Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is a great undertaking. There are numerous threats to life and limb. All of Mother Natures weapons on full display. I lived in the desert of California for a while, and it is miserable. It’s crazy to think that the internet was in its infancy and there she didn’t have the resources of google, but simply a single book, “The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume I: California”. Cheryl Strayed probably should have read that book, and several other books, before she jumped on the trail. That is really impressive. When I first got to 29 Palms, it took me a week to acclimate to the heat and altitude. It’s good that these stories give her a look ahead to what might face her as she goes.
Having never read any of the stories she chose to bring along, it is hard to say what their significance is. “As I Lay Dying” has the prospective of fifteen different people after Addie Burden’s death. Her own confusion and flurry of emotions after he own mothers death could be a story. From grief, to self inflicted pain, to doing heroine. Her life and choices were all down hill after losing her mother. Her sorrow was validated by a few characters in the story, and the more you can relate to a story, the better it is. The novels all seem very different. Any story written between midnight and four am, over six weeks, in a power plant in the 1920’s, is most likely dark, and brooding. She had become sad and was looking for a new beginning, so this might have give her a window into her own past.
“Wild”, is an engaging story. Once you begin reading it, you have to see what happens next. The stories Cheryl took with her on her trek through the PCT probably have a common theme with her own.