March 1, Tennessean, Laurie Handshu
On this side of the Mississippi it is not unusual to know of someone who has trekked the Appalachian Trail. If you haven’t had the chance to enjoy a day hike on the trail, you’ve probably seen plenty of badges of honor — AT stickers — on the back of SUVs. While stuck in city traffic waiting for the light to turn green, you may have daydreamed of walking sticks and cool streams and an AT escape yourself.
Across the Mississippi, folks are drawn to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. This 2,650-mile trail takes most thru-hikers five to six months to complete. That means hiking about 20+ miles daily — for months on end — ascending, descending across gravely paths, under the shade of ponderosa pines, navigating snow slides, enduring 100+ degree temperatures, sharing the trail with rattlesnakes, elk, lizards, bears and the occasional llama.
Not many folks would attempt an 1,000-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. Fewer still would admit to not preparing physically for the hike. Author Cheryl Strayed did just that. She made plenty of trips to her local REI to prepare her backpack, “Monster,” but she neglected to prepare for the physical endurance needed to meet the trail. In her words, she was “profoundly unprepared.” Her feet paid a heavy price for this lack of preparation and suffered mightly before she was named Queen of the Pacific Trail by fellow hikers.
In “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Coast Trail,” Strayed recounts the physical toll of hiking the trail and how the journey reset the course of her life.
Find a shady hammock, cue up Uncle Tupelo and Wilco, open a bottle of chilled Snapple lemonade and enjoy the adventure of her lifetime.
Also, check out the author’s fiction title, “Torch.”
Cheryl Strayed will discuss her memoir, “Wild,” which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0, at the Salon@615 event at 6:15 p.m. April 18 in the auditorium of Nashville Public Library. A book signing will follow.
This is a free ticketed event. Advance tickets are available for a $2.50 service fee per ticket.
Laurie Handshu works at the Nashville Public Library. For information, visit www.library. nashville.org or contact Renuka Christoph, library public relations, at Renuka.firstname.lastname@example.org.