Time Magazine Article on Cheryl Strayed–Author of Popular Pacific Crest Trail Book
“Should I do the Pacific Crest Trail this summer?” one anxious caller asks Cheryl Strayed, author of the smashing new bestseller, ‘Wild–From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’.
“Go,” Strayed immediately exhorts the caller. “Do it.”
Indeed, anecdotal evidence shows that many people are following her advice and headed out for sojourns on that great western trek, the 2,663 mile Pacific Crest Trai (PCT)l. This is nothing but good news for everyone–the hikers, American society with our 22% obesity rate, and, yes, Cheryl Strayed. The Appalachian Trail does sometimes receive complaints about overcrowding (I’m not one of them, there is also plenty of solitude on the AT). But the Pacific Crest Trail is especially vast and unadulterated by the masses. Better yet, the hikers who do it are almost without fail blown away by the experience. The great hope is that Cherl Strayed’s popular narrative, Wild, will boost foot traffic on the PCT, the way Bill Bryson’s bestseller, A Walk in the Woods, did for the Appalachian Trail.
This week’s Time Magazine has a feature article on Cheryl Strayed, who has developed an intensely loyal following. The article describes her as sharp-witted, which surely is no exaggeration. Consider this piece of advice to one divorced man: “Strategic and coy are for jackasses. Be brave. Be authentic.” Or how about this riposte to a man wondering if he should father children: “You’ll never know of the life you don’t choose. It was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us.”
Cheryl Strayed did the PCT pretty much the old-fashioned way back in 1995. She started in the middle of the Mojave Desert and just started ambling north. Like most rookie hikers, she had an insanely overweight backpack. And like many long-distance trekkers, both new and old, her feet (and toenails) suffered greatly. “It took a few years for my toenails to be normal again,” she says plainly.
Outdoors–and by extension, wilderness–seem to be virtually written into the American DNA. Cheryl Strayed’s book ‘Wild’, is another in a long line of American classics on the great outdoors, whose authors include such revered names as Thoreau, Muir, and Emerson. I highly recommend it. And read this Time Magazine article to get a flavor of the depth of the narrative’s author, Cheryl Strayed.
Bill Walker is the author of Skywalker–Highs and Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail (2010). He is also the author of Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail (2008), as well as The Best Way–El Camino de Santiago (2012). Walker, who is just shy of 7-feet tall, is now working on a whimsical book on the subject of height.