The effects of reading about an author’s experience in nature can sometimes be so inspiring that readers seek to experience the same excursion in order for their own enlightenment or epiphany. This is seen through reports from trail numbers increasing in a specific location after a book about that location has been released. One instance of this is the phenomena surrounding Cheryl Strayed’s book Wild. Since I’ve already explained reader’s reactions to this book, I’m going to skip the details and instead, speak about a pop culture reference to this sort of reaction.
In the Gilmore Girls revival, A Year in the Life, the mother, Lorelai, is shown reading this book in the first couple episodes only to have a mid-life crisis in the form of “doing Wild” later on in the show. When she gets to California to begin hiking the Pacific Crest Trail she is met with hoards of novice hikers who ask each other “Book or movie?” in order to determine which women they should hang out with until the weather permits them to hike the trail. All packed up and ready to hike the PCT, Lorelai Gilmore accidentally packed her hiking permit into her bulging bag and is unwilling to unpack it to find the permit. She tries to sweet talk herself onto the trail, but the ranger is steadfast and denies her unless she shows proof that she’s been registered to hike. Defeated, she goes off to find her go-to comfort food, coffee. While searching for coffee all of the stores are closed and locked up. Frustrated, she starts walking a small trail behind the stores. She gets to the top of a hill when her epiphany comes — Lorelai got her Wild experience without needing to hike the entire PCT.
Cheryl Strayed herself watched this show and had an emotional reaction to the role her book played in the character Lorelai’s life. You can read more about her reaction to this on Bustle where the author of the article states perfectly:
“Life imitating art and vice versa. Now that is meta.”