Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Cheryl Strayed's Wild

I read this memoir, excited to encounter another woman's tale of walking the Sierras in her early 20s, as I did in the early 90s. But what a missed opportunity! Strayed writes of the "wilds" of the Sierras, but I can only use quotation marks for her version of "wild" since her trek omits Muir's "Range of Light" - the high jagged edge of the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite - AND the PCT is a veritable freeway of other hikers, not much truly wild about it.

“But walking along a path I carved myself--one I hoped was the PCT--was the opposite of using heroin. The trigger I’d pulled in stepping into the snow made me more alive to my senses than ever. Uncertain as I was as I pushed forward, I felt right in my pushing, as if the effort itself meant something. That perhaps being amidst the undesecrated beauty of the wiilderness meant I too could be undesecrated, regardless of what I’d lost or what had been taken from me, regardless of the regrettable things I’d done to others or myself or the regrettable things that had been done to me. Of all the things I’d been skeptical about, I didn’t feel skeptical about this: the wilderness had a clarity that included me.” (143)

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