Wild

By | February 1, 2015

I had started reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed shortly after I was diagnosed with cancer – just as I began chemotherapy. Unfortunately, that didn’t go over too well. Reading about her mother dieing of cancer left me with thoughts of my death and how difficult that would be on my loved ones. I was overcome by sadness and depression. I realized at that time that I could no longer handle emotional subjects. I needed to limit my reading to lighter topics.

A couple weeks ago, I finally felt ready to continue with the book. I had heard the movie has come out, and wanted to read the book before watching the movie. Since I really enjoy the genre of adventure travel, I figured I’d enjoy her journey of walking the Pacific Crest Trail. The book itself is much more than an adventure travel journal, it is a memoir of a difficult life that I suspect was very difficult to write.

I finished reading the book this weekend, reading by candle light (good that my Kindle is backlit) in a tent cabin at Big Basin Redwoods State Park. It felt appropriate to be reading about her walking through the woods while sitting under giant Red Woods. I highly recommend the book.

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When I think about writing a book about my Going East journey or my Cancer journey, I struggle with how to find my literary voice. I also struggle with how to write something that is good. I’ve mostly figured out the blog genre. I’m happy with how I write when I blog (most of the time anyways), but I have no idea what my voice would look like in a book format.

In addition to lots of reading, we also took a walk in the wood – 5.5km (2 hours) – the furthest I’ve walked in a single walk in a long time. Since it was in the woods, it was more of a hike involving ascending and descending various hills. Just over a week ago, we increased my dose of gabapentin (used to help reducing the side effects associated with neuropathy). I’m happy to report that the increased dose seems to be working. I’m not only stronger, but I’m feeling my feet for longer. I mostly notice the neuropathy kicking in after about 30 minutes of walking. After an hour, it is rather painful, so the second hour I become more focused on walking and the pain, and less focused on what is around me (a shame given the I’m surrounded by 2000 year old trees).

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Overall, it was a good weekend. We arrived home tired. Camping in January in Northern California is cold (not as cold as Yurt camping in Ottawa, but still, it is cold). We were very thankful for the wood stove in the tent cabin. My current post-surgical condition (difficulty using my abdominal muscles to sit up) made it that much more challenging. We were thankful that we opted for the more expensive tent cabin rental option, rather than trying to sleep in our tent. As much as i enjoyed being up at Big Basin, and the hike we did on Saturday, I don’t foresee us camping in January again anytime soon.