Friday, December 19, 2014

Part Seventeen of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Eight, I Wish I Could Yellow-Blaze This Chapter

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

Part Seventeen: Chapter Eight, I Wish I Could Yellow-blaze This Chapter

We are now in Part Three of the book, which Cheryl decided to call "Range of Light." This comes from a quote from John Muir:

"Then it seemed to me that the Sierra should be called, not the Nevada or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light." 

John Muir was a totally amazing hiker, wilderness enthusiast, environmentalist and overall kick-ass fellow who has a stretch of the PCT in the Sierra Nevada named after him-- The John Muir Trail-- and this is exactly the stretch of trail that Cheryl is about to yellow-blaze the shit out of, so I don't understand why she's going out of her way to point out this section of the trail.

"I'm sure the light *did* look pretty on the range, from her window seat on the bus." --Tina

Chapter Eight is called "Corvidology" because she eventually has a super deep conversation that never happened with some lady in a casino bathroom about the symbolism of crows and no, but we'll get to it later.

I hate this chapter.  If, for whatever crazy reason, you ever decide to read this piece of shit book, this will be one of the chapters that you will likely just skim or skip because there's nothing good about it, but there's also nothing blaringly horrible about it and the fact that I have to review it anyway makes me want to kill myself.

I got myself into the mess, though, so I will soldier through.  I will tell you that I feel like this is slowly killing me.

Fuck me right in the face, let's get this over with.

GAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH, she walks with Doug and Tom for the first quarter mile upon leaving Kennedy Meadows and then lies about something to make them continue on without her and I find it very suspect that she constantly finds reasons to hike alone-- especially around the parts of the trail that are easily accessible by car.  Whatever, though, she wants to be alone and writes a whole flowery paragraph about how she's alone in the world and

She catches up with Doug and Tom at some point, they share some beer with her and,

"As we drank, I wondered which one of them had taken the eleven ultrathin nonlubricated Trojan condoms I'd purchased in Portland a few weeks before.  It seemed it had to be one of them."
Shut the fuck up already.  No one cares. 
The next day, she comes across a small patch off snow and makes it seem like this:
When really it was more like--
--and I can't even.
She then refers to Wikipedia once again to give us all sorts of PCT details that will soon allow her to justify her decision to skip the most beautiful part of the PCT.
She catches up with Doug and Tom again and tells them that she's going to bypass The Range of Light, and they offer to take her with them on the trail.  She declines because of course she does.  She spends the night camping with them and can't stop thinking about how much she wants Doug to bone her, and that's that.
The next afternoon, Greg catches up with her and makes all of her dreams come true by saying that he's going to bypass the mountains, and this makes Cheryl feel like less of a fraud because she's already decided to skip the hard part, too.  A lot of stupid nothing happens and then Cheryl and Greg are on a bus to Reno.  Cheryl can't sleep because she can't "sleep in a moving vehicle," then takes a financial inventory and comes to the conclusion that she's just about broke. 
They get to Reno and have an hour to kill before the next bus to Truckee leaves, so Cheryl blows a whole seventy-five cents on a slot machine and is just devastated when she doesn't win anything.  Greg, who clearly thinks she's a dumbass for doing this, gives her an "I-told-you-so smile," but Cheryl tries to defend herself:
"'Hey, you never know,' I said.  'I was in Vegas once-- just passing through a couple of years ago-- and I put a nickel in a slot machine and won sixty bucks.'
He looked unimpressed." 

Cheryl goes into the casino bathroom and-- it is 4am at this point, it should be noted-- some lady decides to have a full blown spiritual conversation with Cheryl about the black feather she's crammed into her pack because no, this never happened.  Any lady in a casino bathroom at four in the morning is not going to give a shit about anything other than blowing what's left of her life savings out in the casino and is not going to stop to have some bullshit conversation about a feather.  But this is what supposedly happens, and no it doesn't.

I don't even have it in me to relay the entirety of this conversation to you; just know that super-wise casino-bathroom-lady says that a feather from either a raven or a crow is a "symbol of the void," and I hate this so much.

"'It's a good thing,' she said.  'It's the place where things are born, where they begin.  Think about how a black hole absorbs energy and then releases it as something new and alive.'"

Oh, holy fuck, Cheryl is so special and we already knew this and I can't take this much longer.
Blah, blah, blah, Cheryl and Greg make it to Truckee and then eventually manage to hitch a ride to Sierra City.  They get rooms at a hotel, Cheryl thinks about banging Greg, doesn't, takes a bath, complains about all of her physical problems and then blows the last of her money on dinner.  She now has sixty-five cents to her name and boo-fucking-hoo.  Then we have to suffer through several pages of a flashback to when Cheryl was seeing a therapist and we get to hear about all of her daddy issues and I'm not going to justify this nonsense with a single word.  It's everything you would expect it to be, the end.
And thank fucking god, that's the end of Chapter Eight.


  1. And now we come to my biggest fucking issue with her calling this a PCT hike.

    *get comfortable*


    I just watched Reese Witherspoon on 60 Minutes talk about how inspiring Cheryl Strayed is and how "Epic" it was that she "hiked the PCT". I agree, Mrs. Witherspoon,...if she had hiked the PCT, it would've been epic. Not exactly original or unheard of, but there's a certain epicness to marching 2000+ miles through inclemental weather and harsh terrain simply to prove you can do it. And, had Mrs. Strayed actually fucking did it, I would put her on the epic list. BUT, SHE DID NOT - NOR HAS SHE EVER- HIKED THE PCT. She has 'hiked on it'. Again, it's like going to Florida and skipping the Keys to Orlando, popping in on Disneyland, then getting on a plane and heading to Talahassee or bum fuck nowhere so you can pop out of the woods at the Georgia border and go "I DID FLORIDA". Only, in this case, Cheryl AGAIN skipped the most beautiful part of the trail. The backside of Whitney? Fuck that. Forester Pass? Hell-to-the-no. Kearsage? What's it a condom brand. The ANSEL-FUCKING-ADAMS WILDERNESS (the signs say that, really! lol)?, skipped that. OK...for fucks sake, tell me you didn't skip Tioga? SHIT! OK. No fucking around here. YOU DID NOT SKIP TAHOE, DID YOU?


    Mother fucker.

    Yes. Ladies and gentlemen, our courageous and most admirable hiker skipped about 341 ROAD MILES of the PCT. I'm going to guess it's about 450 trail miles. Let's review.
    She started in Tehachapi. So, she blew off 556.3 miles from Mexico to HWY 58.
    Then, she blew off 450 miles (est) from Kennedy to DONNER PASS. That's over a thousand miles and we're not out of California, yet.

    And, the weather wasn't that bad. PEOPLE DID THRU HIKE THAT YEAR.

  2. Is that the second or third time she mentions that the condoms are non-lubricated? That seems like a weird detail to me.

  3. Easy, Guy...non-lubricated = less weight. Experienced back packer that she is.

  4. Non-lubricated and she didn't even pack the K-Y? What? Is she....crazy? Yes, of course, she is, but, Cheryl wants us to know that she can fuck wid the best of 'em, letting her poor, dehydrated juices do the rest.

    Okay, it's been awhile since I listened to Wild on audio, but reading this blog has brought me immeasurable pleasure. I have laughed until tears streamed down my face. Her audio book went in one ear (okay, both) and out the other (not sure what I was going for here, but you get the point). I can't recall all of the details but do remember thinking that most of it sounded implausible, especially her encounter with the "potential" rapists.

    Found the blog after your post on IMDB, Califohian, in prep to see the film, and simply had to start at the beginning. Please write your own book, any subject - you are, in a word, hilarious, as are several of your commenters.

    1. I fast forwarded through the dead mom and divorce parts, so there was only like 20 minutes of book to listen to after that. It was just like the time I skipped all the sex parts of Shades of Grey."

  5. OMG an audio version of this book read with notes by Cali? I would DIE

  6. I know you wrote this a long time ago, but thank you from someone who recently listened to the audiobook. I was wondering if I was missing something while listening in a noisy work environment, but it looks like that wasn't the case (except the eating the ashes bit--that part struck me by surprise when I read it on Goodreads. I'm looking forward to your reaction of it).

  7. well.. i hate you!! you are so... stupid and shallow yoy dont understand anything abot the book or about hiking! you most be so young and naive. you most have 16 years old, becuase you talk like a spoiled teenager. You asume without not evidence, that she lies in the book, however you have no evidence of it. you are nothing more than a hater, critical, your criticisms seem empty and stupid to me just like you. the author of the book never mentions that she was an expert in hiking, you misunderstood from there, it is a search towards herself, she is inexperienced, she makes mistakes, she is human, like everyone! It's the great thing about the book, it's not a race to see who knows more about hiking, it's a path towards self-discovery, I'm very sure that you have climbed or walked nothing in your life, it's very easy to criticize, but what to do? HATER, get a life! and by the way... wikipedia wikipedia did not exist when she crossed the CPT,

    1. Exactly what I was thinking. Spoiled teenager. That's what this entire review seems like. She literally went to be alone. And I'd like to see you fucking cross ice and snow on a huge ass slope, because it's so easy, right. Have you lived in the world?????

    2. You do realize that Cheryl wrote the book 17 years AFTER she allegedly hiked the PCT.
      Your ignorance clearly shows in your comment.

  8. and another thing ... she had to go through the CPT, for reasons you do not understand, because you must be very young or have a perfect life, but I do understand that, because in my life I have had situations of shit, because shit happens, she had to go through the CPT alone, because she had to learn to trust her again, she had to recover her faith in herself, she had to find herself again, and she had to learn to be alone, to be comfortable with the uncertainty and fear, from day to day, but this you do not understand, because you must be a spoiled girl, maybe someday you understand, but you should not judge something or someone if you have not lived the same as she

    1. If "ignorance is bliss" you must be "happy as a pig in shit".

  9. If "ignorance is bliss" you must be "happy as a pig in shit".

  10. $20 bucks says "Unknown" was Cheryl after way too many Key Lime wine coolers and some shame spiraling.