Week 14, the second time around! I remember last session I watched the movie Rudy for this weeks assignment. So, I had watched all of the movies that were an option, but settled on the film “Wild”.
Its funny how I enjoyed this movie tremendously when I watched it in October, as an entertaining evening at home with my hubby. But watching it this time brought me to a different level. And I am glad that I had already watched it once before because it taught me a very valuable lesson. I need to be the observer even more!
I ended up tardy with my posting of this weeks lesson because I couldn’t merely place a few words on the page. I found myself so immersed with the entire experience this woman went through. And though I absolutely loved the film, I had to know the person whose life experience this really was. I had to fill in the little details that perhaps weren’t exciting enough for film.
So I continued my research on Cheryl Strayed, the woman who hiked the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) to find herself again, the person already inside of her, the woman she had lost along the way of life, grief and pain.
This story from the movie/book “Wild” is the result of Cheryl losing her mother to cancer…..while promised another year to live, she lives only 7 weeks. Cheryl is pissed off! At the world, at the doctors, at her mom. Even though she knows her mom would have chosen to live, she is still angry.
Cheryl was in a spiral for several years, approximately 4 years of bad choices, drugs, men and a broken marriage. It was at this breaking point in her life, that she decided she was going to hike the PCT and get her life back! She worked extra hours at her diner job as a waitress, and every week would purchase a few new items for her gigantic pack she would later name “Monster”.
Without any real preparation at all, Cheryl leaves her life behind, sells most everything she owns, loads up her truck with what little she has left, and drives to Oregon and leaves her truck and the pre packaged boxes that will be mailed to her along the trail.
She begins this journey in Mojave, CA Now, you may not be familiar with Mojave, CA, but it is a desert. Very hot in the summer, and DRY! Cheryl found this out very quickly. As she was not able to get to her next water source as quickly as she had thought she would.
This journey would take her approximately 1,000 miles and would take her 95 days to complete.
Self talk kicks in…..”Remember you can quit anytime!”
She travels only 5 miles the first day…as she is setting up camp, more self talk….this time to her mother “I thought of you today….I hope you won’t be mad at me if I quit.”
As she hears noises outside of her tent this first night, yet again self talk….”I am not afraid!”
Day 2 she discovers that she has brought the wrong type of fuel which is needed for the dehydrated food brought for her trip. So again, self talk….”Cold mush, cold mush, I will like and eat cold mush”.
Fast forward to Day 10, she is averaging only about 7 miles per day. On the trail she runs across a rattle snake…..again, self talk “I am not hungry, I do not miss food!” That evening while sleeping in her tent, she feels movement in her sleeping bag and thinks it is a snake, as she bolts out of the tent screaming, out crawls a little caterpillar. Hmmm….thinking about something, having fear of something, focusing on it gives it power. In this case the power made her actually believe there was a snake in her sleeping bag. Perhaps there were many things she simply was not prepared for.
Throughout this journey, Cheryl continues to reflect on the very painful moments of her life. As the moment when she decided to make this journey, she is “Walking herself back to the woman her mother thought she was.”
Day 14 she hits her first stop “Kennedy Meadows” which marks 100 miles she has traveled.
Stay tuned…..I will continue on with this post and bring it full circle….such an amazing story!