First photos released of Reese Witherspoon playing Cheryl Strayed in ‘Wild’

Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Cheryl Strayed, Skywalker--Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail | 0 comments

Reese Witherspoon has released the first photo (see link above) of her playing Cheryl Strayed in the upcoming Hollywood movie, ‘Wild’. The long-distance hiking community eagerly awaits this film. Already Cheryl Strayed’s book has had a tangible effect as the number of hikers who applied for thru-hiking permits on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) in 2013 was 25% greater than the previous year. Unsurprisingly, the biggest increase was seen among female hikers.

As a hiker I find this all very exciting. The PCT will never replace the Appalachian Trail as America’s trail of the masses, but it is now firmly established as a great national scenic trail in its own right, with a stunning variety of terrain (desert, High Sierra, Northern Cascades). Its beauty is legendary in the hiking community. Strayed’s book underlines the starkness, the implacability, the overwhelming aridity that characterize the American West.

In the book, she names her backpack, ‘Monster’, because like so many new hikers she was carrying way too much weight. One thing that struck me was how alone she was almost the entire time; in my 2009 I was part of the ‘bubble’ of thru-hikers. The PCT has become much more popular since Mrs. Strayed walked it. And hopefully it will gain ever more participants.

Folks, this can only be good in a country with a 30% national obesity rate and off-the-chart levels of anxiety, depression, and other maladies. Cheryl Strayed, played by Reese Witherspoon, can serve as an example for all of us when things are not as you want them to be in the ‘real world’. She was suffering from depression due to a divorce from a man she still loved, the death of a mother she was attached to, and heroin use; to top it all off, she had almost no money. But she was willing to stick her neck out and take what comes. That’s what long-distance hiking is all about; I highly recommend her book, ‘Wild–From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’, as well as following in her footsteps on this great national scenic trail. You haven’t got to do the whole thing. ‘Hike your own hike’ is the mantra of the hiking community; that is ever so valid after reading this book.

Bill Walker is the author of Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail. He is also the author of Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail, The Best Way–El Camino de Santiago, and Getting High–The Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.

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