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Reese Witherspoon Plays Oregon Woman Who Hikes 1200 Miles On Pacific Crest Trail

by Kristen Timbrook - The Oregon Herald Sunday May 17, 2015    8:49 AM

In her film, WILD, Reese Witherspoon plays Oregon resident Cheryl Strayed, a recently divorced woman who leaves behind her life in Minneapolis, Minnesota with plans of hiking more than a thousand miles along the Pacific Crest Trail as a way of self discovery and healing.

Despite not being an avid hiker, Strayed overpacks her backpack and begins her trek through the Mojave Desert in Southern California. During her hike, Strayed reflects on her life growing up in Minnesota and the death of her mother, Bobbi Grey (Laura Dern), which caused Strayed to begin a reckless life of sex and drugs, ultimately leading to her divorce. Meanwhile, Strayed's ex-husband, Paul, writes letters to her next location, congratulating her on her progress.

Read Cheryl Strayed Bio.

After a few days of hiking, Strayed meets Frank, a farmer who takes her in for the night, offering her a home cooked meal and a shower. Later, Strayed meets a hiker named Greg who agrees to meet her at Kennedy Meadows, California. Upon arrival, she meets a camper named Ed, who helps Strayed lighten her backpack and tells her to order a new pair of REI hiking boots to be delivered to her next location as hers are too small, causing her feet to get blisters. Strayed continues her hike into Northern California despite warnings from Greg of deep snowfall. Her boots become badly worn and, after losing a toenail, discards her boots and continues to hike with her sandals duct taped on her feet.

Strayed eventually arrives in Ashland, Oregon where she meets a man named Jonathan whom she attends a concert with and later spends the night with.

Later, following an uncomfortable exchange with some hunters, Strayed arrives at Mount Hood National Forest where she meets a friendly group of young hikers also on a trip for their own self discovery. One rainy day, Strayed rescues a llama that escaped from a young boy hiking with his grandma.

Cheryl Strayed visits with the boy who asks her about her parents, to which she admits to her mother's death. The boy sings "Red River Valley" to Strayed stating that it is a song his mother used to sing to him, which causes Strayed to break down and cry. On September 15, after ninety-four days of hiking, Strayed reaches the Bridge of the Gods, ending her journey.

Legacy Parks Foundation announced on Friday that Cheryl Strayed is the scheduled speaker for the annual Legacy Luncheon for the Parks on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015 at the University of Tennessee's Holston River Farm at the head of the Tennessee River.

Photo: Reese Witherspoon.
Photo 2: Cheryl Strayed.