Cheryl Strayed in Conversation with Kate Levinson

Cheryl Strayed Talk

Cheryl Strayed in Conversation with Kate Levinson


At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage soon ended. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she impulsively decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail—from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State—and to do it alone. With no experience as a long-distance hiker, Strayed says the plan was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise” for piecing back together a life that had come undone.

Strayed's memoir relates how she faces down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and the loneliness of the trail. She vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

Strayed is the author of three books and a column on She is the winner of a Pushcart Prize as well as fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Sewanee Writers' Conference.

Recorded at Toby's Feed Barn, June 30, 2012