Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Author:Cheryl Strayed [Strayed, Cheryl]
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Tags: Literary, Women, Pacific Crest Trail - Description and Travel, Hiking, Authors; American - 21st Century, Travel, American, Personal Memoirs, 21st Century, General, United States, Family & Relationships, Authors; American, Literary Criticism, Sports & Recreation, Death; Grief; Bereavement, Biography & Autobiography, Strayed; Cheryl - Travel - Pacific Crest Trail, Biography, Pacific Crest Trail
ISBN: 9780307592736
Google: 7DYvZHzdBPkC
Amazon: 0307592731
Publisher: Knopf
Published: 2012-03-20T04:00:00+00:00


PART FOUR

WILD

When I had no roof I made

Audacity my roof.

ROBERT PINSKY,

“Samurai Song”

Never never never give up.

WINSTON CHURCHILL

11

THE LOU OUT OF LOU

I was standing by the side of the highway just outside the town of Chester, trying to hitch a ride, when a man driving a silver Chrysler LeBaron pulled over and got out. Over the past fifty-some hours, I’d hiked fifty miles with Stacy and Trina and the dog, from Belden Town to a place called Stover Camp, but we’d split up ten minutes before when a couple in a Honda Civic had stopped, announcing that they only had room for two of us. “You go,” we’d each said to the other; “no, you go”—until I insisted and Stacy and Trina got in, Odin lumbering behind them to sit wherever he could, while I assured them I’d be fine.

And I would be fine, I thought, as the man who drove the Chrysler LeBaron made his way toward me on the gravel shoulder of the road, though I felt a sick flutter in my gut as I attempted to discern, in the flash of a second, what his intentions were. He looked like a nice enough guy, a few years older than me. He was a nice guy, I decided, when I glanced at the bumper of his car. On it, there was a green sticker that said IMAGINE WHIRLED PEAS.

Has there ever been a serial killer who imagined whirled peas?

“Hey there,” I called amiably. I was holding the world’s loudest whistle, my hand having traveled to it unconsciously over the top of Monster and around to the nylon cord that dangled from my backpack’s frame. I hadn’t used the whistle since I’d seen that first bear on the trail, but ever since then, I had a constant and visceral awareness of where it was in relation to me, as if it weren’t only attached to my backpack by a cord, but another, invisible cord attached it to me.

“Good morning,” the man said, and held his hand out to shake mine, his brown hair flopping over his eyes. He told me his name was Jimmy Carter, no relation, and that he couldn’t give me a ride because there was no room in his car. I looked and saw it was true. Every inch except the driver’s seat was crammed with newspapers, books, clothes, soda cans, and a jumble of other things that came up all the way to the windows. He wondered, instead, if he could talk to me. He said he was a reporter for a publication called the Hobo Times. He drove around the country interviewing “folks” who lived the hobo life.

“I’m not a hobo,” I said, amused. “I’m a long-distance hiker.” I let go of the whistle and extended my arm toward the road, jabbing my upright thumb at a passing van. “I’m hiking the Pacific Crest Trail,” I explained, glancing at him, wishing he’d get in his car and drive away. I needed to catch two rides on two different highways to get to Old Station and he wasn’t helping the cause.



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