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Cheryl Strayed, Author of 'Wild,' Examines Her Pacific Crest Trail Journey with Oprah

Cheryl Strayed, a backpacking novice whose impulsive decision to hike 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail at age 26 resulted in the best-selling memoir Wild, was Oprah Winfrey's first guest as Winfrey launched Oprah's Book Club 2.0 Sunday (July 22) on Winfrey's OWN network.

The complete episode of Sunday's telecast (run time: nearly 90 minutes) as well as shorter outtakes from the full interview are available at Winfrey's website. Below is one segment where Strayed describes the challenge of adapting to one of her new realities: an overburdened backpack she eventually dubbed "Monster":

The following clip comes from Strayed's website, which provides context to the factors that prompted her journey:

WildWild, one of the most-discussed books of 2012, including a memorable New York Times review, recounts Strayed's tenacity to complete the challenge—largely spurred by her mother's death at 45—despite no previous backpacking experience, encounters with wildlife, and conditions that ranged from deep snow to desert heat.

It is the written word, we learn, that ignited Strayed's zeal for the journey. In the second segment of Winfrey's 2-hour program, Strayed explains how she once picked up a copy of the California volume of the long-running Pacific Crest Trail guidebook series from Wilderness Press (now in its 6th edition and divided into Southern California and Northern California books as well as an Oregon-Washington volume) and read the description on the back cover.

PCT"It seemed like such an important thing, such a grand thing, such a significant thing," she said, "and I was none of those things at that moment in my life, and I just knew that I wanted to attach myself to it. I knew instinctively that the wilderness was the place that I felt most gathered. I was in serious need of gathering at that time."

What's your response to Cheryl Strayed's tale?

Photo of Strayed from PCT trail photo by T.D. Wood.

Posted on at 4:49 PM

Tagged: Cheryl Strayed, Oprah Winfrey, Wild and book

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Hey, guess what?? This author is in Olympia!! No, seriously. Don't watch a recording, go talk to her yourself. At Orca Books, downtown Oly, 7pm.

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T.D. Wood Staff Member

Correct you are, savvy reader. Strayed is also appearing in Bellingham, Wash., on July 24, Seattle on July 25, San Francisco on July 27, La Jolla on July 28 and two Los Angeles stops on July 29 and 30. On Aug. 1 she's in Chicago and Aug. 2 in New York. Details found here: Note: She'll appear at the downtown Seattle REI store on Sept. 28.


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