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Girl in the Woods

by Aspen Matis

Girl in the Woods is Aspen Matis’s exhilarating true-life adventure of hiking from Mexico to Canada – a coming of age story, a survival story, and a triumphant story of overcoming emotional devastation. On her second night of college, Aspen was raped by a fellow student. Overprotected by her parents who discouraged her from telling of the attack, Aspen was confused and ashamed. Dealing with a problem that has sadly become all too common on college campuses around the country, she stumbled through her first semester – a challenging time made even harder by the coldness of her college’s “conflict mediation” process. Her desperation growing, she made a bold decision: She would seek healing in the freedom of the wild, on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail leading from Mexico to Canada.

In this inspiring memoir, Aspen chronicles her journey, a five-month trek that was ambitious, dangerous, and transformative. A nineteen-year-old girl alone and lost, she conquered desolate mountain passes and met rattlesnakes, bears, and fellow desert pilgrims. Exhausted after each thirty-mile day, at times on the verge of starvation, Aspen was forced to confront her numbness, coming to terms with the sexual assault and her parents’ disappointing reaction. On the trail and on her own, she found that survival is predicated on persistent self-reliance. She found her strength. After a thousand miles of solitude, she found a man who helped her learn to love and trust again – and heal.

Told with elegance and suspense, Girl in the Woods is a beautifully rendered story of eroding emotional and physical boundaries to reveal the truths that lie beyond the edges of the map.


Overview

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Released
21 September, 2015

About Aspen Matis

After being raped on her second night at college, Aspen Matis dropped out. Depressed and shocked that her school didn't believe and protect her, she sought solace in a remote wilderness; she found the Pacific Crest Trail and hiked the footpath’s entire length, over 2,000 miles from Mexico to Canada. Trekking into the desert, Aspen left her sheltered suburban life behind, searching for a way to heal. A 19-year-old girl alone, isolated, and lost, she stepped into shimmering frost, silent glades, climbed desolate mountain passes and met rattlesnakes, bears and fellow desert pilgrims. Exhausted after each 30-mile-day’s walk, at times on the verge of starvation, she faced perils that forced her to confront her fears and passivity—and to change. She walked towards new strength, a better perspective on her past, and a new life. Inspired by the beauty and turmoil enveloping her on the trail, the author wrote poems, personal accounts, and dispatches from her tent. After moving to New York City, she published a popular account of her experiences in The New York Times’ Modern Love column to outstanding praise, which led to this memoir. Aspen Matis now lives in Greenwich Village, where she's finishing her degree at The New School and working on a novel.



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