Pacific Crest Trail Population Should Increase Upon Publication of New Hollywood Movie, Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Cheryl Strayed, Pacific Crest Trail, pacific crest trail books, Pacific Crest Trail News | 2 comments

This is great news for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). As all former PCT hikers know, the PCT is the most gorgeous, isolated terrain on the entire American mainland. It is the closes most of us mortals will ever get to the epic explorers of yore (Christopher Columbus, Captain Cook).

But because the PCT begins in the desert and then heads up into the high mountains, it has never been able to attract the masses of hikers that the Appalachian Trail does (4,000,000 annually). That is a shame. But with the Hollywood production of this memorable story by Cheryl Strayed (‘Wild’), hopefully that will increase awareness of this national gem, the Pacific Crest Trail. In my case, it proved to be the journey of a lifetime, and will almost certainly be for anyone else who gets the privilege. “Solvitur ambulando (Walking Solves All),” St. Augustine memorably wrote. Well stated. The more people walk–especially on pristine land such as the Pacific Crest Trail–the better off we will be as a society.

People have been asking me whether I am concerned about this new book, given that I am also the author of a Pacific Crest Trail narrative, Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail. The answer is a resounding NO. Hopefully, this book (‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed) and this movie will be the smashing successes they deserve to be.

Reese Witherspoon buys movie rights to Cheryl Strayed’s memoir

Published: Thursday, March 08, 2012, 4:35 PM Updated: Thursday, March 08, 2012, 6:21 PM

By Jeff Baker, The Oregonian



Benjamin Brink/The OregonianPortland author Cheryl Strayed
Actress Reese Witherspoon has purchased the movie rights to Portland writer Cheryl Strayed’s forthcoming memoir “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail” and plans to star in it as Strayed.

The deal, negotiated by Strayed’s film agent, Shari Smiley, has been in the works for several months and was revealed Thursday as part of an announcement about Witherspoon’s new production company, Pacific Standard. Witherspoon, who won an Academy Award for “Walk the Line,” was attracted to Strayed’s story of hiking a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail alone following a divorce and the death of her mother. Witherspoon read an advance copy of “Wild” (the book will be released March 20) and talked to Strayed for an hour about it.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled,” Strayed said. “She’s such a wonderful combination of smart and charming. I really feel like she saw my vision and is the perfect person to bring it to the screen. If a genie gave me three wishes about who would play the part, she would be my first wish.”

It’s been a busy few months for Strayed. On Valentine’s Day she revealed she was Dear Sugar, an online advice columnist for The Rumpus. The column is popular and the revelation caused a sensation; Strayed said she received 6,000 emails in the first five days after the announcement and about half of them were thank yous. She continues to write Dear Sugar while preparing for a book tour for “Wild” and is relieved that her two big secrets — the Witherspoon announcement and her identity as Dear Sugar — are out.

“I felt like I was walking around like a bottle of Champagne that somebody had shaken up,” Strayed said.


  1. Dear Skywalker,

    Thanks for the sweet words! And I totally agree with you that there is room for more than one book about the PCT. Mine is just one story of many. Happy trails!



  2. Cheryl,

    Bill Bryson spurred millions to hike the Appalachian Trail. And undoubtedly you are going to do the same for the Pacific Crest Trail.

    In a country with so much endemic anxiety in daily life, that is a priceless achievement. Most people find these long hikes to be game changers.



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