Why “Greg in Wild”? In 1995 Roger Carpenter started what he hoped to be a thru-hike on the PCT, a year which had a tremendously high snowpack in the Sierra Nevada of California. Along the way to the Sierra he met an aspiring writer, Cheryl Strayed along Spanish Needle Creek a couple of days before reaching Kennedy Meadows. Before departing Kennedy Meadows Cheryl and Roger both decided to skip around the Sierra, and the deep snowpack. They rejoined the PCT near Sierra City, presumably where there would be less snow. However, as they discovered after parting ways on the trail, there was plenty of snow to deal with. To her credit, Cheryl Strayed kept hiking north and completed her journey to the Columbia River in Oregon.
Seventeen years later, her memoir, “Wild”, was published in 2012 and became a best seller and an outstanding feature film. Roger is grateful that Cheryl portrayed him in a positive light as “Greg”, who is included in the memoir and the film version of “Wild”. In September 2015 Roger met a CDT thru-hiker who gave him the trail name “Greg” after hearing my story, and “Greg” modified it slightly to Greg in Wild.
So, whatever happened to Roger / Greg in Wild in 1995? He returned to the PCT after three weeks off the trail, hoping some of the Sierra snowpack had melted, hiked for three days, climbing over the two of the highest and snow-packed mountain passes in the Sierra before deciding to go home. The next year, in 1996, Roger thru-hiked the PCT in 1996 from Mexico to Canada, fulfilling his dream of hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail.
However, Roger sometimes wonders if he could have pushed through the snow-filled Sierra Nevada in 1995. Looking forward into 2016, Roger is expecting it to be a very snowy CDT in northern New Mexico and Colorado. This is a challenge Roger is taking seriously, and the memories of 1995 will be with him as he hikes northbound over what could be deep snowpack. But the CDT can eat hikers alive, and his awareness of this will be a personal drama during the hike.
Roger Carpenter lives in Portland, Oregon with his lovely wife, Cindy Kleinegger, an Oral Pathologist who recently completed a two-week volunteer project at a dental school in Nepal.
Professionally, Roger worked extensively as an internal auditor for several large corporations and traveled to many countries for both work and pleasure. He thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 1996 and plans to hike the entire Continental Divide Trail in 2016. In a volunteer capacity, Roger is a member of the Audit Committee for the Pacific Crest Trail Association.
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