I'm not a female thru-hiker. I'm not qualified to review Cheryl Strayed's, Wild. Patches is.
I once met a guy -- a 30-ish white freelance ghostwriter -- who wrote the autobiography of a prominent black lady. I say that because when you hear someone's opinion it's wise to consider the source. Sure, that guy could write about what it was like for a young black girl to grow up and face discrimination -- but he didn't experience it himself.
That's why, in my humble opinion, the best review of Cheryl Strayed's book, Wild, was posted by a woman who refers to herself as Patches or PatchesThru. She is similar to and, at the same time, terribly unlike Cheryl Strayed.
Patches -- whose real name, I think, is Jocelyn Songer -- is a lady who solo-hikes long distances, as did Cheryl Strayed. Patches's review of Wild is as much a reaction as it is an action, after being asked her opinion of Cheryl and her adventures/misadventures too many dang times.
Here's the bio Patches posted on her blog, Resonant Living:
I am a maverick neuroscientist that has traded a university faculty position for a life on the trail. Wherever I go, I look to the highest peak and then try to find a way to get myself there. This has led me to the summits of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mount Rainier in Washington State, Cerro Chirripo in Costa Rica, and Yarigatake in Japan amongst others. I've been on backpacking trips in heat waves (the Grand Canyon in Arizona and the Verdon Gorge in France come to mind), in blizzards (in Austria and when snowshoeing at Crater Lake, OR), and in endless rain (Glacier National Park, MO and the Olympic Mountains, WA) and have found myself hiking all over the world (Iceland, Japan, Austria, and Switzerland). Through it all one thing remains constant, my love of throwing a pack on my back and heading off on an adventure.
Hiking for one day, the weekend, or even a week somehow just hasn't been enough, so I've set my sights on the long distance trails. First, I did a southbound thru-hiked the Long Trail in Vermont and, most recently, I completed a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (2013). For 2014, I'm doing a northbound thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail.
In addition to the blog, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just look for patchesthru!
If you want to know what it's like for a father to hear his daughter say,
"Dad! I'm moving to Australia for the summer!" Or, "Dad! I'm moving to South Korea for a year to teach English!" Or, "Dad! I met this guy! And we're getting married! This Saturday! Wanna come?"
I'm your guy.
For insights into Wild that you and I will never earn, I leave you to the work of Patches.
Give yourself a few minutes to absorb yourself in her passionate embrace of Cheryl Strayed's:
Please don't do anything stupid all alone in the woods (or in big cities), as Cheryl did repeatedly. Just because she survived, you might not. Take care of yourself. Please.
Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, Movies, and Entertainment
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