Sunday, February 1, 2015

Part Thirty-Eight of a review of "Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail," Chapter Eighteen: Fuck This Chapter in the Ear

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

Part Thirty-Eight, Chapter Eighteen: Fuck This Chapter in the Ear

I can't even bring myself to tell you the title of this chapter right now because just the thought of it makes me want to punch every fucking thing I see-- walls, television, floor, the street outside and so on-- but I sorta need my hands to be functional in order to keep writing this, which means that I can't realistically do thaOH MY GOD I SHOULD PUNCH EVERYTHING I SEE.

Chapter Eighteen starts with Cheryl describing something that she finally understands: rain.  She uses the word "rain" four times in the first paragraph and immediately illustrates her knowledge of rain by starting the second paragraph with,

"Water fell from the sky and dripped from the branches..."

Whoa, whoa, things are getting a little too technical-- let's Cheryl everything down:

"Wet and miserable as it was, the forest was magical-- Gothic in its green grandiosity, both luminous and dark, so lavish in its fecundity that it looked surreal, as if I were walking through a fairy tale rather than the actual world."

I literally just wailed aloud.  For real.  I think I scared the dog.  Goddamnit.  Something can be luminous in the dark, but nothing can be "both luminous and dark" because that doesn't make any sense.  Nope.

Hey, look at that.

Fuck this book.  How many three-dollar words can she cram into one sentence?  And what would her writing look like without the aid of a thesaurus?

"The trees were super green and it was wet and stuff.  Also, leprechauns."
This is my guess.
Her thesaurus, overwhelmed with guilt about being an accessory to this crime of literature, apparently self-destructed after all that nonsense because she starts the third paragraph with,

"It rained and rained and rained,"

and someone fucking kill me.  I'm not even kidding anymore.  If some psycho killer broke through the door right now, I would laugh, clap my hands in glee, give him a big hug and start playing the "I'm not touching you" game until he murdered me.  He'd be the most confused murderer ever.

Please kill me.


Cheryl reaches the Olallie Lake Resort and,

"Until I'd hiked through Oregon, I'd had a profoundly different idea of what the word resort might suggest."
What does that even mean.
She makes camp nearby and hey, did she mention that it's raining?  Because it is.  That means her clothes are damp.  And there are raindrops!  She's got this rain thing down. 
She can't read any of her amazing books because the batteries in her headlamp are dead, so she spends the evening having thoughts.  She thinks about the resupply box that's waiting for her and of all the magical things that will be in it: fresh batteries, chocolate, bags of nuts and seeds.  She mentions the rain again because she's a pro when it comes to rain.  She thinks about how she'll be finished with the trail in about a week and fantasizes about how awesome everything will be.
"I'd be in Portland, living like a normal person again.  I'd get a job waiting tables in the evenings and I'd write during the day."
Lucky us.
"I'd spent hours imagining how it would feel to be back in the world where food and music, wine and coffee could be had."

Shut the fuck up, Cheryl.  With the exception of coffee, you've had all of those things on the trail, and you're about to have some coffee on the next page.  She thinks some more:

"Of course, heroin could be had there, too, I thought.  But the thing was, I didn't want it.  Maybe I never really had.  I'd finally come to understand what it had been: a yearning for a way out, when actually what I had wanted to find was a way in.  I was there now.  Or close." 

Just...whatever.  I can't do this anymore.
It's the next morning now and,
"'I've got a box,' I called to the ranger the next morning, chasing him as he began to drive away in his truck.
"He stopped and rolled down his window.  'You Cheryl?'
"I nodded.  'I have a box,' I repeated, still buried inside my putrid rain gear."
We're all aware of your box. 
The ranger hands her three letters and a box.
"It was still raining and wretched outside, so I walked to the little store, where I bought a cup of coffee from the old man who worked the cash register on the promise I'd pay for it once I opened my box."

Are you fucking kidding me?  She just promised to pay for something even though she might not have any money.  There was no money in the last box; what if she fucked up again and there's no money in this box, either?  How are you gonna pay for that, Cheryl?  God, she's such an asshole.  She sits there drinking her coffee and reading her letters and I can't even bother with the letters because I'm too preoccupied with the fact that she has not paid for her coffee and has not checked her box for money.

She finally opens her stupid box and we can all breathe a sigh of relief because not only is her twenty dollars in there, the other twenty dollars from the last box is in there, too.

"I was now rich with forty dollars and two cents."

She pays for her coffee and a "packaged cookie" and is sad to find out that there are no showers available.  I start to question what I foolishly thought was her firm understanding of rain:

"...there was a driving, drizzling rain, and it was something like 55 degrees out."

A "driving, drizzling rain," you say?  Let me think about that for a second.

Right.  So, it's violently drizzling.  Got it.  Wait.  What?
She has another cup of coffee and debates over whether she should do any hiking today.
"There wasn't much reason to stay, and yet going back out to walk in the woods with all my wet things was not only dispiriting but possibly dangerous-- the inescapable wet chill put me at risk for hypothermia... much as I looked forward to reaching the Bridge of the Gods, I wasn't in any hurry."

I don't understand why a little ol' thing like hypothermia is of any concern for Cheryl.  This is a woman who has repeatedly hitchhiked with strangers, smoked weed with a man named Paco, enjoyed chewable opium with a man who lived in a milk truck, banged a random guy, lost eight thousand toenails and walked until her feet exploded, and she managed to do all of this without getting raped and murdered, raped and murdered again, and then again, and again, and then some more, and somehow avoided even a hint of infection from all of her profoundly horrifying wounds... she's clearly either magic or the new Jesus or both (I don't understand how Jesus works).  Hypothermia, shmypothermia, that's what I say.  Keep on truckin', Cheryl!

The old man who works the cash register comes over and invites her to a five o'clock dinner with the staff of the resort because no he doesn't, but that's how it plays out in Cheryl's fantasy.

"'Dinner?'  My decision to stay was made."
She goes back to camp and tries to dry out her things "in between rain showers."  She boils some water so she can nakedly bathe and then she fixes her water purifier all by herself and pffffffft, sure she does.  Just as she's about to leave to go to dinner,
"...the Three Young Bucks appeared, soaking wet and dreamier than ever." 
Don't make me post the dancing TYB gif again (you're thinking about it right now, admit it).

Ugh.  She tells them that she's gonna go have dinner and she'll see if they can come, too, but "the woman in charge" was all go-fuck-yourself so instead of going back to tell the TYB that they weren't invited, she just sits her big ass down and inhales her plate of food "in about five bites" and then waits for it to be Cake Time.  She shoves the whole piece of "yellow cake with white frosting" into her maw and then "returned to discreetly take another piece" steals some cake, "the biggest piece in the pan," no less.

She walks back to the campground, saying that she was "holding the cake very carefully inside my coat," and is this the same "putrid rain gear" from earlier?  Gross.  Suddenly the ranger appears and he's all sorts of a big mess.

"He was blotting his lips with a dish towel.  'I'm talking funny,' he slurred as I approached him.  'I had some surgery on my mouth today.'"

I don't even wanna know.  Cheryl says that "he seemed slightly drunk in addition to having the troubles with his mouth," and omg, what's gonna happen next?  The ranger invites her over to his place for a drink because of course he does.  She hesitantly declines and goes off to daydreamland to envision what the TYB might be doing while the ranger stands there drooling, but then she has an idea.

" if the men went with me to drink with the ranger I could use them to help me dodge whatever else he had in mind."

That's amazing, Cheryl.  You're managing to use four people for your own selfish benefit all in one sentence-- the ranger for booze and a warm room inside and the TYB for protection so you can enjoy your booze and warm room.  Real nice, asshole.  She changes her mind about declining.

"'But maybe,' I wavered, as the ranger drooled and then blotted his mouth.  'I mean, as long as it's okay to bring my friends.'"

She skips back to camp to deliver the stolen Putrid Rain Cake to the TYB and as they eat it, Cheryl has an epiphany usually reserved for very young children:

"They were still the Three Young Bucks to me, but they'd also begun to differentiate in my mind."

This prompted to me destroy the margin of that page with, "CHERYL DISCOVERS THIS THING CALLED 'OTHER PEOPLE.'"  Most humans realize that other people are real, unique living beings with their own personalities by the age of four, but 26-year-old Cheryl has just come to this realization.  She spends three whole sentences describing how the TYB are different from one another-- one short, stupid sentence for each Buck-- and then spends the rest of the paragraph talking about how she has crushes on all three of them but that she like-likes Rick and omg she thinks he might like-like her, too.

"I couldn't deny that to an increasing degree I got a little fluttery feeling inside me every time Rick's eyes met mine, and I also couldn't deny that I could see in his eyes that he got a little fluttery feeling too."
Blech.  Stupid.
She tells the TYB about the ranger, how he has booze and a fireplace, and how she wants them to come with her to enjoy said booze and fireplace.  Since the TYB don't know what a selfish cunt Cheryl is, they jump at the chance to go with her to the ranger's place, unaware of the fact that they're not actually welcome there.
They all show up at the ranger's door and while the ranger is sorta happy to see her, he's clearly not thrilled about the TYB.  This is when Cheryl admits that she didn't actually get his permission to "bring her friends."
"It wasn't true he'd been entirely agreeable about my bringing them along.  He'd only barely consented when I'd said it was all of us or none."

Go fuck yourself, Cheryl.

The ranger, whose name is Guy, says,

"'You want a drink, good-looking?"

And so this begins.  Guy tells her that he's "making something special" for her and even though Cheryl loudly asks the TYB if they want something to drink, Guy only pours one glass of "various kinds of liquor" and tops the glass off with "fruit punch from a can he took from the fridge" because he's classy and knows his drinks.

Cheryl compares the drink with the kind of crap she used to drink in college and I'm confused because she claimed that she'd never had a whole beer until Jimmy Carter gave her one, so I guess she only used to drink insane mixtures of hard alcohol back in the day...?  I CALL BULLSHIT but who even fucking cares anymore.

"'It's like a suicide,' I said when he handed it to me.  'That's what we used to call this kind of drink when I was in college, where you put all different kinds of liquor in it."

Whatever.  Over it.  She takes a sip and says that "it tasted like hell, but in a nice way," and you really don't understand how anything works, do you.  She loudly suggests to Guy that the TYB would also enjoy a glass of suicide, but Guy is pretending like they don't exist because that's how real people act and he doesn't pour a drink for anyone but Cheryl.

Since Guy refuses to acknowledge the TYB's presence, Cheryl hands Rick the glass of barf and then wedges herself beside him on the couch.  She gets all fluttery about being so close to him.

Guy, oblivious to everything, only remembers that Cheryl had used the word "suicide" and decides to go with this.

"'You want to talk about suicide, darling, I'll tell you about suicide,' Guy said."

Cheryl and the TYB take turns drinking out of the one glass Guy gave her while Guy babbles on about people committing suicide.  The four of them pass the drink around and Cheryl describes it as, "like we were smoking a gigantic liquid joint," and I don't even have to say anything, do I.  Guy is still rambling on, describing a man who had shot himself in a Port-a-Potty and hoping this is turning Cheryl on because what lady wouldn't want to hear all this.

"'I mean just absolutely brains fucking everywhere,' he said through the towel.  'More than you'd imagine.  Think of the most disgusting thing that you can even picture, Cheryl, and then picture that.'  He stood staring only at me, as if the Three Young Bucks weren't even in the room.  'Not just brains.  But blood too and pieces of his skull and flesh.  Just all over.  Splattered all over the walls inside of the thing.'"

At this point, normal people would be excusing themselves and leaving in a hurry, but Cheryl is all yeah, that sounds neat-o, gimme another drink, dick.

"I shook the ice in my tumbler.  The Bucks had left me with sole custody of it now that it was empty."

Guy catches her subtle hint and asks, "You want another one, hot stuff?"  As Guy goes to refill her glass, she and the TYB all "looked at one another with meaningful expressions and then burst out laughing" as quietly as they could while "basking in the glow of the fire," and what a bunch of assholes.

Guy brings (only) her another drink and starts talking about some kind of homicide that involved "BUCKETS of blood."  Cheryl describes the evening as such:

"And so it went, all through the evening."

I'm assuming we're supposed to interpret that as, "I took advantage of this messed-up man by letting him feed me free alcohol all night while enjoying his warm fireplace and whenever he would leave to go get me another drink, I would openly laugh at him."



Blah, blah, blah, they all get wasted and head back to camp and thank god this night is over.

The next morning, Josh of the TYB makes an announcement.

"'So we came up with a trail name for you,' said Josh.

Cheryl, having previously been nicknamed "The Hapless Hiker," reluctantly asks what it is.

"The Queen of the PCT," said Richie.
"'Because people always want to give you things and do things for you,' added Rick.  'They never give us anything.  They don't do a damn thing for us, in fact.'"

You know what, fuck that.  First of all, I don't believe for a second that no one has ever helped or given anything to the TYB on the trail.  Trail angels don't work like that.  Second, if I'm being forced to believe that no one ever, ever helped them in any way, I'd have to surmise it's because they look like strong, capable hikers instead of clueless fucking jackasses.  Decent people have an almost uncontrollable urge to assist the helpless and THIS is why people have assisted Cheryl along the way, NOT because she's a goddamn fucking queen like she's been wanting to be for several chapters now.
So, yeah.  The Queen of the PCT.  Now you know what Chapter 18 is called.
Lisa, Cheryl's friend and future roommate from Portland, shows up out of the goddamned blue, saying that she knew Cheryl would be here right about now and bullfuckingshit, how could she know that Cheryl would be right there at that exact moment.  What a load of crap.
Anyway, sure, Lisa and her boyfriend, Jason, show up and isn't this all very convenient.  Lisa, Jason, Cheryl and the TYB all pile into Jason's truck and drive to Bagby Hot Springs to go get naked in the water.  Cheryl can't even help herself and watches the TYB get naked because of course she does.  They soak in the water and that's that and I'm so glad this was included in the book, it adds so much to the story.
As they get ready to leave, this happens:
"I'd ridden up front with Lisa and Jason on the drive to Bagby, but on the return trip to Olallie Lake, I climbed in back with the Three Young Bucks, feeling clean and warm and blissed out as I clambered onto the futon that covered the truck's bed.
"'That futon is yours, by the way,' said Lisa, before she closed the camper hatch behind us.  'I took it out of your truck and put it in here in case we decided to spend the night.'"
"'Welcome to my bed, boys,' I said in a mockingly lascivious tone to cover for the dislocation I felt at the prospect that this really was my bed--"

and then she goes Full Cheryl while talking about the fact that she used to share this futon with Paul and while I could detail the whole meltdown, you know what?

Cheryl and the TYB are all "wedged in" on the futon and Cheryl is next to Rick, so this is a big deal.  She vomits out a big paragraph of bullshit I can't even deal with anymore, something about how she totally wants to bang him but she's not going to and I guess this is supposed to be the "Found" part of the title of this disaster of a book.  She manages not to bang Rick.  FOUND.
"It wasn't just because he was younger than me or because two of his friends were in bed with us..."

Really, that's not what's stopping you?  There's something else?  If there weren't something else, you'd be totally cool with banging Rick while his two friends share the bed with you?  Wtf.  I can't even figure out what's actually stopping her.  I guess she's it's because she's found now.  I can't even bother.

"'I'm really glad I met you,' I said.
"'Me, too,' Rick said.  'Who wouldn't be glad to meet the Queen of the PCT?'"


She ends the chapter with this disaster:

"'Very nice,' said Rick after a while.  'Very nice,' he repeated, with more emphasis the second time.
"'What is?' I asked, turning to him, though I knew.
"'Everything,' he said.
"And it was true."

One more chapter.  One more chapter of this bullshit and I'm finished.


  1. I so got it I wish more people would

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. About Cheryl "the Liar" Strayed: you are "the queen of the PCT" said no one, ever. All of these people, Guy, the 3 Young Bucks, the bowhunters, the boy scout troup, etc., etc. are cartoon characters.

  4. Can you be the "Queen of the PCT" when you don't even hike half of it?

    1. Maybe "Drama-Queen of the PCT"

      Even when I read this section I laughed out loud and wondered if (if this indeed happened) whether or not it was meant to be an unflattering comment....

    2. "Drama-Queen of the PCT." So good I had to type it myself. Kudos!

  5. "The trees were super green and it was wet and stuff. Also, leprechauns."

    ^^^ omg...had me in tears!

    Cheryl: "I need to be around the dreamy manly men at all times, 'cept when I'm actually on the trail and need help. Then I need to be alone, cuz secret expert hiking stuff happens and whatnot. Rattlesnakes and dingoes are involved, u dont even want to know!! I'm pretty!! Moo moo moo."

    1. Mercer, sometimes as I'm writing all this nonsense, I laugh aloud at my own fuckery because I am a douchebag. The leprechaun line was one of those times, and I'm so happy to know that I was not the only person who thought that was funny. Thank you for that.

      Thank you also for "cow cow cow" and now "moo moo moo." Brilliant.

  6. BTW, apparently Cheryl is getting called out more and more on her BS story and felt the need to defend herself on FB yesterday:

    The post is a run-on, blithering, nonsensical rant, and it was interesting to note that she felt the need to declare her tale as "truthful" in the very first line.

    I wonder how many injuries and deaths she will be responsible for as all these Strayed-tards hit the trail completely unprepared?

    1. Wow, what a rambling mess. Isn't she supposed to be a "professional writer"? You'd never know from that colossal blob of words.

    2. Cheryl needs to understand that, while she may have been able to fool the non-hiking, self help world that she accomplished the hike she claims t o have done, but there are too many inconsistencies for it to be truth. See my next comment.

    3. Yes, she certainly seems to be very defensive & rambling on like she's losing it. What a mess. I read of few of the comments made by her brain-dead little followers. I'll bet any posted by her non-fans were deleted.

    4. She is losing it because her friend Roger likely told her about this site and she sees her inconsistencies being called out.

    5. You know, completely ignoring everything else about what has been said so far, when you look at how often Strayed has defended herself against allegations of "making things up" both with Wild and during her time writing as Sugar, it should be enough to give anyone pause.

      Where there's smoke, there's fire, and there's just a whole lot of smoke here.

    6. I posted only a couple of things that bother me on her status, although I tried to do so in such a way that would invite discussion, not get her up in arms. No response yet, although I haven't been deleted, either.

    7. Here is what I posted: I have seen this floating around my timeline, and I feel compelled to say something about this. While I do not like her book for many reasons, there are two things about her book and this post I need to express. I recognize that everyone makes mistakes on their backpacking trips. I feel like I made a mistake either in what I packed or how I trained for the trip every time I strap on my pack. However, lack of preparation should not result in glorification and admiration of the author. I think it is important to recognize your mistakes with humility, and in reading this book, I got the distinct impression that the author expected to be worshiped and admired BECAUSE of them. That does such a great disservice to those who have lost their lives in the wilderness doing what they love. I carry the stories of Bryce Gillies and Ioana Hociota with me every time I step out into the wilderness. Ioana suffered an accident. Bryce made a mistake. His last words, typed and saved into his cell phone, were "I was fortunate enough to do and see much more than most. For that, I am most thankful. I feel that the wilderness is a calling all feel, some answer, and some die for." He made a monumental effort to rescue himself, and for that, I admire and respect him greatly. To Ms. Strayed, I would ask, "Whose story do you take with you, and why?" I carry Bryce and Ioana with me because they keep me humble. They remind me to respect a world bigger than I. Additionally, Bryce, as Ms. Strayed suggests, "just went," without the requisite planning necessary to increase the odds of completing his trail safely, and he died because of it. I do not want to see people going unprepared into the wilderness and ending up a) with a huge medical bill, b) in need of search and rescue, or c) dead.

      Lastly, we do not own the wilderness. The wilderness does not belong to us. We belong to it. We are tasked with the responsibility of protecting it and teaching each other to respect it, enjoy it, practice humility and awe towards the strange and marvelous wild spaces we inhabit.

    8. I don't remember if we've covered this on here, but let me give you another couple links.

      ^^ This is a completely worthless FB page that Cheryl created. The banner at the top tells everybody to go to her "real" FB page, so what's the fucking point. If you look at her "Friend List," you'll see that she has ONE FRIEND, and that "friend" is named Ginger Nile. This is Ginger Nile's FB page:

      Holy fuck, would you look at that, IT'S CHERYL, and it's the page where she posts all of the narcissistic drivel she doesn't post on her "official" page.


    9. Regarding her post, holy jeebus, what the fuck was all that. She can make up lies and excuses about hiking, but she'll never be able to explain away the fact that she is a terrible writer...

    10. Lauren-- excellent post. Please keep us updated as to whether Cheryl "zaps" you from her page or if she actually grows a pair of lady balls and responds.

    11. I've been reading the comments (mainly looking for Lauren's post to see if it's still there), and I just found this from someone named Taya Chase:

      "I stepped on a cactus the first time I went backpacking, so I'm definitely one with a hand raised ... And to those who have anything negative to say, Cheryl Strayed not only conquered a huge portion the PCT, overcame drugs, grief and more... but wrote a book about it that now is a movie!! What have YOU done today?"

      How the fuck do you *step on a cactus*? She included a picture of a fucking cactus sticking out of her foot. This is a Cheryl fan.

    12. Did anyone notice that Cheryl used the word "profound" in that post? I'M NOT MAKING THIS SHIT UP, PEOPLE.

    13. I took a look at Cheryl's "Ginger Nile" page. Amazing how she posts all those pictures of her at premieres of her movie, and pictures of herself as a kid, but no pictures she took on the trail. She lugged a full-size camera all those miles, but can't locate any pictures from her signature life experience to put on her brag wall.

    14. I just went to both of the above FB pages. WHO needs 3 FB pages, other than a raging narcissist? WTF? And, how many names does one person need? What is the damn point of having a FB page with a completely different name but the same photos everywhere? Yes, Facilman, the first thing that hit me was all these photos of her, her family, but NONE on the trail? In the book, she mentions pulling out all these books to read (a different one every time) and NEVER pulls out her camera to photograph the majestic beauty surrounding her? This just stinks, more & more. I don't care that she's gotten rich. I care that she's profiting on bullshit & it is in our faces.

    15. Erin: I saw that cactus foot photo! If she was actually hiking, how did she get a cactus stuck onto the bottom of her bare foot? I could barely stand to skim those comments & when I saw that photo, I burst out laughing. I noticed Roger posted there and his FB page is full of his now semi-famous face, speaking to book groups, etc. about the stupid book & movie.

    16. Ginger Nile??? What the hell is wrong with that woman? How many fake personas does one person need?
      No seriously, I want a diagnosis from a mental health professional.

      Cheryl Strayed is the absolute ideal messiah for the Bachelor-Bachelorette/Fake News/McDonalds generation. Who cares about facts, probability, reality, and common sense? Does the message "taste good?" Does it prop up my warped world view? Does it make me feel good for "right now?" Then sure! I'll swallow your garbage and attack anyone around me who suggests it's "wrong" or "bad for me." All that matters is that I feel special and that people validate my delusions!

    17. Once again, Mercer, you hit the nail on the head!

    18. Thanks Cindi!

      I just get so irritated with the people telling her how "brilliant" she is and how her writing is so "brutally honest." GARGHH!!! She's neither brilliant nor honest! WTF???

      Neil Degrasse Tyson is brilliant. Stephen Hawking is brilliant. They posit probabilities that are grounded in factual evidence and observation. Shady Cheryl simply makes shit up in her head! She isnt even internally consistent!

      Who are these idiots worshipping her? I-stepped-on-a-cactus-girl? And instead of pulling it out she takes a picture? WTF? I bet if that dumbass "Grizzly Man" were still alive he'd be her biggest fan. "Screw the naysayers grrlll! You do watchoo want! I'm a gonna go feed my bears...with MY HEAD! I'm a rebel and I dowhaddeye want!"

      And the ego on this woman, god damn. That ridiculous photo of her on her FB page where she's hugging the book and looking longingly at the other books flying around. What a load of self-possessed horse-hockey. If she loved literature she'd do the whole culture a favor and Sylvia Plath herself. I cant wait for Karma to come around Mike Tyson her right in the jaw.

      Okay, I have to let go of the anger. It's not healthy for me. Right now I'm day dreaming about driving Califohioan to the nearest Strayed book signing, throwing her in and barricading the door.

    19. Just put my own reply on her FB rant. We'll see how long it stays up:

      Mercer Creed "...but as I wrote in my book, I was an avid day hiker before my PCT trek"
      I'm not finding that in the book. In the books it states the experience was with "walking" as a waitress and "walking for pleasure" which sounds like it was around the block. There is also a section where "Paul" was worried because Cheryl had never backpacked before.
      The book also states that Cheryl felt like a foreigner in hiker's gear.
      There is a section too where Cheryl says she didnt know what a mountain was until she tried to hike one.
      I think Sam also called her the "Hapless Hiker" which Cheryl said was a "fairly apt description"
      So, it seems to me there was an effort to make it seem like there was NO experience prior to starting the hike. Not sure why now there is all this angst about what she knew when she started. She clearly wanted to convey she was a novice.

      And why didnt the people at REI take the fact she was thru-hiking into account when selling her the shoes?

    20. I saw your comment on her FB page & made another, too, about hiking boots (in response to the jerk who said thru-hikers should buy boots 1/2 size larger). Thank you, too, for your comment just above where you mention Neil Degrasse Tyson & Stephen Hawking...and Grizzly Man! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who is really angry (yeah, Sylvia Plath yourself, CHERYL!). I think Sylvia Plath was probably not the most pleasant person, but her writing proved that she was not a lying self-promoting drama queen, either.

    21. By now, some of those posted links are dead, but I called up her FB page just now, did a quick scroll and found this posted May 15 by "Rebecca": "I bet you didn't know that your journey to peace was going to help so many others start their journeys:)" As Erin would say, just kill me now. Let's hope anyone Cheryl "helps" can prepare far better than she did for the PCT (or any trail), and actually do the hike. Oh, and btw, the next post by a fan is a photo of the "take one, leave one" sign. Imagine that - a hiker took a photo. Cheryl, where is your photo of that sign? Cheryl? Hello?

  7. Erin, would you mind if I wrote up a guest post listing all of the inaccuracies we have found, in a rational, explanatory manner so that those who think we're being bitchy can see the real issues?

    1. Hehe. You'll need a spreadsheet to keep track of them all!

    2. TORI. Do it! I would be honored to have you write a post. My email is I can't wait.

    3. That is a great idea, Tori, and you are good at keeping your cool. I just read some of of the comments & saw Pink Pearl's comment about being an avid day hiker & still buying the wrong size shoes along with the resulting zombie comments. I could feel my anger growing & wanted to blurt something out but didn't. I thought, "Tori can handle this". I haven't found Lauren's post, yet.

  8. Jeepers, her writing just gets worse as the book goes on.

    That FB post and the comments below it are a train wreck. "Wahhh! Everyone's picking on me for not being an expert hiker but that's not what the book is about and anyway I grew up totally outdoorsy and stuff SO THERE!" Uh, no bitch, it's because you're a fucking liar and a horse-killer and a shitty writer.

    I'm kinda outdoorsy, and I've had enough close calls to know that you do NOT screw around with the wilderness. In her FB post, Cheryl says "Just go. Take chances. Learn along the way." This is very irresponsible of her. She has a following and some of those nitwits will do exactly that. God willing the worst that happens to them is blisters.

    Tonight on the subway I saw a young woman reading Wild and YES I told her about this blog. She said she had her doubts about the story and would check out the blog. Yay!

  9. I just posted on Cheryl's page "You were an avid day hiker and still bought the wrong size boots for your PCT hike?"

    That will get zapped, of course. But inconsistencies like that show how full of shit Cheryl is. Choosing the right boots is very basic! Even a casual day-hiker learns pretty quick how important boots are, so an "avid" one would have hunted down and broken in the right boots before attempting the PCT.

    The supportive comments all seem to be from dumbasses who hiked in sneakers and lived off candy bars and were lucky not to be seriously hurt or lost (and probably didn't do all that much serious hiking to begin with). It's a circle-jerk of incompetence and stupidity. Everyone else they regard as "haters". I guess they never noticed that *actual park rangers* and *actual trail associations* ALWAYS stress the importance of safety and preparedness?

    God I hate this woman.

    1. Good comment, Pink Pearl! Of course, the rabid little Cheryl-zombies jumped on you. I re-read her FB status and thought the same thing you just stated: God, I hate her.

    2. Most of her supporters seem to think that people criticizing Cheryl are all elitist backpackers who don't want the common rabble on our exalted trails. They think we're expecting all new backpackers to live up to some idealized standard of perfection before we approve of their decision to hike. Or they think we are a bunch of macho men who don't want no strong-willed wimmen on our trailz.

      Of course, none of that is what is behind the criticism. We recognize that Cheryl's "facts" don't add up. The details of her hike don't make sense. We don't care if you're a rookie hiker, we just don't want you lying about your phony accomplishments.

      And she is encouraging people, both directly and indirectly, to head out to the trail woefully unprepared. She is telling them they can do it because she did it, only her support for this encouragement is a blatant lie.

      So it isn't that we don't want inexperienced hikers, or strong women, or people who need healing, to take to the trails. We just don't like watching a liar mislead people, give them false information, and glorify herself with blatant falsehoods.

    3. Exactly, Facilman. I skimmed most of the comments (searching for Lauren's comment) and that is what I saw and claims that anyone who criticizes Cheryl is jealous. Then, they feed right into her need for aggrandizement by telling her she is "amazing & inspirational". Well, if she thinks we're going to go away, she's going to be surprised.

  10. the lies continue...

    1. Not sure if this had been seen. I just noticed it last night when I was paging through an old issue. Thought I'd point it out just in case. I was instantly disappointed in Backpacker.

    2. Wow! I'm disappointed, too, Gregory. When I first started backpacking, I worshiped Backpacker magazine.

    3. At least, they didn't seem to fawn all over her. I like the comment made by "markweth".

    4. Guess who won't be renewing her Backpacker subscription.

      How could they promote this irresponsible wreck of a story?!

    5. Yep. I saw the article and called to tell them why I was cancelling my subscription. If they can't vet their hikers and require more evidence than, "I have a great book.", then I can't trust them to vet any of their information. The customer service representative said that she agreed about my decision on principle and said I wasn't the first to call.

    6. That makes me wish I still had my subscription, just so I could call & cancel, too :)

  11. Well, my post was deleted, but not before I was told I needed therapy by one of Cheryl's supporters, lol! I guess providing specific examples of people who actually do get into trouble and die is too much too handle. I also saw the comments on Pinkpearl's boots comment. Wow, such vitriol out there!

    1. I suffered through the whole thread of comments, looking for your well-stated and reasonable comment, Lauren. At least I just skimmed them so I'm not quite ready to jump off my roof ;) Yes, the replies to Pinkpearl's comment made me think of crazed mob mentality. Those commenters who compared her to Muir or Thoreau, I want to hunt down and smack, though.

    2. I saw your comment last night and I thought it was well written and sincere. Mine was, too. This further proves that PMags doesn't care about real concerns or debate, despite his claims otherwise. I hate to see him go down like that.

    3. Thanks, Tori. I think he may have visited this site after receiving your comment and a few others from people on this site. I think he has now deleted me because I've gotten no new emails from his site & if I try to go to his site, I'm now re-directed to Google (instead of the you-tube video). I mostly work from home, but tomorrow I am going to my office location & will try to visit his site from there (different IP address). I contacted & they said they don't have him & suggested but there is not way to wage a complaint. There was something on there about locating a domain & they provided a link. It looks like is owned by a guy named Joshua Zapin in Boulder (not Paul, as he says).

    4. My post was deleted because it is hard to argue against someone advocating for safety, rather than directly attacking Cheryl. The point of backpacking is to do it FIRST safely, to make it enjoyable and doable for yourself or your group. It is easier to just not address a serious issue than MAYBE use the platform you have to use the mistakes you made as a teaching opportunity. Instead, all she can say is Look at me! Learn the hard way, like I did! WTF. It's just that this lady REFUSES to acknowledge the other side of the coin, the ugly side no one wants to talk about. And that says a lot about her. SAR will be busier than ever, and they will have Ms. Strayed herself to thank for it. So Cheryl, if you are reading this, PLEASE use your platform and advocate for SAFE and happy trails, as any ranger or lover of the wilderness would do.

    5. By the way, if someone would like to post a version of the above on by behalf, that would be greatly appreciated, as I seem to have lost commenting privileges on her post :/

    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    7. I wrote this on the timeline, Lauren: Backpacking should be done first, SAFELY and made doable and enjoyable for yourself and/or your group. Maybe, you could use this platform to advocate for SAFE and happy trails, as any ranger or lover of the wilderness would do . We are part of the wild & beautiful world; it does not belong to us. We should give it the respect it deserves. Cheryl, you could use your mistakes as a teaching opportunity, instead of saying "just go" & learn the hard way. Many people don't survive the hard way, even with all their good intentions.

    8. Lauren, I guess Cheryl told the truth about one thing-- remember her FB post about "the haters?" It was the post that pushed me over the edge and caused me to create this blog:

      "Sometimes I'm asked how I deal with the haters. I don't deal with them. I pity them. I don't expect everyone to love my books. In fact, I frankly expect the opposite. (In the history of books, there isn't one everyone loves.) But I must say I marvel at the ugliness it takes to gather one's forces in the direction of what one loathes rather than loves-- to go out of one's way to say to a writer: YOU SUCK. So I send out a little silent non-God-connected prayer to the jackass who felt the need to share his or her jackassed-ness with me. And then, without comment, I zap them forever from this page."

      It seems like you've been "zapped" forever. Because that's how adults act when someone has a different opinion.

    9. That's a fairly childish way to address a problem. "You disagree with me- therefore, you must be filled with loathing and pathetic lives." She has it completely backwards- it's because I LOVE hiking and the wild, and want to see other people love and respect the sport, that I commented here. When James Frey wrote A Million Little Pieces, people verbally abused and silenced those who found problems and inconsistencies. We tend to idolize people without vetting them to see if they're worthy of such protection and adoration. This is turning into the same sort of scenario. Questioning those we hold in esteem should be celebrated, not hated. When people died trying to emulate Frey's method of detox, people chalked it up to a weak character and lifted Frey even higher up on the pedestal. Will it take a young girl setting off unprepared, while less than a month out of an abortion, detoxing from heroin to die before we question the wisdom of this book?

  12. Wow, you two really did get attacked by the Strayed Ones. Particularly Pinkpearl. Interesting that Cheryl left that comment but deleted Lauren's

    Someone needs to show me where in the book she states she's an avid day hiker. I have the electronic version so I can search the text for "hiker" & "hiking" and never once does she say she did anything before the PCT.
    She did say: "I was in my hiking outfit and felt a bit foreign, like
    someone I hadnt become yet" She says that hiking is nothing but walking and that she had walked a lot as a waitress an walked for pleasure, which is not hiking. Her husband even expressed concern for the fact she HAD NEVER BACKPACKED BEFORE.

    and this little gem:
    "As I ascended, I realized I didnt understand what a mountain was"
    "I'd walked on a few, but only well-trod paths on day hikes. They seemed to be nothing more than really big hills"

    So ladies & gentlemen, we now have caught Cheryl in a lie, trying to cover up her other lies.

    Is she the "hapless hiker" as she was called by Sam and a name she said was a "fairly apt name", or was she already an "avid hiker" like she's claiming now.

    1. It's simply revisionist history. She has seen the criticism she has received and is adjusting her backstory to try and mitigate the backlash. She now claims she was an avid day hiker, and a rugged Minnesota wilderness girl, and so she really wasn't as "green" as she portrays herself in her own book. For some reason her rabid fans lap up any nonsense that supports their belief system. "Don't let the haters get you down Cheryl! You go grrrrl."

      Of course, her entire book is really revisionist history.

    2. She's still makin' it up as she goes along and weaving those tangled webs around herself.

  13. I'm not a hiker, so I'll leave it to you good folks to keep calling Cheryl out on her bullshit. What I do know about is losing your mother and I have to say the way Cheryl made it all about her was infuriating. Your mother is in more pain than you can even comprehend and you're checking out the bulge on the nurse giving her pain meds? WTF! Don't even get me started about her fantasy about getting it on with him in the bathroom. Why would this even cross your mind?! And the way she goes on about her siblings not being there, could she be more sanctimonious? For those of you who haven't watched someone you love go through the process of actively dying, it is the most awful thing to witness. I don't even have words to describe it (probably because I'm not a brilliant writer like Cheryl). My point is that it's more than most people can handle and if you do manage to somehow handle it at the time (probably because you're the caregiver and have no choice) it will haunt you for the rest of your life. I actually love my sibling enough to be glad that she wasn't there for the worst of it. Obviously, Cheryl can't show the same compassion for her siblings. She also isn't an orphan. Her father is still alive and she's a grown ass woman - not the definition of an orphan. It's another thing we have in common, but at no time have I ever thought of myself as being in the same category as some poor child with no one to take care of her. Ugh, this book made me so mad! I'm glad I found this blog of like minded souls, so I know I'm not alone. For the Cheryl acolytes out there, I'm in no way jealous of her and neither a
    is the blogger or individuals contributing to this blog. We just have a low tolerance for self entitled, elitist, narcissistic bullshit being sold to us as a "true" story of personal insight.

    1. Noneya, you're not alone in having reservations about how Cheryl expresses grief. Losing a parent is devastating. I've reserved my story because it wasn't germaine (?) to the hiking or literary aspects of what of what Cheryl did or lied about. However, grief is a central theme so maybe it deserves a separate post.

      Grief over the loss of a parent, be it a fast or slow death, is monumental. It's defining at any age. Watching a loved one slowly deteriorate into a shell of who they once were is terrifying and defeating. You wonder how anyone can watch, but you can't look away because you're afraid you'll miss a breath or a moment of lucidity. I understand everyone grieves differently. However, sizing up the genitalia of your mom's caregiver as she struggles to live shows a profound (there, I said it) lack of fucks. I'm going to reveal a few personal things here. The details don't matter and, to this day, i can't speak of then without serious emotional backlash, add to the validity of your goes I was orphaned. Truly and legitimately, before I was 7. I don't remember much, other than having been so very helpless and confused. My father was killed in a car accident and my mother murdered. It all happened in the country of my birth and I'm very lucky that a relative who was willing to adopt me lived in the states. I was raised by that relative and consider her to be my mom. She died of cancer five years ago. So, when I talk about loss, it's coming from a sacred place. Losing your mother at any age is like having part of yourself ripped from you. You have no one to call; no one to reach out to. And, processing that loss takes years. The only solace I find is the knowledge that I had the fortune to be loved unconditionally and even people living parents often find that that's not true. Like Cheryl, I threw myself into hiking and went through an accounting of my life. But, i never turned to drugs or infidelity/sex to numb that pain. I don't say that to judge. Her pain was real and death shakes your foundation so much that self destructive behavior is common. But, Cheryl uses her mom's death as a catalyst for excusing her drug use, hypersexualization, drug use, and other cruel acts. That's not grief driven. Even watching her mother die didn't snap her out of it. Instead, her reaction was a surreal inner dialogue of radical justification and personal indulgence. Her reaction to death was to do nothing different and thats the unbelievable part, to me.

      I didn't speak for a year after my birth mother died. In fact, in the orphanage I was sent to to await my visa to leave and join my relatives. I was truly stunned to silence. After finding sanctuary and safety elsewhere, I began to improve. But, all of thousands were reopened upon my mom's death in my young adulthood. I turned to food to fill the void and, one weekend, hiked far out into the wilderness to have a one-on-one with the God I was raised with. I destroyed almost all of my gear in that anger. I swore at the sky and considered throwing myself into work raging river because the pain and unfairness was so ridiculously heavy. After releasing all of that rage and penned up dissatisfaction with life, there was a moment when I caught my breath on the edge of the river. I knew I would be causing more pain to the people I loved (friends, family, hiking pals, and my boyfriend) and I knew that, as little as I cared for myself and as unfair my life had been, I had no right to put that saddle on someone else or put that burden on search party or recovery team that would have to haul my body out. Maybe that's why Cheryl's hike posses me off so much? Because, rather than treasure the air in her lungs and think about the ramifications if the worst case scenario, she didn't have the empathy to consider the pain she had and could cause to others.

  14. I wish I could edit my comment. It's full of typos. Sorry.

    1. That's a beautiful story. Thank you. Don't worry about typos.

  15. I'm at this chapter, how much longer until it ends. About halfway through the book I seemed to realize there was no "lost to found" just a log of her walking the trail. I thought there would be some sort of transformation in this book. I started reading it and was stricken by the similarities I had just found out my mom & dad both had cancer, it wasn't going well, my mom was a vegetarian & etc but now all I want is for it to end because it is so boring. 

  16. Wow. I'm actually really amazed at this website and the unadulterated hatred here. I don't know how I got here, I was searching articles about writers I like (Cheryl Strayed is one of them) and I found myself here. This feels like an alternate universe. Good God.

    1. If you enjoy CS's writing this site is going to be too complex for you.

      Additionally this blog addresses some serious issues CS's ignore like her constant lies and how she encourages other to hike with a complete lack of prepardness she as she claims to have done.

      Regardless of your personal feelings about CS or whether you enjoy her writing, she implies that there is nothing wrong, indeed there is something quite noble about hitting the trail with a plan or any idea what are you doing. This is a recipe for diaster. See above comments for a full explaination.

      Meanwhile I will send out a non God connected prayer you develop soem reading comprehensive skills and an ability to tell when people are lying to you.

  17. Wow. I'm actually really amazed at this website and the unadulterated hatred here. I don't know how I got here, I was searching articles about writers I like (Cheryl Strayed is one of them) and I found myself here. This feels like an alternate universe. Good God.

    1. You see, the real problem is the mass of people who rushed out and injured or killed themselves because they believed Strayed's Big Book O' Fairy Tales.

      A lot of us read this book and couldnt believe anyone bought any of the BS and felt compelled to find like-minded others to vent about the insanity. She shot up heroin and was just fine & peachy keen the next day? Cmon! It doesnt even pass the smell test. Cheryl has as much admitted that her recollection was, at best, foggy when she wrote the book.

      It's up to you though. If you find something worthwhile in the fiction, great! Glad you enjoyed it. I grew up around southern baptists and watching people fall victim to a bunch of lies just goes against my nature. Peace out!