Wild’n Out: Cheryl Strayed makes your summer seem stupid


I am not, let us say, an outdoorsy person. I have no issue with being outside per seβ€”it’s a nice enough place, depending on location and season and proximity to a bathroomβ€”but it is my lifelong curse to prefer the climate-controlled confines of a manmade building or, at the very least, the squishy satisfaction of an oceanside beach chair. I want to like The Great Outdoors guys, I really do. It’s just that I’m, what’s that word….tip of my tongue….oh yes, that’s itβ€”I’m lazy.

Of course, it doesn’t take a lazy person to appreciate the concept behind Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: a solo 1,000+ mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, which is like the Appalachian Trail’s more rugged and less traversed western cousin. The ideaβ€”which Strayed developed in the aftermath of her mother’s death, her own bout with adultery and heroin, and her divorceβ€”is ludicrous, particularly for someone as inexperienced with backpacking as Strayed was. (Though it’s worth noting that, presented with the same challenge, I would be even less prepared: After just six hours wearing moderately ill-fitting flats for a wedding last weekend, I limped myself home so pathetically that you would have thought I’d been shot.)

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