Female Hikers Flock to Pacific Crest Trail In Wake of Cheryl Strayed Book, ‘Wild’
The Appalachian Trail has traditionally been the safe haven of choice for female hikers. Why? The main reason given is the expansive trail community. Quite simply, with that many of your fellow hikers around, along with the frequent trail towns, hiker hostels, trail magic, and the like, a woman has more protection on the AT. Frankly, this reasoning is sound. Yes, long-distance hiking is generally about as safe as regular life in the ‘real world’. But humans being humans–and males being males–occasionally there are incidents.
Nonetheless, despite all those valid reasons, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is seeing a surging number of female hikers. Why? The most obvious reason is the raging popularity of Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling book, Wild–From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. That’s as good of a reason as any. Heck, the AT experienced the same phenomenon upon Bill Bryson’s bestseller, A Walk in the Woods.
But I reckon the reasons for the female resurgence on the PCT are actually more profound. For starters, the PCT is simply a fabulous footpath, running through some of our nation’s most gorgeous landscapes. Why wouldn’t women hikers want part of that. Women are fighting in combat positions, so they surely are intrepid enough to take to America’s hiking trails alone, take what comes, just like their male counterparts. And with the sharp upsurge in traffic on the PCT, more trail communities are developing, offering greater levels of support. This should only increase when Cheryl Strayed’s book is released as a Hollywood movie later this month, starring Reese Witherspoon. These are heady times on the PCT, especially for women.
Bill Walker is the author of several popular hiking books including Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail and Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail. They are available on Amazon.com and Kindle.