I normally don't do movie or book recommendations. I feel that my tastes in books & movie differ from other (normal) people. My picks can be somewhat twisted (or warped as the wife tells me) and what I find funny/interesting doesn't always follow the norm. I'll leave the movie reviews to Abby. She is way better at finding good movies and is pretty much spot on when it comes to her reviews. That said, I did want to share one of my recent screenings. I have a number of different movies queued up in my Netflix account. They are all over the road from new releases to comedies to classics. One that I bumped to the top of the list recently was the movie Wild with Reese Witherspoon. Based upon Cheryl Strayed's tale of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail alone.
Basically a story of a woman of finding redemption by hiking over 1000 miles on the PCT one summer. The PCT is over 2600 miles long and runs from the Mexico border all the way up to Canada crossing a wide variety of terrains/mountains. Not your typical Sunday stroll in the park. Definitely not for the novice or faint of heart. Cheryl hiked it solo back in 1995 after some personal tragedy as a means of finding her self. An interesting saga of how an ill prepared person with grit & determination can overcome some daunting challenges. Cheryl was definitely not prepared at the outset of her hike but she managed to conquer the trail despite all of the obstacles she encountered along the path. And, while I am not an overly huge Reese fan (was a pretty good June Carter), I really liked her portrayal. Very compelling. Something that I is on my bucket list that I will probably never cross off. And I found the story so interesting that I went out and bought the book. I've only done that 2-3 times when I found a movie interesting enough to dig into the back story. Again, I normally don't recommend books but this one was a great read.
I've hiked small portions of the Appalachian Trail (AT), but nothing more that a couple of weekend treks. Backpacking has always been a passion for me. Hiking & camping along the mountain trails was something that I would prefer to do in lieu of a vacation at a spa resort. That's why I was really into our treks at Philmont in New Mexico with the scouts a few years back. Unfortunately, we don't have too many mountains down here on the on the coast. I guess it started out when my family spent a few summers camping out in Colorado when I was a young pup. Long road trip from New Jersey in the old Pontiac station wagon. Later, when both brothers were off at college, my parents & I spend a few weeks in Red River, New Mexico. My dad & I hiked up to Middle Fork Lake and spent a few nights camping out. That sort of sparked my passion for backpacking/camping and led to my walkabout in 1977. The summer prior to my junior year I was taking some summer classes and working a minimum wage job down at the Chrysler dealership. Things were at a lull at the time and I was taking one of those motivational speaking courses for. One of the exercises was to express your passion and what you would do given the time and availability and I expressed my desire to go backpacking in the mountains. The instructor encouraged me to follow through on that desire and I jumped on the idea. Mom wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea but supported me nonetheless. I loaded up the Plymouth and headed west to West Texas and New Mexico. I spent 2.5 weeks roaming through west Texas and hiking the mountains of New Mexico. From the Guadalupe Mountains to Cloudcroft to White Sands to the Gila National Forest to Red River to Palo Duro Canyon. Nothing like the trek that Cheryl made, but it was a cathartic road trip for me. Something to recharge the batteries. Deep down, I'd love to make a long hike like she did but, at this stage, I have too many obligations and conflicts.