Welcome back to the NWF book club! We have been going through some changes here and have had to take a short hiatus but are back up and running! We are changing the book club posts to the first Friday of every other month (the next one will be in December) so be sure to check in then!

This Month’s Book: Wild

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed follows a young woman through tragedies and trials through her healing on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). An inexperienced outdoors woman, Strayed embarked on a two month journey to try and find herself, her family, and a previously unattainable peace in her mind and heart. The trail provides a backdrop to her journey, guiding her through her own history and helping repair a rift in her heart.

Join in the Conversation

Getting out into nature is a wonderful way to push yourself, become closer to nature and the world around you. Hiking, camping, and generally getting out into the natural world is beneficial for all of us! Many of us use nature as a form of therapy, escaping to the coast, mountains, or desert to calm our nerves and rejuvenate ourselves. These experiences range from a few hours to a few months but are important. Strayed was lucky enough to be able to be able to experience the wild of the PCT.

The PCT is a 2,650–mile long trail which runs through Washington, Oregon and California from the border of Mexico to Canada. Travelers along the trail pass through desolate deserts and climb high mountain passes. It shows these adventurers the meaning of hot, dry, cold and wet. It brings you closer to yourself, nature and your companions on the trail.

While reading, the following questions came to my mind. Please use the comment section below to start or join in a conversation about the book.

  • Strayed used the experiences on the trail to learn more about herself and to help herself heal. How have you used nature to help you in times of trial?
  • From the beginning, Strayed shows an ignorance of the trail, such as her overly heavy pack, her lack of training, or knowledge of things like navigation. Do these trials show her strength and ability to succeed despite these hurdles or make her simply lucky to have survived?
  • The PCT is a huge investment of time, something that most of us do not have. Can you have a similar experience on a shorter trip, such as one that lasts a week?

November/December’s Book

A River LostThe NWF book club is changing from a book every month to one every two months. This session we will be reading A River Lost: The life and Death of the Columbia by Blaine Harden. Through the book we follow the history of the Columbia from a powerful, wild river filled with salmon to the mechanized river that we know today. Its power has changed from one of a crashing, wild river to the hum of power generation from dams and the water being pumped from the river to supply water for desert agriculture. The once abundant salmon have greatly diminished.

Questions while reading:

  • The might of the Columbia now produces clean, cheap energy which helps reduce the impact of many Northwest cities. This clean energy comes at a price, however, as the dams have compromised our salmon runs. Is this reward worth the impact on our salmon?
  • Like many great rivers the Columbia’s water has been used to bring agriculture to the desert. Without the dams, agriculture would not be able to thrive in these areas, but is comes at a great cost, reducing the amount of water in the river and in the case of some it means that these great rivers have run dry. Is this an appropriate use of our rivers or should we ensure that they are able to thrive along side of us?
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Published: October 26, 2012