I went to see the movie before I started reading the book. I know, I know, it’s sacrilege. But seeing the movie WILD made me want more, in a good way, and I didn’t think having seen the movie would impact my experience of reading the book. So far, it hasn’t. Maybe the events that happen in the book don’t have as much surprise or weight because I remember them from the movie, but what I like about both the movie and the memoir is that it is about so much more than just the events.
I have a fair amount of back-country hiking and camping experience. Most of it terrible. Like really really terrible. My dad grew up a Boy Scout and we lived near the Shenandoah Mountains portion of the Appalachian Trail. I didn’t actually know there was such a thing as “car camping” until my late teens, and even then my family wasn’t allowed to camp in those campgrounds except a handful of times out of necessity.
Despite ridiculous ascensions, washed out trails, puking, lots and lots of rain, family dysfunction, emergency clinic visits, and more lightning/rain/hail/snow/wind, I truly loved and still love being in the woods. The words that come to mind are “quiet” and “stillness” yet neither of these things exist, at all, in the woods. Everything is moving. Everything makes noise. There is something in the isolation, though, that feels quiet and still. And I need that in order to make sense of my world.