childhood and the grief of losing her mother. The emotions around losing her mother are so palpable, as is her entire description of her mother’s love, which is the kind of love most mothers give.
You want to salute her sheer grit and willpower, and empathize with the scary situations she faces – from rattlesnakes and bears, to having less than a dollar to last for about a 100 mile journey, from facing a creepy man in the wilderness to not having water on a desert. ‘Put this on your resume’, she is advised by a lady she bumps into at one of the resupply stops. And one would agree that hiking such a trail, as a single young woman, unprepared for the task at hand both physically and financially, is a tale of strength.
The amount of planning and the physical and mental strength needed to endure cold, lonely nights, hot, dusty days and a very heavy backpack (she names it Monster) is tremendous. She is aptly anointed the queen of the PCT (short for the Pacific Crest Trail), lauded by many along her trail for being the only woman to do it alone. As a reader, I felt many of her emotions and couldn’t wait to end the journey and triumph with her as she completed it. There is just so much to love about this book, a huge thumbs up from me.
Ending this with a quote quoted before one of the chapters ‘What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life’?