Wild: Historical Context
Cheryl Strayed was born in is the author of the novel Torch, which was a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award. Her stories have also appeared in magazines and journals including The New York Times Magazine, Allure, The Missouri Review, and The Washington Post Magazine. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon, but is originally from Minnesota.
Strayed lived there until the age of 26, when she left for good to go on a 100-day hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, a hiking trail spanning the entire Sierra Nevada mountain range, from the Mexican to Canadian border. This journey served as the main inspiration for Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
The memoir was written to analyze not only Strayed’s experience of the trail itself, but also the crucial moments that led up to her decision to go in the first place. It is an examination of the hardships and grief she experienced before her journey, as well as her search for peace and understanding.
Strayed wrote Wild years after experience, consulting her personal journals and some of the people she traveled with as part of her research. She changed most of the names in the book as well as some details in order to protect their identities. She also omitted some experiences that she felt had no significant impact on the story.