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Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 27 2017 4:17 pm
by chumley
What a bizarre story! :-k
Stacey Kozel, who is paralyzed from the waist down, inspired viewers across the country after KGW and many other media outlets including CNN and ABC News covered her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to British Columbia.

But many in the Pacific Crest Trail hiking community say Kozel's story does not add up.
Then, on Sept. 20, long-time PCT trail angel Donna “L-Rod” Saufley asked a simple question on social media: “Did anyone in the Class of 2017 see Stacey Kozel on the trail this year? Just wondering. No one we hosted mentioned a word about her.”

The subsequent discussion among PCT ’17 hikers made clear the answer: Nobody had seen her. Then someone pointed out that her purported finish photo and date contained anachronisms: That day was densely smoky, but the photo showed blue skies, and a portion of the PCT monument that had broken off in August was still intact (closer examination reveals that it’s almost certainly been Photoshopped, and rather badly, at that).
Despite the criticism, Kozel stands by her story although she cannot offer definitive proof that she completed the hike. She could not provide photos of herself on sections of the trail that were not within a day's hike of a road, particularly the well-known Forester Pass in California. Kozel said she did not have time to take a photo at that point, which is the highest peak on the trail.
http://www.kgw.com/news/local/paralyzed ... /477641124
http://abcnews.go.com/US/facebook-group ... d=50031481
https://medium.com/@Ironwill/earlier-th ... 3818191a6d

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 27 2017 5:14 pm
by rcorfman
She also claimed to have hiked the AT in 2016. That claim is going up in smoke too.

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 27 2017 7:12 pm
by flagscott
The best article on this subject is on Deadspin (believe it or not), with tons of sources and information: https://deadspin.com/how-did-no-one-not ... 1818647235

As a PCT thru hiker, every single detail of her story makes me think she's full of shit (see the Deadspin article for the full rundown). Anyone who is willing to go this length to lie about something like this must have some serious problems.

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 27 2017 7:35 pm
by big_load
flagscott wrote:The best article on this subject is on Deadspin (believe it or not),
I followed some discussion about that elsewhere that cited that article. It certainly does sound fishy.

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 27 2017 9:16 pm
by HAZardous
Photo at Canadian boarder definitely faked. She is photoshopped in with lighting wrong, as evidenced on her jacket.

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 5:52 am
by azbackpackr
I've been following this on social media, on a women's AT page. Needless to say, people are indignant, disappointed, angry, and also just puzzled: why would she go to these lengths to deceive, and think she wouldn't be found out?

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 7:13 am
by SuperstitionGuy
azbackpackr wrote:why would she go to these lengths to deceive, and think she wouldn't be found out?
Maybe we should assume her next goal is to run for Congress? :scared:

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 7:53 am
by Hansenaz
I vaguely noticed this story pass by on the evening news a few days ago: paralyzed woman wearing some robotic (?) walking assist completing thousands of miles of trail? And she didn't look much like a hiker. I just thought, "huh?".

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 10:13 am
by hikeaz
If true it reminds me of that Rachel Dolezal gal...

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 10:47 am
by flagscott
Are comments on race really necessary in a thread on the PCT? Moderators? Bueller? Anyone?

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 11:00 am
by Alston_Neal
It never fails to amaze me the length (pun intended) that someone will go to, to draw attention to themselves.
Let's see, hikes 1 mph and can complete 30 miles in a day. Or @ 1 mph and hiking 10 hours a day would complete the PCT in just under 9 months, assuming she hiked on Sundays and holidays.

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 11:48 am
by hikeaz
flagscott wrote:Are comments on race really necessary in a thread on the PCT? Moderators? Bueller? Anyone?
Race comment? Ha - you take P.C. to a whole new level - What race do you feel was maligned in any way?

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 12:51 pm
by flagscott
@hikeaz Who said anyone was maligned? I just said it wasn't topical. Project much?

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 1:44 pm
by hikeaz
flagscott wrote:@hikeaz Who said anyone was maligned? I just said it wasn't topical. Project much?
Oh - so what you meant to gripe about was the, in your mind off-topic comment (gee.. there are hardly ever any of those on HAZ :) ). Your words were 'comments on race' not 'off-topic comment' - your lack of clarity caused me to draw the conclusion that you imagined that my comment was race-related. Thank you for clearing up that your gripe is about an off-topic comment. Better clear your calendar though, as you are going to be busy policing all of those on HAZ. :lol:

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 2:12 pm
by chumley
What's interesting to me in this case is the merciless response from the hiking community to something that is relatively commonplace in human behavior (to varying degrees).

It's relatively normal for people to frame their accomplishment in the best possible light. It's marketing. On your resume you highlight your achievements, not your failures.

A good story catches somebody's attention, and that can be good for the person telling it.

It seems that some people become addicted to that attention and the story as told gets enhanced or embellished, and over time might turn into a flat out lie.

There are countless examples of this kind of behavior, from academics who make up published works or degrees earned to journalists and secretaries of state who claim to have come under sniper fire or had their helicopter brought down. It's especially prevalent on social media today.

In some cases the reaction is minor, while in others it has resulted loss of credibility and employment.

How much is an innocent progression over time of a favorable spin, versus how much is just rooted in pathological lying and narcissism?

Why has the through-hiking community gotten so involved in discrediting Ms. Kozel's claim? Is there a certain amount of "betrayal" that is felt by people who were captivated by the feel-good emotions of somebody overcoming physical challenges to endure such a difficult journey only to later doubt the veracity of the accomplishment?

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 2:46 pm
by flagscott
chumley wrote:Why has the through-hiking community gotten so involved in discrediting Ms. Kozel's claim? Is there a certain amount of "betrayal" that is felt by people who were captivated by the feel-good emotions of somebody overcoming physical challenges to endure such a difficult journey only to later doubt the veracity of the accomplishment?
I think that hikers get defensive about the long trails because there is something about spending 4-6 months doing the hardest thing you will ever do that makes you fiercely attached to the trail and to other hikers. The long-distance hiking community is very tight-knit. So, when someone tries to take credit for a thru-hike they haven't done, it feels like a personal affront. Now, if Kozel just told a few friends that she had done the hike and didn't make a big deal out of it, I doubt anyone would care. But she's been doing speaking engagements, media appearances, etc. Supposedly a book deal was in the works. It's BS that someone who didn't do the hike (and maybe never even set foot on the trail) should profit from it.

Some other famous hikers like Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed weren't thru-hikers, and they readily admitted that, and I have no problem with what they've done or the attention they got. You just have to be honest.

For me, the saddest thing about all of this is that if Kozel had just set out to do something reasonable, like a 30 mile section or something, she would still deserve all of the praise she's gotten. I don't know if that's even physically possible for her, but I don't understand why she had to go and get greedy and say she did the whole thing.

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 4:31 pm
by ALMAL

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 4:38 pm
by chumley

Re: Stacey Kozel PCT hiker controversy

Posted: Sep 28 2017 7:33 pm
by RedRoxx44