Department - Author 1

Communication Studies Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BA in Communication Studies



Primary Advisor

Jnan Blau


The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,600 mile area that begins at the border of San Diego and Mexico and finishes near the Washington and Canadian border. Cheryl Strayed wrote her memoir about her journey along this trail in 1995 at the age of 26. Her book was then made into a motion picture and released on December 25th, 2015. The director, Jean-Marc Vallee, was suggesting the idea that the Pacific Crest Trail was a very effective psychological therapeutic tool for grieving the loss of a parent while discovering one’s true authentic self. The traditional western methods of psychoanalytical therapy blocked her recovery for five years following her mother’s death due to cancer. Through the engagement with nature, Strayed was able to find resolution, balance, and peace of mind at the end of her journey. She transformed from a heroin addict and promiscuous spouse, to later become a lecturer, author, and mother of two children.