Part Twenty: Chapter Ten, Part Two: More Men, More Bullshit, and Way Too Much Information
Cheryl wakes up "in the woods somewhere outside the Whitehorse Campground" the morning after those two mean old people forced her to leave when she thought she was too fucking special to pay the camping fee. Boo-fucking-hoo, I feel so bad for her, except the opposite of that.
She studies her guidebook as she eats breakfast and-- I hope you're sitting down, because this will come as a shock to you-- SHE'S GOING TO BYPASS THE TRAIL because there's a remote possibility of snow in the next short stretch of the trail. "The idea of [snow] spooked me," and are you fucking kidding. She comes up with a super brilliant plan to walk along "a jeep road" around all the snow to get to Three Lakes and tries to justify this by saying that the "jeep road" and the PCT trail section covered "about the same distance"-- fifteen miles, she says-- so it's not like she's cheating or anything.
"I packed up my camp, walked back down the trail I'd come on the night before, and strode defiantly through the Whitehorse Campground."
Take that, mean old people!
Cheryl spends all morning not hiking the PCT and that's so weird because I thought this book was supposed to be about her epic journey on the PCT, but I guess not. As she's walking, she can't stop thinking about her next resupply box in Belden Town and how she's gonna immediately blow the $20 in the box on a bunch of stupid shit, especially Snapple lemonade, and she's going to bring up Snapple lemonade about 1000 more times before the book is over because she desperately wants to be a paid spokesperson for as many companies as possible (see: REI).
She spends the next half of a page telling us something that 1) we don't need to know, 2) would never want to know and 3) adds absolutely nothing to the book. I am fighting my dread and disgust so that I can share all of the awesomeness with you. You're welcome in advance.
"Midafternoon, I felt a familiar tug inside me. I was getting my period."
This is happening. Brace yourself.
She whips out her "natural menstrual sponge" and,
"I attempted to wash my hands with water from my bottle, dousing the sponge as I did so, and squeezed it out, pulled down my shorts, squatted on the road, and pushed the sponge into my vagina as far as I could, wedging it against my cervix."
For the men who are reading this: This is not how it works, and I am so sorry you had to read that.
As soon as she's done with this awful business, she hears a truck approaching and is super grateful that she had already finished stuffing that dirty sponge up her cooch because omg, men.
"'Howdy,' a man said, and reached through his open window. I took his hand and shook it, conscious of where mine had just been."
REAL NICE, VAGINA-HANDS.
Big racist Cheryl feels the need to tell us that the man was white (and "handsome and clean-cut"), as was the man sitting beside him, as were the two boys in the back seat, and uh-uh, there was also a non-white person in the vehicle, so let's be sure to point this out.
"The other man was Latino and long-haired, a hard round belly rising before him."
WHO. FUCKING. CARES.
They're all heading to Three Lakes-- the place 15 miles away from Whitehorse, where Cheryl is heading-- but their truck is too packed for them to give her a ride, and that's when Cheryl says, "That's okay. I like to walk," even though she clearly would rather hitch a ride and then claim to have hiked the distance because she assumes that anyone reading this piece of shit is an idiot who won't notice (and she's mostly right-- have you read the 5-star reviews on Amazon?). The men tell her to meet up with them when she arrives because they'll be having "Hawaiian screwdrivers" and Cheryl doesn't know what the fuck those are but concludes, "they didn't sound all that different from Snapple lemonade," because she is a tool.
She arrives at Three Lakes and we can only assume that she somehow miracled her dumb ass there because there's no way she just walked fifteen miles in one day, but whatever, there she is and we're not supposed to question this. She again needs everyone to be constantly aware of her vagina because,
"I set up my tent and ducked into the woods to squeeze out my sponge and put it in again,"
and I so don't want this mental picture, but thanks so much, Cheryl. Enjoy your yeast infection.
Cheryl doesn't understand how bathing works, splashes some water on her face and *boom* all clean. And here we go about her goddamned toenails:
"When I rubbed them, another blackened toenail came off in my hand,"
and no, that's not quite how that works, but okay, Cheryl, whatever you say. You're so hardcore.
She goes to meet up with the men and boys from the truck and I'm so confused, none of them get to have names except the Latino man, who she decides to call "Paco," I'm assuming because it rhymes with "taco," you know, because he's Latino and she's an asshole. The nameless white guys at least get to be firefighters.
Yet again, the men are super impressed with what she's doing and I can't believe that people on the PCT are so surprised and impressed with someone (supposedly) hiking the PCT as if the concept had never occurred to them before and Cheryl is the first person in the history of the world to be doing this, but if we're to believe Cheryl, they just couldn't even believe it.
"'You've got to be kidding me! You've got to be kidding me!" the firefighters took turns exclaiming when I explained to them what I was doing and showed them my battered feet with their eight remaining toenails."
She is kidding you.
They ask her "question after question while marveling and shaking their heads" because of course they did, and then the most racist sentence of the entire book happens:
"'Women are the ones with the cojones,' said Paco as he made a bowl of guacamole."
I mean, jesus.
Apparently the white men are not interested in her because she never brings them up again, but she has a whole ridiculous interaction with Paco. He asks if she wants to smoke a joint with him and of course she does, and then Cheryl confuses him with a Native American-- they're the same, right?-- because this supposedly happens:
"'You're on a spirit walk, aren't you?' Paco said, staring into the fire."
Paco gives her a Bob Marley t-shirt and we're supposed to believe these words actually came out of his mouth:
"'That is a sacred shirt,' Paco said as I studied it by the firelight. 'I want you to have it because I can see that you walk with the spirits of the animals, with the spirits of the earth and the sky.'"
That must have been the best fucking weed in the history of weed because otherwise, no.
Cheryl, admittedly drunk and stoned at this point, stumbles back to her camp and starts asking a series of stupid questions to no one in particular.
"Did I walk with the spirits? Did my mom? Where had she gone after she died? Where was Lady? Had they really ridden together across the river to the other side?"
No, no, nowhere, nowhere and no.
Thank god, she goes to sleep at this point and we can stop reading for today.