Categories: Art+CultureOutdoors

Top 5: Cheryl Strayed

Cheryl Strayed was 26 when she stripped down her life to a backpack and hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, four years after her mother died of cancer at the young age of 45. No answers came out of that journey except a new resolution to go on. A good amount of writing followed—including Tiny Beautiful Things and her most recent Wild, both of the New York Times bestselling flavor. Wild is a compelling memoir of letting go and going on along the PCT . Now living in Portland, Cheryl Strayed shares some wisdom for those venturing onto the Pacific Crest Trail.

Author Cheryl Strayed’s Top 5 Tips for Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail

1 – Size Matters

At least when it comes to shoes. Trust me on this. You’ll be happy to finish your hike with all ten toenails.

2 – Go Alone

Even if only for an afternoon. It’s wonderful to hike with family and friends, but something different happens when you’re is alone on the trail. The solitary mind wanders in directions that conversations can’t.

3 – Really Go Alone

No phones or music or anything that enables you to tweet “Hey, I’m on the PCT !” Disconnect from your technological toys so you can connect with something else: the glorious cacophony of the wild. When you do that, you can hear the stream running deep in the gully beyond view. You can hear the birds in the trees. You can hear yourself.

4 – Bring Chocolate

Or whatever feels like a reward to you. It tastes better with trail dust on it.

5 – Walk into the Darkest Woods Without a Stick

By which I mean the best, most important things require us to push bravely into the unknown. Do that even if it scares you a little (though you might want to bring a trekking pole).

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