Meagan’s Non-Fiction Pick:
(Knopf, March 2012)
Have you ever had an idea that seemed absolutely brilliant at the time but in the first few hours (or moments, or seconds…) of actually doing it, it suddenly hits you: “What was I thinking?” This is what happens to author Cheryl Stayed before she even sets foot on her 3-month trek of sections of the Pacific Crest Trail which spans the western United States from the Canadian to Mexican borders. In a motel room just before setting out on her journey, Stayed discovers she can’t even budge her monster pack off the floor without wrestling it up from a position on all fours. Once she sets foot on the trail however, she begins to learn the major differences between a few days backpacking trip or a day hike and attempting a major portion of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Strayed originally decided to hike the trail in an attempt to figure out her life and deal with her grief–her mother dying at 45 from cancer, a divorce from a man she still loved, a dangerous relationship with a junkie and her own ways of trying to fill the hole in her heart. The book is a fairly fast read, and very interesting- especially if you have an interest in hiking yourself (this book was pointed out to me because of that, with strict instruction I could not attempt the trail myself). It is more of a journal of how Strayed survived the trail and the people she met than of how she overcame her grief , but is a very good read none-the-less. And if that isn’t enough to grab you- included are stories of a Texas longhorn loose on the trail, bears, possible mountain lion stalkings, and pointers of bad places to take off your boots for a rest.