Thursday, January 22, 2015

Part Thirty-Five of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Seventeen, Part One: Cheryl Doesn't Fuck Three Guys

A review of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Part Thirty-Five, Chapter Seventeen, Part One: Cheryl Doesn't Fuck Three Guys


Chapter seventeen starts out with Cheryl comparing her hike through the Oregon section of the PCT to hopscotch.  Hopscotch.  Cheryl thinks this is profoundly clever and will repeatedly make this comparison even though it's beyond fucking stupid and only a person who doesn't understand hiking would compare hiking the PCT to a children's playground game, but then again, Cheryl is just so amazing that I'm sure... oh, forget it.

Cheryl has 334 miles left to skippity-skip until reaching her final destination and she makes a big deal about how there are gonna be fresh, wild berries to be eaten along the way.  I immediately hope she won't be able to tell the difference between edible and poisonous berries and will die a painful, horrible death, or at least suffer something akin to what I'm going through by writing this fucking review.  Sadly, this doesn't happen.

She dazzles us with her awesome writing skills:

"It was cold.  It was hot."
 
 
She complains about her "tree-bark-plucked-dead-chicken flesh" on her hips again, claiming that it "grew another layer."  Her feet hurt, blah, blah, blah, she starts hiking half-days-- "going only seven or eight miles" and whatever, Cheryl, those sound like full days for you-- and then writes another sentence fragment about her stupid feet because she doesn't understand how sentences work:
 
"Like I'd done something profound and irreversible to them by carrying all this weight over so many miles of punishing terrain."

She ends the paragraph with, "at day's end I was still pretty much shattered," and just shut the fuck up already.  I'm so tired of your bullshit.

She writes more lies about her pretend hike that I can't even deal with anymore and ends it with,

"...when I would collapse, utterly demolished, in my tent."

Just fucking stop.  Profound, shattered, demolished... just stop.  I can't do this anymore.

She reaches Shelter Cove Resort, "bored with the trail," and immediately buys a bottle of Snapple lemonade because of course.  The man behind the counter tells her that she can camp for free and that there are dollar-showers available.

"I only had ten dollars left," and goddamnit, what is wrong with you.

She locates the showers and,

"When I stepped inside, I was pleased to see that it was a one-person affair."

What the fuck did you expect it be, some sort of wilderness shower orgy?  Just-- I don't even.

She takes a look at herself in the mirror before taking a shower to take inventory of her exquisite beauty and I shit you not, she says this big pile of nonsense:

"It wasn't only my feet that had been destroyed by the trail, but it seemed my hair had been too... as if I were slowly but surely turning into a cross between Farrah Fawcett in her glory days and Gunga Din at his worst." 

Goddamnit, Cheryl.  First of all, you and your fat head and your cankles did not, do not and will never look anything like "Farrah Fawcett in her glory days."  Allow this picture to illustrate:

Nice legs, Farrah.
 
 
Second, what's with the Gunga Din reference.  That makes no fucking sense whatsoever.  This is yet another example of Cheryl attempting to seem super smart and well-read and failing miserably.  Go ahead, look up Rudyard Kipling's "Gunga Din."  Tell me if I'm missing something, like how Cheryl is just like an Indian water-boy who sacrifices her own life to save someone who treated her badly, and how this would in any way translate to her appearance.  Go ahead.  Enlighten me.
 
She finishes with her stupid shower, goes back to loiter on the porch of the store and BAM:
 
Here come The Three Young Bucks.
 
 
Three young men appear and once again Cheryl uses her super-human power of deduction to conclude that these men are PCT hikers.  She goes full out in describing them:
 
"One was tall.  One was blond.  One had intense eyes."

The Blond One says that they'd been following her "a long way," and Mr. Intense Eyes claims that they saw her "tracks on the trail," while The Tall One says, "We've been reading your notes in the trail register," AND WHERE ARE THESE FUCKING NOTES.  I WANT TO SEE THE TRAIL REGISTER FROM 1995 AND I CANNOT, FOR THE LIFE OF ME, FIND IT ANYWHERE.

They tell her that they'd been trying to determine her age and,

"'I hope you're not disappointed,' I said, and we laughed and blushed."

Really?  All four of you blushed?  Stupid.

One of them asks if she's been given a trail name yet and Cheryl lies, saying, "Not that I know of," even though I seem to remember 'Hapless Hiker' being her given moniker a few chapters ago.  Of course, Cheryl didn't like that name-- she wanted to be the "hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen"-- so she's going to just ignore that like it never happened.  She goes on to explain that Rick, Josh and Richie were known as The Three Young Bucks and spends a paragraph gushing over them--

"They hadn't even stopped in Ashland.  They hadn't danced to the Dead or eaten chewable opium or had sex with anyone pressed up against a rock on a beach."

--and geez, it's like they don't understand hiking at all. 

Because Cheryl is Cheryl,

"Being in their company felt like a holiday."

Ugh.

They all camp together for the night and pick up their resupply boxes in the morning.  When Cheryl opens her box, she realizes that the $20 she'd been looking forward to was not in the box, and she tries to avoid having what should have been a complete meltdown because omg, there are boys around.

"It was embarrassing to me that I was constantly broke,"

and good, you should be embarrassed, you stupid twat.  She loads her food into her bag, "sick with the knowledge that I'd have to hike 143 miles to my next box with only six dollars and twelve cents" and what the fuck, Cheryl. 

She and the Three Young Bucks all head out and she claims that she was "crisscrossing with them all day," and I can't even begin to understand the logistics of that, but I've given up trying to make any logical sense of her bullshit story.  She talks about how "their ribs showed right through" when they took their shirts off and then tries to pretend that she's not obsessed with her own appearance even though she clearly is because she's bringing it up.  Again.

"I didn't much care anymore whether I was fat or thin."
That's probably for the best, Cankles.
 
 
The Three Young Bucks leave her in the dust because she can't hike with anyone for more than 5 minutes and then, upon stopping for the night, she rips off another toenail, which is the fifth one now and it's also the fifth time I don't believe that she's ripped off one of her toenails.
 
She climbs into her tent and starts reading The Ten Thousand Things until she hears an owl and tries to communicate with it.
 
"'Who-whoo,' I called back to it, and the owl was silent.
"'Who-whoo,' I tried again.
"'Who-whoo,' it replied."

Thank god this day is finally over.


45 comments:

  1. This is one of the funniest! Cankles! Her calves look like tree trunks. I usually don't make comments criticizing a person's appearance, but since Cheryl insists on bringing it up (Farrah Fawcett? Her hair is blond, that's the ONLY similarity), she's fair game. I love the dancing 3 Young Bucks! I am dying! Crisscrossing with them all day? What is that? If there were mountains, you'd be doing switchbacks. And, how is this terrain "punishing"? It is a path. I don't believe her about the toenails, either. She is an idiotic, delusional liar. I don't even believe the owl replied to her.

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    1. I, too, rarely criticize a person's appearance, but since Cheryl feels the need to constantly tell us how breathtakingly beautiful she is, I have no problem whatsoever with slamming her cankled-self back into reality. She is average-looking at best-- from the neck up.

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    2. Her legs remind me of the 60-year-old lunch ladies' legs from the cafeteria in middle school. All she needs is a hairnet to look exactly like them. Yes, average at best.

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    3. for real!!! She keeps talking about how she was the homecoming queen and how every dude who sees her gets a hard on.....and she's not even attractive- then or now!

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  2. I'm going to be really bummed when you finish reviewing the book. It's gotten so I check your blog at least twice a day for updates and comments!

    Are the registers from 1995 still there on the trail? I'm more than happy to spend a weekend hiking to one of them that isnt accessible by road to see if Shifty Cheryl actually signed it.

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    1. Mercer, you're awfully sweet for saying that, and let me ease your distress a little-- I have another blog already planned. I will tell you about it in my final installment of this review and I hope you will join me for my next project. It will not be as singularly focused as this blog, but I hope it will be entertaining.

      Also, caps attack: I HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA WHAT THEY DO WITH THE TRAIL REGISTERS AND I WASTED A GOOD TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE THIS MORNING TRYING TO FIND AN ANSWER. Please, please, please-- if you (or anyone else) can track down the trail register from 1995, I will be forever indebted.

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    2. New blog? Yay!

      Re: the trail registers, tori is good at digging up that stuff, so here's hoping she pops up here soon.

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    3. Agreed. Tori, where are you? *Long, dramatic Cheryl pause*-- I need you.

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    4. Hello! Sorry! I went out to do a short evening hike to try my new backpack. I know, I know....where is my Strayed spirit? I should just schlup it on and go for broke. As it is. I don't like to find myself two miles in and crying....oh well.

      Trail Logs/Registers are an interesting animal. In short, yes, they exist. The problem is, they're not "officially" the property of any one organization and they vary between an actual book/spiral notebook and a few sheets of looseleaf paper, staple at the top. PCTA has "most" of the registers. However, several people have called about 1995 and have been told (rightfully, so, I think) that verifying anyone's hikes is unlikely. That doesn't mean a visit to the office to look at what they do have is a bad idea, but they don't claim that they have a complete log. For one, paper degrades in the elements. I've hit trail registers and excitedly opened the box to find a complete mess. I've seen pieces ragged and torn and all but unreadable. The register at HWY58 is so crammed with writing that I added a new piece a couple of months ago, but there were papers with logs from 2008, still.

      Does that mean her trek is not verifiable? Nooooooooooo. Not by a long shot, it would just take time and you'd have to spend some time doing it. From what I've been told by a PCTA.org employee...although, not sure if she gets paid, is that they can only verify Cheryl's activities at road crossings and day hike locations. The logs deeper on the trail that ARE available show no register f o r Cheryl in 1995. But, the logs aren't complete. It has been suggested that the logs be gathered and catalogued and I really hope that happens. Even an incomplete record can be useful. The logs are mainly a way of helping locate you if you go missing by limiting the search area. They weren't intended to be a trail passport- although, most serious hikers never miss a register for the pride of it.
      I have seen some of the Northern California registers for 1995, places Cheryls name should have been...it wasn't. But, that's all I can say.

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  3. You are a writer, Califohioan. Keep doing it, no matter what. You definitely have a way with words; I could see that on your FB page, as well as this wonderful blog. The story about your boss & your JCP photo had me on the floor! My stomach hurt from laughing :)

    The 1995 trail registers would be the big key to busting this story wide open. It would be James Frey, all over again, for poor Oprah.

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  4. Wait just a red-hot minute, Missy! You can't stop writing until you review THE MOVIE as well! You said that you were going to review the movie, and I *need* to see your observations, I know this must be the worst form of torture, and believe me, I empathize with you so much. It pains me daily to think that this load of crap has made it to being a best-seller. Apart from the obvious lies, it's just so BAD, so terribly BAD...Thanks for hanging in there and taking us all the way to the end...

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    1. Seconding. We NEED the movie review too.

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    2. Everybody settle down. I'm still gonna review the movie, if only to prevent Juliane from tracking me down and murdering me.

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    3. Cheryl, maybe. You - no. You're worth keeping. :) Can't wait for the movie review. The friends I went with have not said one thing about the train wreck since we left the theater that day.

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  5. Oh, god, that gif. My husband and I are both totally DYING over it.

    Was this the chapter where she claims that her trail name was "The Queen of the PCT"?? That one had me rolling my eyes so hard. Like anybody would give anyone that sort of trail name, especially Cheryl Strayed. Ugh.

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    1. You're jumping ahead-- that's the next chapter (it should go without saying that I will absolutely flip my shit about it).

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    2. We even get previews! You're so good to us!

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  6. what I don't get is she said she has never done this before and the pics she shows in one pic she has a long bread and then it is short where on the trail did she chop off her hair and if she was there and they were there why did she zigzag I don't get it but I am with you all the way I don't think she did this I think she would not talk to her mom on campus to tell me I am the best to cheating a lot killing a unwanted baby to killing a horse and back to her dope dealer and back to whoring around

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  7. The two pics she has put out are bullshit. Back in the old days, before the movie, someone pointed out some issues with the tent in one of her pictures. The tent was a 96' release tent and she was claiming the pic was of her profound adventure. The mods verified the tent and the poster said that "a mistake was made and the pic was of another hike Cheryl did after her "thru hike"". Before the book and movie, a certain poster, as I've said before, was very active on the boards, gathering info and asking strange questions about trail conditions for 95. It was odd because most people ask about an upcoming season or the current season...not one that was two years past. The pics they posted, after a mod told them to stop pestering everyone, were meant to validate their hike but it just caused more drama because the equipment was wrong, the descriptions of their hike were wrong, and they defended incredibly stupid choices.

    It occured to me today that I've never seen those pictures again...even though I'm almost 100 percent sure it was Cheryl. Could it be that, despite every other trail journal with tons of pics to show the people and places....Cheryl has zero in her book. Could it be that it's because the pictures she d does have would sink the ship even faster? Enquiring minds want to know.

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    1. Do you know if the picture above is the one with the tent in question? Because she claimed to have been given that Bob Marley shirt while on the trail, and having accidentally left it behind on the trail as well. If that tent model didn't come out until after the year of her hike then it points to a portion of her story that is proven to be false.

      Of course, the more likely explanation was that she dug through photos of herself before writing the book and found that one, and decided to incorporate the shirt into her story only after seeing it.

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    2. Tori, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I just love you. On behalf of everyone, thank you for the amazing information you share with us all.

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    3. Oh my gosh, I hate myself, but I have to disagree about the tent. My husband and I went to (wait for it...) REI in 1994 to prepare for a big camping trip, and we had possibly that exact tent. It has an orange rain fly. That much I do have to say is real. I lived in the thing for months on end.

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    5. Agh, sorry to post over and over. I guess, if it's been verified that the tend really was a '96, never mind the rest of my blathering. Now that I look, the door may be different. (Sorry to babble. Great blog.)

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    6. Aaaaahahahahahahahahaaaa I love that you hated yourself for defending Cheryl.

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    7. Yeah Kristiana.

      http://imgfave.com/view/3067291

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  8. Regarding the Gunga Din reference, my guess is that the highly-educated Ms. Strayed meant to reference Genghis Khan instead of Gunga Din, but she blundered. No surprise that the talented editor of her book didn't catch it.

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    1. Oh my god, Facilman. You're totally right.

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    2. AAAHHHH-hahahha! I bet that's spot-on!

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  9. Before everybody starts having anxiety attacks and emailing me in a panic over not having posted the next installment yet, I want to point out the fact that I don't get paid to write this blog-- I have a real job so I can pay the bills and I just finished up a 12-hour shift. That said, I'm too tired to write today (or, to say it in Cheryl-speak, "I am profoundly demolished right now"). I will, however, start writing Part 36 as soon as I get home from work tomorrow. Thank you all for your patience, and if anybody wants to start paying me to write, I'll immediately quit my job and dedicate my time to entertaining you on a daily basis. Until then...

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    1. You definitely should take time off, Califohioan! We appreciate you even more and we want you to be rested & healthy. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

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    2. I read your reply Cali and I cried and I cried and I cried.

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    3. Please take your time and go at your own pace!! We can always sit back and read the comments :)

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  10. I tried posting this before but never appeared -
    I have spend all day reading this blog and all of the comments and I wanted to thank you. You have officially won the internet in my opinion. Never had any interest in this book or movie but your blog has given me morbid curiosity and may have to get the book just so I can re-read the blog and read along with each chapter review.

    A memorable line among many= 'abortion flakes'.

    Thank you again and keep up the good work!

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    1. *spent, sorry, I feel like Cheryl now. Also I love that East of Eden is one of your favorite books, it is my top favorite. You might be my spirit animal. Wait, did that sound like Cheryl?

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    2. Holy fuck, Erin, you genuinely gave me a moment of terror because I temporarily went stupid-- my real name is Erin and upon seeing your comments, my immediate thought was, "I'VE BEEN HACKED, WHO THE FUCK IS THIS PERSON POSTING UNDER MY NAME," and then I remembered, "Oh, that's right, I don't post under my real name."

      Still. Goddamnit.

      And yes, everybody, my name is Erin, you don't have to call me Califohioan.

      East of Eden is one of my favorite books-- it's like a comfort book, if that makes any sense. Comfort food for the mind.

      So, Cher-- errr, Erin, please, I'm dying to know: what spirit animal am I? PLEASE SAY I'M BIGFOOT.

      Also, don't you dare spend any money on this piece of garbage. Get it for free from a library or a dumpster.

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    3. GAH. ERIN! It's confirmed, you are my spirit animal. A moose/Texas longhorn perhaps? I'm not sure which, because I think they are very similar and might even be the same animal?

      I feel the same about East of Eden. Whenever I read a bunch of crap books, I always turn to that one to help sanitize my mind.

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    4. I feel *exactly the same*. I don't even know how many times I've read it, but it serves the purpose to-- in your own words-- sanitize my mind. It comforts me in the same way as spending an evening with an old friend comforts me.

      Oh, no. Are we the same person? ARE YOU THE ONE WHO'S INSIDE MY HEAD ALL THE TIME? If so, please knock your shit off. You don't say nice things.

      If we're actually different people... well, hell. We're friends already.

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  11. Well while Erin (the blogger, not the commenter), gets some well deserved rest from her Death March through Ms. Strayed's version of Middle-Earth, I'd like everyone to mosey over here:

    http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2014/12/08/open-letter-oprah-whose-life-want-tour-asked-work-free-2

    to see just what kind of person Ms. Winfrey is.

    Get well, Erin, looking forward to your next installment.

    Rafael

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  12. I just found your blog and am enjoying it more than words can say! I just want to throw in that I've been trying to figure out exactly why this book enrages me so much. I think her obvious fabrications are hilarious and she absolutely deserves to be called out, but the fact that she revels and rejoices in her boo boos and hiking mistakes is really offensive. I am an annual grand canyon backpacker, and I have read too many stories of people who died from making the same mistakes she did, and their accounts are wrenching. A lot of them made heroic efforts to save themselves, and I admire them greatly. This chick rejoices in her mistakes and expects to be worshiped because of them. That does such a great disservice to those who have lost their lives doing what they loved, like two that stick in my mind, Bryce Gillies and Ioana Hociota. To borrow a phrase, I CAN'T EVEN.

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    1. I feel the same way you do, Lauren.

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    2. I have zero experience hiking but a lot of respect for those who do it correctly, and even I can tell that her account is a load of bullshit because if she did even half of the things she says she did, she would never have made it. It's just disgusting that Oprah backed another liar just like James Frey.

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    3. Lauren ~ I saw your comment on Pmags site ~ thank you for that. The more people who get involved in outing Cheryl, the more likely it is that she will soon get the James Frey treatment.

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    4. People who praise her for being so reckless "because the lessons she learned make the risk worth it" make me want to SCREAM. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest so I know the wilderness can kill you pretty easily, even if you do everything right. And what lessons did she learn?

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