Format : Paperback
My rating: /5
Review: I started reading his book in the month of May. But didn’t even reach half way and put this book on hold. Before completing this book, I ended up reading three other books. I didn’t felt much motivated reading this book. I saw this book has got very less rating. But still, decided to complete this book as I don’t like leaving any book on half way.
I started reading again from the beginning. But I don’t know why I liked it on my second read. Cheryl has been criticized for been so clumsy in her all life. She had done everything wrong in life. She didn’t have a stable job. She lost her mother when she was 22. Her mother was only 45 when she was diagnosed of cancer. And she just lived for 49 days more after her first diagnosis. Cheryl was completely broken after this. She screwed her life up. She didn’t complete her degree. She cheated on her kind husband Paul. She took a wrong decision to take a divorce from Paul. She had un-protected sex with many men. She got pregnant and had an abortion. She made a boyfriend name Joe, and in his company got addicted to heroin. She took a nasty decision to trek the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) all alone. Her planning for was trek was incongruous. She underestimated her expenses during the trail. She had no knowledge of back packing for a trek. She didn’t prepare herself for the trek appropriately. She didn’t know how to use her compass and the ice axe. Her only guide and reference was the book “The Pacific Crest Trail, Volume I: California by Jeffrey P. Schaffer”.
This is the path of PCT that she trekked:
She made an insane decision of trekking a distance of 11,000 miles in 3 months’ time without any guide or companion, all by herself, without any prior knowledge or experience of trekking. She sold all her belongings; spend money on buying trekking stuffs, left her job and saved every penny for her trek. Being a lone woman in the vast wilderness with a heavy monstrous back pack with no experience of prior trekking: No women in her proper senses can ever take such a wild decision. But Cheryl did. Her life was already scattered. There was nothing left with her to loose. She felt trekking a 11,000 miles long trek in the vast wilderness might give a purpose to her life.
During this time she suffered a lot: both mentally and physically. She feared and tried to be brave. Her toe nails kept coming out because of small shoe size. New blisters kept popping up on her toes. Her shoulders and back and hip keep getting peeled off because of the continuous rubbing of her luggage against her back. Her body ached. She initially carried gallons of water foolishly in her back pack. She came face to face with many wild animals on the trail, rattle snake, bear, fox. Initially she could only manage to trek 7-8 miles per day on an average. She felt protected inside her tent though it was just thin linen between her and the open wilderness. She kept motivating herself.
I knew if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Fear begets fear. Power begets power.
Her body started to adjust to the mountain’s extreme environment. She started feeling strong. Her average speed increased to 17-18 miles a day. She met many of her fellow trekkers on her way. Many of them helped her with what they can. She also got good knowledge about using the ice axe to clear the ice on the path and her monster back pack weight was reduced. She suffered the cold winters and hot summers in the mountain. She faced the ruthless weather and the charming climate in the mountains, trekking alone.
Alone wasn’t a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a way I never had before. Living at large like this, without even a roof over my head, made the world feel both bigger and smaller to me. Until now, I hadn’t truly understood the world’s vastness — hadn’t even understood how vast a mile could be — until each mile was beheld at walking speed.
She completed her trekking. She was able to forgive herself for what she had made her life into. She was ready to live her life as a new beginning.
If you are seeking technical knowledge on hiking and details about trekking the Pacific Crest Trail, then this book is not for you. This book is just the author memoir, of her miss-adventures on the huge wilderness of PCT, about her gathering her scattered self and give a meaning to her life. Though one can find few geographical knowledge of few places on the way and near to the PCT.
Find the quotes from the book here.