The Wild Effect may be just beginning. More readers are finding the book, which appeared in paperback in March. And a film adaptation of “Wild” starring Reese Witherspoon, being filmed now in Oregon, promises to put the story, and the trail, before an even larger national audience.
Some trail observers predicted that the Pacific Crest Trail will likely experience its version of “the Bryson bump,” a jump in hikers who attempt the whole trail similar to the surge in popularity the Appalachian Trail experienced after Bill Bryson’s best-selling 1998 book, “A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail.” And the number of Americans on the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage hike through Spain surged 200 percent in the year after it was featured in the 2011 movie “The Way” starring Martin Sheen, a tourism official said.
“The ‘Wild Effect,’ I think, is going to be long-term,” Mr. Haskel said.
Donna Saufley is a former board member of the Pacific Crest Trail Association who with her husband, Jeff, runs Hiker Heaven, a no-charge hostel in Agua Dulce, Calif., that is famous among thru-hikers.
“I’m grateful for the awareness that the book has created about the trail,” Ms. Saufley said. “People don’t care about what they don’t know about. The trail needs, and wilderness needs, as much support as it can get. And if it gets people outdoors and moving and exploring, that’s very positive.”
Agreed. Lots of folks have negative associations about celebrities and don't want them horning in on the scene, but in my experience, be it a little town (Ojai) or a cause, they tend to help. Perhaps it'll be the same with backpacking the PCT.
The writer of this story quoted almost no one worried about it. According to this well-crafted story, few if any worried much about more people on the trail. I wouldn't send them to Secret Camp, but I'd like to see Reese on the trail. Here's Secret Camp. Guessing allowed.