Once I picked it up, I could not put this book down. Cheryl Strayed is having a hard time coping with her mother's death from cancer. Her life falls apart and she strays far from the right path in life. One day she decides to solo hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California, Oregon and Washington State. She has no hiking experience and no clue what all is involved in such a long hike.
I loved reading her adventures tales and all of the hilarious - and sometimes scary - things that happen to the author on the PCT. It's not all adventure story, however, it almost qualifies as a memoir as a good bit of the book deals with the author's learning to cope with her mother's death. This is one of my favorite quotes from the book and one that I think gives a terrific idea of the author's mindset:
"It was a deal I'd made with myself months before and the only thing that allowed me to hike alone. I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked. Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away. I simply did not let myself become afraid. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn't long before I actually wasn't afraid."
I highly recommend this book.