Posts Tagged ‘Cheryl Strayed’


image courtesy of Amazon

I am now telling anybody who will listen about my upcoming walk on the Camino de Santiago, partly because it’s only a year out now, and partly because I am just so excited that I have to share.  The parking officer by my building knows, the lady I pass on the East Campus trail knows, and my coworkers down the hall know.

When I told coworker G. about my plans, he asked if I had heard about “Wild,” the best-selling memoir by Cheryl Strayed, who hiked the Pacific Crest Trail without any training or previous backpacking experience.

I don’t follow best-seller lists, so I hadn’t heard about “Wild.” But I literally ran to the library to check out a copy. The Camino is not a wilderness experience, but I figured there might be something in this book for me.

Here are some of the things I had affirmed for me after reading the book:

1. Training is a really good thing, especially for those of us who are pushing 50 years old.

2. Taking practice hikes with the pack is also a good idea. Heck, just knowing whether or not you can actually lift a full pack onto your back is a good idea.

3. Properly fitted shoes are very important. So is having enough water.

4. People will be there to help you, if you open yourself up to that experience.

5. You can do things you might not think possible.

Other things I realized:  I am pretty attached to showers and to being able to put on a relatively clean set of clothing at the end of the day. I may have misread, but it seemed that Strayed only had one set of clothes available at a time. I’ll be switching between two, maybe three, outfits, so washing clothes will always be an option.

I also want to know that I have access to money if I need it.  Strayed ran out of money at several points during her trip, and that sounded more scary to me than her wilderness experiences.  Though I do have to say that ice-covered snow is never a good thing to deal with, whether you’re hiking the PCT or walking your dogs around the corner.

Another thing I must admit is that, at heart, I’m a bit of a chicken.

Wait, who am I kidding?  I’m the entire flock of chickens! 

I do love day hiking, but at this stage of my life, I would not feel safe spending the night in the wilderness by myself. Luckily, Strayed only had one scary experience with an unsavory character, and she was able to extricate herself from the situation.

Lastly, I love that Strayed named her pack.  I think naming the pack is a grand idea!   Strayed’s pack was called “Monster,” which fit with her experiences with the overly heavy piece of equipment.  However, I want my pack to have a name that implies adventure, security, joy and lightheartedness.  Any suggestions?


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