Cheryl Strayed is the author of the critically acclaimed novel Torch and the memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
From Strayed's Q & A with Jennifer Billock for Yahoo! Travel:
What would you do differently if you hiked the PCT today?Author Pam Houston on Wild: "I read it on a long airplane flight, and by the time I was done the people all around me were seriously afraid of me. I was laughing so hard I was shaking the whole row of seats, and when I wasn’t laughing I was crying."
That’s a hard question to answer because on one hand, the reasonable part of me would say I would pack lighter. My pack was so heavy and caused me a lot of physical pain and hardship. Likewise, my boots. I would have shoes that were a better fit to my foot size and shape. But then, in some ways I’m grateful everything was just the way it was, because you never forget a lesson you learned the hard way. That turmoil and suffering and discomfort I went through contributed to making the trip so transformative for me. If everything had been easy, I would’ve had an experience that wasn’t as deep as the one I had.
What is the most common thing people ask you about the hike?
People are always saying, “Are your feet OK now? Did your feet recover?” It’s so funny because in fact, they are recovered — but it took a good few years for my toenails to grow back. Especially because I lost both of my big toenails, which it turns out is a big deal. It took them years to come back and another few years beyond that to be entirely normal. I also get asked a lot if I would do it again, and the answer is...[read on]