Cheryl strayed decided in 1995 that she would walk the PCT after years of denying herself peace. Cheryl had a hard time dealing with the loss of her mother, turning to drugs and meaningless sex to make herself feel whole again. The PCT changed her life, made her see things differently and in that made her write the book.
I’m quite an outdoorsy person, I live in the west of Yorkshire surrounded by trails, fields and reservation areas, so the notion of someone hiking for so long didn’t seem like an extremely daunting task to me, until I started reading this book.
I know that the length of the west coast of the US mainland is huge and a big thing to aspire to hike, but it’s not impossible, people do it all the time. But for someone with no experience or knowledge of the wilderness to do it on their own, it takes some courage (I couldn’t do it on my own).
This book started off with Cheryl’s history, and it was quite upsetting. Even though her childhood had been far from idyllic, she managed to get through it and her bond with her mother was stronger. Then it get’s into a sort of switcheroo with flashbacks thrown in between her days hiking, and they’re not pleasant either.
Despite the extremely depressing scenes (like with her Horse and her mum dying and her self destruction) it was an inspiring and uplifting book to read. It made me feel powerful and strong and that I could overcome anything, just like she had. It made me want to go hiking myself, in order to find some enlightenment. And even though I was already expecting it from the book, it hits you like a ton of bricks when you realise that everything Cheryl went through may have changed her, but she had the strength the change into the person she wanted to be, along with everyone else she meets on the PCT.
I highly recommend this book, it’s an emotional rollercoaster but it’s one of those books you fall in love with.
Overall score: 9/10 (sad scenes make it a 9 instead of a 10)
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Photo credit: goodreads.com