Wild is the story of author Cheryl Strayed, who left behind a broken life to find herself along more than a thousand miles of the rugged Pacific Crest Trail, starting in California’s Mojave Desert and ending at the Oregon/Washington border. Strayed tells her compelling tale beautifully (sometimes in cringeworthy detail) of the beauty, people, and the hardships she encountered along the way. In a way it is Eat, Pray, Love in the wilderness, but I found Strayed more relatable. While it didn’t make me want to go out and hike a thousand miles, it did put the bug in me to get out on the trail again. Wild is a quick page-turner, and I’m interested to check out the movie version.
At age 17, Frederick Dellenbaugh joined John Wesley Powell’s second Grand Canyon expedition. Thirty years later, he wrote his rapid-by-rapid account of it. His book includes all previous European explorations starting with Hernan Cortes in the 1530s. He chronicles steamboat expeditions, details Powell’s first trip, and debunks James White’s “splendid yarn,” of rafting the Grand Canyon in 1867, calling him a “champion prevaricator.” Dellenbaugh’s research is impeccable, but more important, he writes riveting true stories.
I loved this book, especially the detailed Spanish expeditions and steamboat information. When it got to his actual trip, it became a real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down until they got to shore safely for the night. Some of the book is pretty dry, and you can skim through that, but you’ll get fully immersed in the adventure when you get to the rapids.