"None of them ever saw her."
September 29, 2017 2:25 PM   Subscribe

A flareup of lupus in 2014 left Stacey Kozel without the use of her legs, but she strapped them into specially made braces that allow her to traverse the trails and go for long distances. She’s completed the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail as well as the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail, and she’s done it all as a functioning paraplegic. After ABC News covered her recent completion of the PCT; her story was picked up by news outlets around the world, and she said that she was planning on writing a book about her experience. However, shortly after news broke that she’d completed her thru-hike and arrived at the north terminus of the PCT along the Canadian border, the hiking community began to examine her claims, and came away more than a bit suspicious.
posted by Clustercuss (55 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
Six people have died trying to finish the PCT this year, and another is missing and presumed dead

Holy shit.
posted by sio42 at 2:41 PM on September 29, 2017 [10 favorites]


Oh, that's sad.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:46 PM on September 29, 2017


Anyone who lied about it would denigrate its tremendous value.

What value?
posted by blue t-shirt at 2:56 PM on September 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


I was waffling on whether this was internet hate squad on a woman of note, but the sock puppety facebook accounts and admitting to using someone else's photos as their own doesn't bode well.
posted by Ferreous at 3:02 PM on September 29, 2017 [8 favorites]



> What value?

It was right there on the line before. Not sure how you missed it:

Finishing the PCT is a monumental achievement, one that demands sacrifice and extreme perseverance. I know several people who have tried and failed to finish it. To the community, it’s a near-holy task.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:04 PM on September 29, 2017 [23 favorites]


The value of completing a very difficult task.

I assume the author means "personal value to those that have completed or strive to complete the task" rather than absolute value.
posted by stinkfoot at 3:04 PM on September 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


Well, that's pretty sad all around. Ugh.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:11 PM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


I thought this was going to be a story about how she's not disabled to begin with. Now I wonder about that too.
posted by AFABulous at 3:15 PM on September 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


This has been a hot topic in a lot of the backpacking groups I'm a part of. General consensus is she claims to have hiked slow, but made better time than almost anyone in the worst year while seeing no one - it's definitely a fake.
posted by corb at 3:19 PM on September 29, 2017 [13 favorites]


Yikes. I haven't done my own research on this particular case, but I'm sad that people would fake such things. As someone who does long distance FKT attempts myself (1,2,3), integrity is vitally important to the challenges. It's easy to cheat and cover it up, no one cares since there's no money on the line to "win", but the person who attempts these things - with the help of social media, can benefit greatly with sponsorship deals if they claim the FKT, and no one questions them.

I was just reading about Rob Young, who ran across the country, but now that seems to be under question too:

http://sportsscientists.com/2016/10/rob-young-investigation-key-findings/

http://www.letsrun.com/news/2016/10/robert-young-inspiration-fraud/

This lady just came under fire, as well:

https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/examining-fkts-the-kaiha-bertollini-case-study/
posted by alex_skazat at 3:28 PM on September 29, 2017 [10 favorites]


As someone who does long distance FKT attempts myself (1,2,3), integrity is vitally important to the challenges

Yeah. On a much smaller scale I attempted the 200 mile Rheinsteig a few years ago and had to drop it at the 50 mile mark. And you know what? I'm good with that. It's what I did. I would be rather annoyed if someone came along and claimed to have waltzed on through when they hadn't.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 3:39 PM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Beyond the values ethics and integrity in sport, there is also the bottom-line value of media attention, sponsorships, speaking gigs, book tours, charity representation, etc. It's not just about "ethics in hiking."
posted by xyzzy at 3:45 PM on September 29, 2017 [9 favorites]


I've been following this story closely because this season has been so difficult on the PCT - somewhere, someone joked that the official motto of the PCT Class of 2017 should be "We tried". When I first heard about her accomplishment, my first instinct was doubt and disbelief - how?, in such a difficult season, particularly with the heavy snow in the Sierras and multiple deaths. Because I'm in awe of anyone who finished this season, and it didn't just seem possible for her to do it. And then immediately I felt like an utter shit for thinking that - especially when I heard she had done the AT.

As the story questioning Kozel emerged, I too wondered if it was some kind of internet hate group. But the people initially raising the question were trail angels - people who have devoted a good deal of time and resources to taking care of people on the trail - an unlikely hit squad. Personally, I haven't done anything like the PCT - but I know people here on MeFi have, or the AT, so I hope they chime in - but I have done some small long distance hikes, and I can tell you that even on something like a 100 mile hike, as a woman alone and with friends, I remember many of the people I ran across, some of them even 20 years later. IMHO the most damning fact is that nobody can remember her. And I can damn well say that if I ran into someone like her on a trail like that, not only would I be awed and inspired by her, I would goddamn WORRY about her. Hell, I've been concerned about people on trails only 5 miles long and maybe stuck around or hiked slower just to be sure they're okay. She'd be on my mind the whole rest of the trail - I would ask about her, hope she's doing great, and wish her amazing success. I'm not the only person like that, either, and from everything I've read about people's experiences on thru-hikes like that, she would have been remembered because lots of people would want the same - for her to be well and to succeed. Those trail angels are like that with their whole hearts.

I can understand her not registering. I can even, to some extent, understand not logging her GPS, if she's that concerned with safety. I know what it is to be a woman alone hiking, and she's a pretty memorable, and thus visible, woman hiking alone. But that's precisely the problem. a) She is memorable, as quite a number of people have pointed out; and b) if she's that worried about her safety, then she could be able to provide at the least a record of letting people know she's okay. Text messages from some kind of SPOT beacon, even. Who knows - she would want to let people know her progress and condition, and people who care about her would also want to know. So it's possible she could have stepped up with that kind of evidence - and to be fair, she gives her reasons for not doing so - but she did the opposite: she scrubbed all the evidence already out there.

It's really easy to be armchair critic with these things, and hard to resist that temptation. But all the evidence -
and lack of evidence - points to her lying; and maybe about the AT too. And as a serious backpacker, hiker, and lover of outdoor lands, this story hurts. It hurts on all kinds "defender of public lands" levels (which I really don't feel like going into cuz I'm tired) and as a participant in those kind of activities, because even if I don't truly know from experience what hiking the PCT means, I can comprehend it as an awesome accomplishment. Especially this year. It makes people look at those accomplishments with just a little bit less trust; it's a lie about our public lands in a time when our public lands need every bit of help and good publicity they can get. Clay Evans wrote an essay getting into why it matters a little bit here.

But bluntly, this isn't the first time someone had lied about an outdoor accomplishment. So it's on a purely personal level it really hurts. . . I've dreamed about doing the PCT for decades. I was in a bad accident in my early 20s, which required me to do quite a bit to essentially learn how to walk again, and part of my dream always involved a small measure of fear that I can't do the PCT. For the first time next year, I have both the financial means and time to make an attempt, and was seriously thinking about it. When I heard about her accomplishment and pushed through my doubt (and I really felt yucky for doubting) I called my ortho that day to get his opinion, because she inspired me. If she could do it, in a year like this one, with her disability than I definitely could with my leg and foot problems. (My ortho said no, but mainly so I can continue hiking/backpacking for years to come- he said yes on a 500 mile hike, so I'm happy to be doing something.) So you can imagine how I felt hearing that she didn't do it. Who else out there feels similarly?

I don't understand why she felt she had to lie - it was a terrible year on the PCT and IMHO it's just as inspiring to say, this isn't my year, but I'm coming back to try again, and then doing that. Like many an outdoors people, I feel way more respect for those who acknowledge that it's better to quit then push themselves into situations that, for some reason - weather, their physical fitness, terrain, skill level, whatever - could cause serious injury/death to themselves or put others at risk if they need rescued. She did that! It would be so easy to respect her for that decision (if there was a genuine attempt). But now we can't.

There is, however, a certain degree of compassion that can be had for Kozel and feeling she had to lie - social pressure, financial pressure, expectations, personal demons, whatever compelled her - and I'm really trying hard to feel that right now. But mostly I'm angry and a little hurt, and I feel for whoever has completed the trail in previous years, and especially anyone who completed this year. In other words, this story isn't just about her: it's about how her actions are affecting other people.

But. Nevertheless. On one level I wish her well, and hope she triumphs over whatever is chasing her that she felt compelled to do this - and hope she comes back to actually do it some time in the future.
posted by barchan at 3:52 PM on September 29, 2017 [88 favorites]


Beyond the values ethics and integrity in sport, there is also the bottom-line value of media attention, sponsorships, speaking gigs, book tours, charity representation, etc. It's not just about "ethics in hiking."

I wonder if with Kaycee Nichole we would have been talking about "ethics in blogging". Simpler times I suppose.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:16 PM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


Ugh, why are people so horrible?
posted by medusa at 4:17 PM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


In my opinion the worst damage she's done, and would have done much more of if she'd achieved the fame she was headed for, was to the 160000+ Americans alone who have lupus and who must constantly contend with skepticism that they're as disabled as they say they are, because if she can do all that, why can't they get a job and support themselves instead of sponging off the taxpayer?
posted by jamjam at 4:24 PM on September 29, 2017 [39 favorites]


Society's ableism is not a reason to shame Kozel for her actual accomplishment of hiking the AT or her attempt at hiking the PCT. Disability limits people's lives in very different ways; if we disabled people can understand that about each other, I don't see why abled people can't learn that about us.
posted by epj at 4:33 PM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


In 2016, Clay Bonnyman saw her briefly on the AT
posted by Ideefixe at 4:38 PM on September 29, 2017 [3 favorites]


But all the evidence - and lack of evidence - points to her lying; and maybe about the AT too.

I haven't been following it closely, but the general consensus on whiteblaze.net, one of the big AT discussion boards, is that the AT story is also fabricated. Very few people remember seeing her, those who did all saw her in major parking areas. All of her AT photos are of her at trailheads, she doesn't have pictures of any of the usual photogenic trail milestones.
posted by peeedro at 4:43 PM on September 29, 2017 [15 favorites]


The first link, which is about Kozel's AT hike, addresses how the reporter sourced and documented the story in light of the PCT scandal.
posted by epj at 4:48 PM on September 29, 2017


I have lupus. Lupus flares can't cause the loss of limb use, in any research I can't find. Don't get me wrong, the inflammation and arthritis cause numbness, and pain, and there are days when going room to room is unpleasant, but nothing i can find suggests paralysis as a lupus flare symptom or result.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 5:36 PM on September 29, 2017 [8 favorites]


Lupus also has diminished her lung capacity, so she lost her breath frequently. She calls herself a "freeze baby," and to fight the cold (and try to put down more miles every day), she walked through the night at least 10 times. - ESPN article

But she was hiking in the Sierras in April 2017? Sure.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:42 PM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


I’ve sectioned multiple parts of the PCT in Oregon, once when the trail was buried under many feet of snow. You always run into other through/section hikers.
posted by not_the_water at 5:45 PM on September 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


Reading that AT hike story about Katahdin after the PCT fakery really calls it into question as well. Her hands were supposedly too cold to take out the phone for a picture, at the summit, and she did it in the dark so it wouldn't have mattered anyway? I... am suspicious.
posted by corb at 5:49 PM on September 29, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm sure there's no way to know for sure, but I find myself wondering if this kind of fakery isn't on the rise due to social media.

Or have there always been people doing this in these numbers, and now it's easier to catch them because of things like photos put online, crowd investigations, GPS, etc.?
posted by imabanana at 5:52 PM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Six people have died trying to finish the PCT this year

You either die a hero...
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:54 PM on September 29, 2017


In the essay both Ideefixe and I linked to, Evans notes: "The revelations led the AT hiking community to begin asking its own questions and doing basic math, and it became abundantly clear that she had not, and could not have, hiked that trail, either. Witnesses corroborate that they saw her on a few, limited portions of it, but that’s all." Which made me wander if that was a little. . . premature? It's only been a few days since the first questions and it might take a little bit more time to investigate her claims since it was last year. At the very least, though, people did see her on the trail, and remembered her, which nobody did on the PCT. Unfortunately, that's a bit more evidence to support a false PCT claim.

Right now it seems the AT is at best a question mark, with evidence of some hiking, or "limited portions" and a lot of questions surrounding completing the entirety. And one thing that Kozel was clear about was how she didn't complete the AT in one continuous line, but "flip flopped" - doing a thru hike, but not in order, which could make it harder to find people to verify she hiked the whole thing*. It's probably coming from a similar place, as Evans says, "because I wanted to believe, I didn’t properly vet her AT story" but as yet I'm reluctant to draw a wholehearted conclusion she didn't (on the AT) until some more evidence emerges. Though I have to say, reports, even videos, of her speed on the AT seem to challenge both the idea of her completing the AT and her speed claims on the PCT. Right now (IMHO) I'd call it a high possibility she didn't thru-hike the AT, but not yet probability.

One thing, epj, that I wondered about that ESPN article when I first read it is where did the photographer hike with her? Did they actually go up Katahdin with her? Or just other parts of the trail? Because if they did go with her, and saw her summit, that would lend some credibility to her not being able to take selfies of herself in what others describe as places where everybody takes selfies, and their pointing at her photos only being taken at trail heads as evidence she didn't do either one. (Her standing at the summit, though, seems too good of a photo op to pass up if the photographer was with her - or maybe he did get it, but it was night, so it didn't turn out to be publishable, or something.) It's hopeful they say something more.

One thing potentially interesting to observe is how the PCT and AT orgs react to this in the long run (not just what they've said in the last few days) and how far their own internal investigations go in looking at her claims.

*The cynic in me says that makes it easier to fake, too, and she may have realized that.
posted by barchan at 6:01 PM on September 29, 2017


One thing potentially interesting to observe is how the PCT and AT orgs react to this in the long run (not just what they've said in the last few days) and how far their own internal investigations go in looking at her claims.

What they've said won't change. They don't get involved with conflicts over claimed hikes. They haven't in the past, and they won't now.
posted by edeezy at 6:13 PM on September 29, 2017


Also the diminished lung capacity thing makes the PCT hike even more hinky...the elevation in the Sierras AND the poor air quality in Oregon and Washington.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:15 PM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


You really think so, edeezy? At some point there's gotta be a conflict that pushes them to do something, and the PCT Association made a special note that they're waiting more information before they comment.

I'm not going to say who and what, but after a certain politician said he had done a certain outdoor achievement, the org I was involved with had a serious discussion about the honor system and reporting and how things may need to change; they didn't elect to do anything at the time (the situation was just . . . too fraught, I think, too big) but it definitely set the wheel poised to spin. Nothing too technical or off-putting, but possible solutions were floated that would be enough to also help with data collection about land use and numbers.

OTOH, a really robust/passionate community does a lot of that investigation naturally, and some orgs may see that as enough without their needing to get involved. The danger of that though can be a witch hunt.

*sigh* On the other other hand, I've spent enough time in orgs like that to realize sometimes there's a few folks who can be. . . resistant to change, to put it nicely.

(Also the more I read about the electronics on her braces, especially about getting wet and the charging problems, the more unlikely even of it seems. How the hell would she hike those distances - especially overnights like she claimed - if she needs to charge them every two days? How the fuck would she keep them dry in snow conditions, especially post-holing? Or in humidity? It seems like even walking through vegetation with dew on it - which can be soaking - would be a problem with how delicate they are. Or hell, even dealing with a tent fly covered in dew.)
posted by barchan at 6:52 PM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


One thing, epj, that I wondered about that ESPN article when I first read it is where did the photographer hike with her? Did they actually go up Katahdin with her? Or just other parts of the trail?

Disclaimer: I don't want to shit on her because I love hiking and would encourage everyone to try. If she inspired anybody, able-bodied or otherwise, to go for a hike then that's a good thing. I recently made a comment in another thread about disabled people thru-hiking the AT and I did not include Stacey Kozel because her story hasn't passed the sniff test. I do think a lot of journalists who don't know much about long-distance hiking were taken by a heart warming story that was too good to be true.

Anyhow, if you read the account from the Boston Globe reporter who actually hiked with her in Baxter State Park, they hiked the Chimney Pond Trail (3 miles) in two days. They proceeded to the Saddle Trail (2 miles to Baxter Peak). According to the ESPN article she turned around at around 4000' of elevation on the Saddle Trail, which is less than a mile in. So it took three days to hike about 4 miles. Note, these trails are not on the Appalachian Trail, they are the way to get to the top of Katahdin with the smallest average and maximum grade by approaching from the NE (the parking lot at the Roaring Brook Campground), the approaches from the AT and the Abol Campground are steeper.

She claims her summit of Katahdin happened solo on a following attempt without a journalist. She was hiking with one friend who turned around for the night, she says she continued alone, in the dark, in foul weather to the summit but was too tired and cold to take her picture with the famous Katahdin sign.

The first link, which is about Kozel's AT hike, addresses how the reporter sourced and documented the story in light of the PCT scandal.

Picking through it, the article is very thinly sourced. It's based on accounts from the Boston Globe photog who hiked 4 miles with her, two friends who were with her on her Kathadin attempts, and two rando thru hikers. The only verified detail beside her failed try at Katahdin is from one thru hiker, a doctor, who briefly met her at Bear Mountain, NY. The summit at Bear Mountain is car accessible, the AT is paved for a couple of miles there, and it's one of the most visited portions of the trail as it runs through the Trailside Zoo. There's nothing to rule out the theory that she was just visiting easily assessable parts of the trail; which is fine by me except for the lying part.
posted by peeedro at 7:57 PM on September 29, 2017 [7 favorites]


barchan, from rereading the ESPN article, it reads like she was alone when summiting Katahdin. Honestly, I hope the writer who did the ESPN piece does a follow-up where he re-interviews the same people he talked to before and finds out how much time they spent with her on the trail. It seems clear to me that she did little, if any, of the PCT, but I’m hanging on to some hope for the AT claim.

And on preview, I guess not. Dammit, Stacy Kozel. I should’ve known when the ESPN article said you “wanted to inspire” people.
posted by epj at 8:08 PM on September 29, 2017 [1 favorite]


If it turns out Terry Fox faked it I will fucking move to the Quiet Zone I swear to God. Jesus fucking Christ what times we live in, where people make up shit like this for publicity.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:39 PM on September 29, 2017 [2 favorites]


Barchan: "I can understand her not registering. I can even, to some extent, understand not logging her GPS, if she's that concerned with safety. I know what it is to be a woman alone hiking, and she's a pretty memorable, and thus visible, woman hiking alone. But that's precisely the problem."

Yeah, no. I am on a FB group for women's AT hikers, and the community there is quite supportive of solo thru hikers, flip-floppers, LASHers, etc. Anybody who wants to try the AT solo gets support. It's a proud, diverse community.

On that or another FB hikers group (I can't remember now), there was a discussion on this story earlier this week, and the concept that somebody could claim to have hiked the entire PCT without encountering a fellow-hiker or a trail angel or anybody was simply laughable.

I hope Stacey gets the help she needs so that she can understand why she lies.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:09 PM on September 29, 2017 [4 favorites]


A September 4 photo from her supposed finish raised suspicions for a number of reasons, the most obvious of which was the clarity of the photo. That part of the Canadian border was socked in with thick smoke throughout the first week of September
Wow, something on Metafilter I'm somewhat uniquely qualified to comment on. I work in Manning Park. The smoke this year was really variable. Yes we had a couple weeks where it was smoky, sometimes pretty bad, but the first week of September was not of those weeks. We had some smoke but it wasn't constant and we had a lot of clear blue sky too. I don't have a sky shot from September 4th but I've several from the day before showing cloudless, smokeless skies (sort of). See for example this image of the Flammagenitus cloud from the Diamond Creek Fire which straddled the US-Canada Border. This shot was taken from the Cascade look out road in Manning Park facing south west and the cloud is ~35 kilometres away. The sky is very clear. Essentially the only thing in the sky 360 degrees around was the Flammagenitus and the associated North West out flow from the fire. The Trail head and the entirety of the Park was smoke free at that time. Here is an image of a yellow pine chipmunk taken on the morning of the 3rd. While it doesn't show sky one can infer from the whiteness of the light on the stump that the sky wasn't experiencing heavy smoke.

Having said that I get to talk to the thru hikers (we offer them showers, use of our pool facilities and a place to sleep if they wish while they wait for a ride) and no one has mentioned the hiker with leg braces. People set a lot of different paces; she should have been passed or passed dozens of other hikers.

Johnny Wallflower: "If it turns out Terry Fox faked it I will fucking move to the Quiet Zone I swear to God. Jesus fucking Christ what times we live in, where people make up shit like this for publicity."

Terry Fox had extensive video documentation and of course in the latter period was accompanied by police and volunteers on and off from the communities he passed through. Plus financial documentation for supplies along the way. There wasn't a camera on him 24x7 but we can be pretty sure he did what claimed.
posted by Mitheral at 9:23 PM on September 29, 2017 [18 favorites]


I have lupus. Lupus flares can't cause the loss of limb use, in any research I can't find. Don't get me wrong, the inflammation and arthritis cause numbness, and pain, and there are days when going room to room is unpleasant, but nothing i can find suggests paralysis as a lupus flare symptom or result.

Doctor here. I had the same thought. One explanation is that she has the closely related antiphospholipid antibody syndrome which makes you prone to blood clots and people with lupus can get vasculitis and ischemic injuries. Symmetric paraplegia is always caused by a spinal cord injury (I.e. not a brain injury) and it is theoretically possible she suffered an ischemic injury at the level of the cervical spine due to a blood clot (which would also explain diaphragm weakness) but the only place that would explain bilateral limb weakness would be the anterior spinal artery and at the level of the cervical spine there is a lot of collateral circulation supplying oxygen from both sides of the spine (someone correct me if I am wrong) so it’s hard for me to explain a single vascular injury causing quadriplegia. But that is the one scenario I can think of that explains things as they are presented. And now I feel icky about conjecturing that her disability doesn’t make sense as a lupus manifestation. Let’s assume that [something] happened (multiple clots or strokes?) to cause her disability and “lupus flare” is a simplification that works for the story.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:23 PM on September 29, 2017 [16 favorites]


If it turns out Terry Fox faked it

Whoa whoa whoa now. There's a world of difference between claiming to have hiked hundreds of miles of remote wilderness with no witnesses and literally running on the highway waving to passing cars with multiple first-hand accounts of people following or running alongside him for miles at a time. Plus, you know, the whole dying-of-cancer-halfway-through thing, and the posthumously-raising-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars-for-cancer-research thing.

Sorry to derail (hopefully briefly), but I couldn't let that line just sit there.
posted by btfreek at 9:32 PM on September 29, 2017 [15 favorites]


I have to lie down even after just reading about the Appalachian Trail.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 10:09 PM on September 29, 2017 [11 favorites]


Dammit, Stacy Kozel. I should’ve known when the ESPN article said you “wanted to inspire” people.

I'm generally wary of people who have cool or flattering trail names that they probably gave to themselves, like Stacey with her name Iron Will. In the Deadspin article there is the Facebook message from a likely fake person saying, "She earned her name every damn day...iron will!" Yeah, no, it rarely works like that.

See also Wildcard Ninja.

If you meet someone with a real hikertrash name like HeeHaw, Some Pie, or Shit Foot you know they're good people.
posted by peeedro at 10:24 PM on September 29, 2017 [20 favorites]


The mother of my best friend in high school suffered and died from Lupus. It's anecdotal, I know, but this disease doesn't just hinder mobility. It severely drains physical and psychological energy. No way in hell this trek could be accomplished by a body and mind so wrecked, with or without help.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:12 AM on September 30, 2017


I have no horse in this race other than a mother with lupus. Like everything from cold symptoms to mental health, it's not good to make generalization. My mother manages to get around okay. The lupus takes it's toll, for sure, but not everyone is completely crippled by it.

(She was also never really athletic, so regardless of her condition, it would never be an option for her anyway.)
posted by Samizdata at 3:06 AM on September 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


If you meet someone with a real hikertrash name like HeeHaw, Some Pie, or Shit Foot you know they're good people.

So, they're like fighter pilot call signs? Nobody has a cool name like "Maverick" and if it sounds cool that's because they did something stupid and are getting made fun of. e.g.

Killer (added: 17 May 2015)
Given to a Marine F-4 RIO that locked up on the wrong target during an east coast missile shot. Ended up shooting down a Navy A-4.

posted by leotrotsky at 4:54 AM on September 30, 2017 [7 favorites]


I ran a 5K two weeks ago and saw two young guys try to cheat a bit by cutting over into the half-marathon lanes on the right side near the finish in a move they thought would be a slightly shorter route. All I could think was "WTF?". They were in the non-competitive group well back of those who could win their age group. Shaving seconds off their time would make no difference.

I was delighted when the course then turned left for the finishing quarter mile and they realized they had actually lengthened their distance.

People are weird and cheat at strange things for strange reasons and often are not very good at it.
posted by srboisvert at 5:24 AM on September 30, 2017 [6 favorites]


Reminds me of the Robert Young case. People have a big tolerance for self-deception.
posted by kersplunk at 6:04 AM on September 30, 2017


What's funny about stories like this (assuming it's a fabrication, and it certainly seems to be one) is that I assume we've all known people in our lives who made shit up to feel better about themselves or to become more popular.

The only thing that's different in the age of social media is that the audience is larger.
posted by Ickster at 9:07 AM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


So, they're like fighter pilot call signs? Nobody has a cool name like "Maverick" and if it sounds cool that's because they did something stupid and are getting made fun of. e.g.

My ex sister-in-law is named "Bacon" after nailing an impression of the Beggin' Strips dog when she spotted a table of college boys in a bar.

I'll leave it a mystery how "Nosewheel Bob" got his call sign.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:10 AM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


I was "Hurricane" for awhile after drinking too many in NOLA on my first trip with my ex. Much vomit. So romance. Wow.
posted by AFABulous at 12:24 PM on September 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


mitheral, EarthWindMap suggests that Sept 4th was one of those smokey days all up and down the coast, using surface PM2.5 data. It correlated very well with the local smokiness levels. Not sure if the resolution here is precise enough to be partcularly useful.

Looks like the link will generate the same session (and easier to manipulate than clicking <back> and decrementing 12h at a time), but in case, screenshot.
posted by porpoise at 2:30 PM on September 30, 2017 [3 favorites]


Oh ya, we had smoke off and on that week. I was disagreeing with the statement that the PCT terminus was socked in all week. I wasn't there on the 4th so can't really speak to that particular day.

Also on re-read my statement about no other thru hikers mentioning her doesn't really mean much; the hikers have been thru a lot and them mentioning meeting any particular other thru hiker is pretty low.
posted by Mitheral at 8:30 PM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


What about the broken trail marker?
posted by elsietheeel at 8:34 PM on September 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Mittheral - you're the expert here, was just throwing a tool up in case you weren't aware of it. From a know-nothing, thank you for your insights.

You're The Man, man.
posted by porpoise at 10:22 PM on September 30, 2017


Somewhat tangentially related, the couple thru-hiking the AT with their toddler (previously) have completed the trail. Worth seeing: Mt Washington summit, ATC headquarters, trail tantrum, diaper blowout.
posted by peeedro at 6:12 AM on October 1, 2017 [4 favorites]


--Somewhat tangentially related, the couple thru-hiking the AT with their toddler (previously) have completed the trail.

Thank you for this cheering news. That previous Mefi thread about the hike-with-toddler was maddening, and I am happy to see that the smug haters were proven spectacularly wrong.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 10:23 AM on October 3, 2017


In light of the subject of this thread, everyone in that previous thread lamenting social media on the trail overlooked one thing - if you instagram it all the way through, at least no one can (reasonably) deny that you actually did it.
posted by btfreek at 11:38 AM on October 3, 2017


Thank you for this cheering news. That previous Mefi thread about the hike-with-toddler was maddening, and I am happy to see that the smug haters were proven spectacularly wrong.


Haha that thread is so judgmental
posted by grobstein at 10:36 PM on October 15, 2017


« Older Orange Shirt Day and the legacy of colonialism in...   |   Kanban: Shop Signs in Edo Japan Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments