The writer and narrator of the memoir, Strayed is Wild’s uncontested protagonist. In the summer of 1995, she traveled the Pacific Crest Trail by herself on a path to self-discovery.
Strayed’s mother, who died of lung cancer at the age of 45. She is important to the memoir not so much for her presence as her absence. Bobbi’s death catapulted Strayed into a world of grief and confusion, and was one of the underlying reasons Strayed ended up on the Pacific Crest Trail in the first place.
Strayed’s stepfather. Although significantly younger than her mother, Eddie took on an important role in Strayed’s life as a father figure. He loved Strayed and her siblings Karen and Leif as his own, and was the person who first took Strayed camping. After Bobbi’s death, however, he distanced himself and became like a stranger to Strayed.
Strayed’s ex-husband. They married at the age of 19 and finalized their divorce just months before Strayed began hiking the PCT. At the time of Strayed’s journey, Paul still had a huge influence on her life. He wrote her several times on the trail, and her memories of him were happy and sad at the same time.
A man Strayed was involved with in Portland the summer before she hiked the PCT. Strayed moved in with him, and he introduced her to Heroin. He also impregnated Strayed, though she decided to terminate the pregnancy. Joe sent Strayed several letters while she was hiking.
Strayed’s good friend in Portland. Lisa was the one charged with sending the resupply boxes that Strayed relied on so heavily throughout her trip.
The first person Strayed met on the PCT. A much more seasoned hiker, Greg lifted Strayed’s spirits and inspired her to keep going just as she was considering quitting. She met up with him at later points in the trail, and spent a night with him in Sierra City before they parted ways for good.
One of the first and only other female hikers Strayed met over the course of her hike. She and Stacy traveled together on parts of the trail and stayed at the same hostel in Ashland. Although Strayed realized she and Stacy were so different that they probably wouldn’t have been friends in the real world, on the trail they became close.
Doug and Tom
Two hikers around Strayed’s age who followed behind Strayed for a portion of the trip. They eventually caught up with her, and the three became friends. Doug gave Strayed a lucky feather, which she carried with her for the remainder of her journey.
A handsome man Strayed met in Ashland at a club. She spent the night with him at an organic farm near Ashland and had sex with him on a beach the next day.
The Three Young Bucks
A handsome group of hikers in their early 20s: Rick, Richie, and Josh. Strayed befriended them in Oregon and found herself deeply attracted to Rick, although nothing ever happened between them. They became good friends, promising to keep in touch after the trail.