I read a lot.  As in multiple books a week and multiple books at a time a lot.  Each time I hit up the library I choose adult novels that look good (or I’ve had recommended) and young adult books I can, in turn, recommend to my students.  I’ve read loads of great books lately.

But the book that has really stuck with me is Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.  Cheryl Strayed has lost her mother to cancer, her marriage has ended in divorce, and she has become estranged from the rest of her family.  Four years have passed and she is stuck.  Her life has become one bad mistake after another.

Cheryl determines that something has to change.  She has to change.

She decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Washington State.  It begins as “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.”  Cheryl has no experience as a hiker, a backpack that dwarfs her in size and weight, but the desire to start her life anew.

I laughed with (and sometimes at) her, sympathized with situations she ended up in, and complained when I felt she made the wrong decision.  It left me feeling empowered, considering ways I could step out and attempt to tackle those things I’ve only imagined trying, and inspired to change the way I look at what is acceptable or safe for me as a woman to conquer.

And it totally made me want to go backpacking.

Which the Boomtown Sisters will be tackling with their Dad this spring.

**Note to self:  Don’t read books about battling wild animals or hiking Everest.  You’re kind of the highly suggestible type.