Author Topic: Do you feel safe hiking alone?  (Read 25467 times)

Exhale

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Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« on: March 29, 2015, 09:26:04 AM »
I love to do day hikes (no camping), but since my divorce have been scared to go alone. (I live in the PNW - love the mountains and beaches we have for hiking.) I'm a short female and feel at a disadvantage (my worry is human predators) out alone on the trail, but I miss hiking too much for this to stop me. Anyone have tips on how to do solo hiking without worrying too much? 
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 09:41:11 AM by Exhale »

GizmoTX

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 09:30:09 AM »
It depends on where you want to hike. Are you concerned about animal and/or human predators? Communication if you are injured, sick, or lost?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2015, 09:32:29 AM »
It depends on where I hike. There are some very busy and popular hikes around where I live, and I feel comfortable on those alone.

Long multi-days? I tried one alone in college and ended up having some creeper in a truck try and follow me to my camp. I hid in a tree. That being said, being armed goes a long way to feeling more comfortable (for me) and having a self defense background. Doesn't mean I won't try to avoid confrontation by hiding and waiting though!

If it's a single day hike on a more secluded trail, I try to borrow a friend's big boxer and bring my gun (depending on land ownership obvs). The dog is a sweet goof, but she looks mean and is huge.
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Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2015, 09:42:49 AM »
It depends on where you want to hike. Are you concerned about animal and/or human predators? Communication if you are injured, sick, or lost?
Great questions - just updated my OP to answers the questions:
- Human predators are my fear
- I love day hikes (no camping, maybe car camping someday)

math-ya

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2015, 09:46:06 AM »
get some pepper spray, thats nasty stuff

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2015, 09:49:16 AM »
It depends on where I hike. There are some very busy and popular hikes around where I live, and I feel comfortable on those alone.

If it's a single day hike on a more secluded trail, I try to borrow a friend's big boxer and bring my gun (depending on land ownership obvs). The dog is a sweet goof, but she looks mean and is huge.

Thank you for responding. Wish I had a friend with a big Boxer dog!

I do have self-defense training which has been very helpful (practically and psychologically).

I tried the well-used trails and found that, unless they're super busy, I'm not comfortable (but super busy trails don't make for the most enjoyable hikes). I never ever thought I'd consider owning a gun, but the thought has actually crossed my mind. The big dog approach is attractive though often they're banned from NPs and beaches. However, I'm willing to find the dog friendly places so I can get outside.

Thanks again for the reply - very helpful.

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2015, 09:50:47 AM »
get some pepper spray, thats nasty stuff
Does that feel like enough to keep you safe when hiking alone? I must say I prefer that over a gun.

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 09:53:48 AM »
I would think hikers have a much lower asshole/criminal quotient than the general populace. That said, urban defenses like panic whistles and whatnot might not be that effective out in the wilderness.

It's not something that would even occur to me, but I think that's me being a (large) male talking.

I wouldn't let it get in the way, but perhaps learn some basic self defense and always have a contact back home that you check in with so that if something does go awry, people know where you were planning to be.

There are some past self-defense threads around here. Based on those, I wouldn't do pepper spray. So easy to incapacitate yourself instead, and hard to deploy quickly. A small hand-to-hand weapon like a kubotan kept on a keychain can de devastating with even a little training.
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GizmoTX

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 09:55:25 AM »
I too am short & female. I'm also in my late 60's & walk trails & parks alone. I always carry my cellphone & my small concealed handgun. Training is imperative; I'm CHL certified & practice. Lately I've joined the DIVA-WOW group, which is a female group for outdoor activities, including shooting leagues & education.

NinetyFour

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 09:55:41 AM »
I often hike solo and am also female.  I try to always let someone know of my plans.  If my plans change, and I am out of cell range, I will leave a note on the dash of my vehicle saying what my plans are, what time I left on the hike, when I should return, and an emergency contact number.

Last summer, I climbed 23 peaks, at least half of them solo.  I had no issues with other humans.

In 15 years of hiking here in the southern Rockies, I have only had one slightly uncomfortable encounter with another human.  I was on a trail that was unfamiliar to me and is not a popular one.  I came upon a guy who had set up a long term camp.  He was probably harmless, but seeing him and his camp gave me pause.  Nothing happened--I continued on, and all was well.

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NinetyFour

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2015, 10:00:55 AM »
This is a bit tangential:  in my area, search and rescue missions can be VERY costly (involving helicopters, snowmobiles, etc.) and sometime the costs are passed on to the person who was rescued.  So we have the option to buy a Colorado Search and Rescue card.  It costs $3 per year.  I carry it with me when hiking.
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math-ya

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2015, 10:01:26 AM »
good pepper spray is so intense, it will stop anyone. dont get the 2 dollar one from walmart, get some bear spray from the wilderness store. i think you might have to use it to understand its stopping power.

GizmoTX

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2015, 10:08:06 AM »
A personal protection course where you get physical practice is a good idea. Even tho I carry, using it isn't always possible & is a last resort.

HenryDavid

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2015, 10:10:25 AM »
Pepper spray. In Canada we carry it in bear country.

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sandandsun

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2015, 10:12:30 AM »
I'm female, often hike, trail run in remote areas ... and I always carry a handgun.  I's not for everyone, I grew up with guns and have always been comfortable around them, have had a concealed weapon permit for 20 years... I'm not advocating for everyone to carry a gun, but if its something you feel comfortable with, I'd encourage you to look into it... I have a few that I choose from depending on my needs, but a .38 is a great place to start if you want reliable, basic protection...

choppingwood

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2015, 10:14:27 AM »
I've hiked by myself for a long time, and have had many, many happy days doing that, and no misadventures.

As far as safety goes, I am more comfortable on relatively remote trails. I stay away from situations that it would be easy to get hurt in -- either because of the trail or because of people conditions (e.g., drug problems) nearby. I wear really good boots, for comfort and safety. I absolutely avoid party weekends (here that is 24th of May and Aug 1 long weekends) and usually avoid parts of the Rockies where grizzlies are more common. I have often hiked with a dog, though most dogs enjoy 2 to 3 hours, not all day. I'm careful in hunting season. 

I've know two people who have lost relatives who were hiking. Both times they were hiking with someone else, and one of the two fell and the other was killed trying to catch them or rescue them.

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2015, 10:23:52 AM »
A warm thank you to everyone who has posted. I'll research all of the suggestions. I already feel that I'm getting part of my life back - thank you so much!

MayDay

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2015, 10:24:29 AM »
My brother dated a very tiny girl, and she carried a taser instead of a gun. That might be an option.
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sandandsun

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2015, 10:34:55 AM »
My brother dated a very tiny girl, and she carried a taser instead of a gun. That might be an option.
I'd definitely look into this option if you aren't comfortable with a gun!

Sibley

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2015, 10:40:26 AM »
If you're not comfortable going alone, then don't! Find some like-minded individuals that you can go hiking with. It'd probably be more fun with a friend or two, and then you're not alone.

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2015, 11:10:05 AM »
I don't have a lot to offer from my perspective (6'4" & 265 male) but I really encourage you to find something that allows you to feel comfortable doing something you enjoy.

My first thought was bear mace.  It's perfectly legitimate to carry in the woods, though I'm unclear on legality in the US.  I've done a lot of long-term camping and working in the woods here in BC and Alberta, and bear mace is great for peace of mind - though I've seen a lot more people mace themselves than interact with a bear.  Be careful and know how to use it before you begin.  Personally I sleep much better in a tent with some bear spray ready to hand, though I've never needed it in hundreds of bear encounters.

A gun might be right for you, but if you aren't completely comfortable with it then it becomes a weapon for someone else more than yourself. 

Of course everyone should take some basic self defense.  There is a very good women's self defense course in the Gracie jiu-jitsu program - 12 weeks and all the women I know who've taken it speak very highly of it.

Do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable having fun in the woods.

NinetyFour

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2015, 11:14:11 AM »
Personally I sleep much better in a tent with some bear spray ready to hand, though I've never needed it in hundreds of bear encounters.

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KateH

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2015, 11:18:36 AM »
I'm a small woman (under 5') and I hike occasionally without another human but usually have my big goofy black lab.  He's harmless but he's also very aware if other people are around. I've never had much of a problem. I don't carry a gun - I'd probably end up shooting myself with it.  I wouldn't travel too remote or back country camp by myself but 6 hour day hikes aren't' out of the question for me.

Gin1984

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2015, 11:25:56 AM »
I don't have a lot to offer from my perspective (6'4" & 265 male) but I really encourage you to find something that allows you to feel comfortable doing something you enjoy.

My first thought was bear mace.  It's perfectly legitimate to carry in the woods, though I'm unclear on legality in the US.  I've done a lot of long-term camping and working in the woods here in BC and Alberta, and bear mace is great for peace of mind - though I've seen a lot more people mace themselves than interact with a bear.  Be careful and know how to use it before you begin.  Personally I sleep much better in a tent with some bear spray ready to hand, though I've never needed it in hundreds of bear encounters.

A gun might be right for you, but if you aren't completely comfortable with it then it becomes a weapon for someone else more than yourself. 

Of course everyone should take some basic self defense.  There is a very good women's self defense course in the Gracie jiu-jitsu program - 12 weeks and all the women I know who've taken it speak very highly of it.

Do whatever you need to do to feel comfortable having fun in the woods.
In many states bear mace is legal even in states that pepper spray is not.  As a small woman, I'd also recommend the bear mace.  In addition there are meet ups that do hiking, many that is something to consider?

kpd905

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2015, 11:28:22 AM »
A can of bear spray will shoot out 30 feet. 
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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2015, 11:47:17 AM »
I’ve hiked alone for years. I have never had a bad encounter with anyone, but I have sometimes been fearful. I used to hike and camp alone in remote areas, but I started feeling as though my luck was eventually going to run out – not just human encounters, but also wildlife encounters, and the possibility of injuring myself and unable to hike out.

Nowadays I mostly hike in popular areas when alone, and usually don’t feel threatened by people. I do worry sometimes about wildlife in areas close to the metro area, because wildlife in these areas are accustomed to people, but will generally avoid a group of hikers. Occasionally a runner will get attacked. I’ve never yet had an encounter, but have felt paranoid during a hike about mountain lions lurking in rock or veg cover along a trail. I’ve thought about bringing pepper spray, but a lion would take me out before I could even thinking about reaching for the spray. These kind of encounters are rare, so my paranoia is probably out of proportion to the likelihood of an encounter.

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2015, 11:47:34 AM »
Another short female here. I have hiked alone before, but due to safety concerns (yes, human predators) I try to avoid it.
Plug your zip code into the meetup.com site for local hiking groups to join. Contact the leaders in advance to ask about the group's hiking style (pace, attitude towards taking breaks, etc.). Also not a bad idea to ask whether leaders are trained in first aid, does anyone pre-hike the trail before the official hike date so they know what conditions to expect, do they use sweeps, etc.
These groups can be a mixed bag, so know what you're getting into in advance :) I've had a mixture of amazing and miserable experiences with different groups in my area.

Zikoris

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2015, 11:48:36 AM »
I've hiked alone a few times and find it peaceful. The only times I've ever felt unsafe when hiking were when I was with others, but there were external circumstances - a bear was following us (we kept catching it peeking at us from behind things), a windstorm started up and just about pushed us off a cliff (I was hanging onto a bush), I lost the trail and tumbled down a ravine into a swamp. Those are the only three hikes that come to mind for "unsafe".

I would make double sure you have plenty of supplies if you're alone, because you lose the ability to have, say, your partner hike out and get help if you break your leg or something. So bring plenty of food/water, a medical kit, and something for navigation (gps or maps/compass), rain gear, fire starter, whistle, etc.
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Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2015, 11:50:42 AM »
If you're not comfortable going alone, then don't! Find some like-minded individuals that you can go hiking with. It'd probably be more fun with a friend or two, and then you're not alone.
This is a safety issue not preference issue. I'm an introvert - love being alone.

Villanelle

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2015, 11:53:19 AM »
Generally yes, though I'm in Germany if it makes a difference.  I do make it a point to be aware of my surroundings, make direct eye contact with people when I encounter them so they know I am aware of them, etc.   I am a woman.

My DH knows my standard trails, and these are usually not more than about 5 miles, with no extreme terrain or anything dangerous .  They are also not isolated, so I don't have to worry much about needing supplies.

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2015, 11:55:04 AM »
I've hiked alone a few times and find it peaceful.

I would make double sure you have plenty of supplies if you're alone, because you lose the ability to have, say, your partner hike out and get help if you break your leg or something. So bring plenty of food/water, a medical kit, and something for navigation (gps or maps/compass), rain gear, fire starter, whistle, etc.

- Yes, love the peace! Prefer to hike with people who can enjoy being quiet.
- Great point about extra supplies. I always have supplies, but doubling amount of some items is excellent advice.

NinetyFour

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2015, 12:03:57 PM »
I am constantly encouraged to "find a friend" to hike/camp/bike with because "it will be more fun".  As an introvert, I just don't think that way.

I would also suggest bringing along a light--just in case something happens and you are stuck somewhere all night.
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Cathy

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2015, 12:45:46 PM »
... My first thought was bear mace.  It's perfectly legitimate to carry in the woods [...] here in BC and Alberta...

Whether you can legally carry bear spray in Canada is complicated and depends on a variety of factors. It unfortunately is not a simple topic.

In Canada, pursuant to s 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867, "the criminal law" is under exclusive federal jurisdiction and provinces do not have the ability to create crimes. However, provinces are responsible for prosecuting crimes and administering courts for that purpose pursuant to s 92(14) of the same document. In Canada, "criminal law" has a far more narrow meaning than in most countries, with the result that provinces often do enact laws that would be considered criminal law in other countries, pursuant to s 92(15), with authorises provinces to impose "Punishment by Fine, Penalty, or Imprisonment for enforcing any Law of the Province" so long as the underlying law is within provincial competence.

The net effect of the constitutional provisions is that a full analysis would have to consider both federal and provincial laws that may apply. I am not going to consider provincial law, however.

In terms of federal law, ss 88-92 of the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-4, could each potentially criminalise carrying bear spray, in the woods or otherwise, if the various requirements are met.

Section 88 makes it a crime to possess a weapon "for a purpose dangerous to the public peace". For the purpose of this provision, a "weapon" is defined in s 2 as "any thing used, designed to be used or intended for use (a) in causing death or injury to any person, or (b) for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person". You could argue that bear spray is not "designed to be" for either of those purposes, but it would still be a weapon if it was actually used or intended for use for causing injury to a person or actually used for the purpose of threatening or intimidating any person. If you brandished or intended to bradish bear spray to fend off a threatening person, a prosecutor could argue that the spray is a weapon by virtue of having been "used...or intended for use...for the purpose of threatening or intimidating...". If the prosecutor proves the bear spray was a weapon, they still need to prove that you possessed it "for a purpose dangerous to the public peace". If the purpose was self-defence, you may be in the clear as far as s 88 is concerned.

Section 90 is less generous. This section makes it a crime to to "carry" a "weapon" "concealed". To prevail here, the prosecutor would have to show that (1) you were carrying the bear spray, (2) the bear spray was concealed, and (3) the bear spray was a weapon because it was used or intended for use in causing injury or for the purpose of threatening or intimidating, etc. The prosecutor does not need to show that you actually made use of the bear spray so long as it was used or intended to be used for purpose of threatening, intimidating, etc., or if it was intended to be used in causing injury. As a practical matter, if all the person does is carry the bear spray, it might be difficult for the prosecution to prove the intent of the accused. Browsing the case law, it appears the usual way this is done is that the accused is an idiot and admits to the police that they are carrying the bear spray to defend against people. The police then testify at trial to prove the necessary criminal intent.

Section 91(2) could also be relevant, although I think it would be harder to prove. This section makes it a crime to "possess[] ... a prohibited weapon". To prevail here, the prosecution only needs to show that you (1) possessed the bear spray, and (2) that the bear spray was a "prohibited weapon". Section 84 says that a "prohibited weapon" means (among other things) a "weapon" that is prescribed by the regulations to a prohibited weapon. So the prosecution needs to show that the bear spray is (i) a weapon (like before), but also that it is (ii) prescribed to be a prohibited weapon by some validly-enacted regulation. SOR/98-462 is a regulation that prescribes prohibited weapons in Part 3, including, in paragraph 1 of Part 3, "[a]ny device designed to be used for the purpose of injuring, immobilizing or otherwise incapacitating any person" through liquid, spray, powder, or similar substance. I would think prosecutors would have a hard time proving this charge because the accused would argue that bear spray was not "designed to be used" on people (keep in mind that this is not a requirement for the other charges discussed). However, the potential use of this charge is not purely academic. In R. v. Bagnulo, [2012] OJ No 6328, the accused plead guilty to possessing a prohibited weapon, namely bear spray, contrary to s 91(2). Since it was a guilty plea, the Court did not discuss the merits of the charge.

I have reviewed some case law and that review mainly makes me question the competence of the lawyers who defended these accused persons, because it does not appear that any defence lawyer ever challenged whether bear spray was a "weapon" or a "prohibited weapon". This was just taken for granted. In R. v. Weston, 2012 ONCJ 811, the judge comments on this and notes that counsel made no attempt to help him understand whether the bear spray met the requirements of the statute. However, the judge satisfied himself that the statutory requirements were met. Since the accused did not make any arguments on this topic, this review would not be as thorough as if the accused were represented by competent defence counsel (which is apparently rare in Canada; see also pleading guilty to the dubious charge above).

That is just federal law. Provinces also have laws that may make bear spray illegal under various conditions.

In summary, it's complicated whether carrying these sprays is legal in Canada -- it's not a simple "yes" or "no" answer.


[By the way, for anybody who might be curious, the section symbol (§) is not used in Canadian legal writing, which is why I use it in my US posts but not my Canadian ones. I also follow other Canadian stylistic conventions in my Canadian posts like bold-italics for case names.]
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 01:21:17 PM by Cathy »
This post contains only general information on the issues raised by this topic. This post does not provide help tailored to your specific situation. There are many facts that could be relevant to your specific situation and I am not in possession of those facts. If you need help tailored to your specific situation, you should retain an appropriate professional and not rely on this post.

Albert

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2015, 12:51:46 PM »
I hike a lot here in Switzerland, sometimes alone sometimes with a friend. I've never even considered human danger, but then I'm a young tall male and this is one of the lowest crime areas on the planet. Is there really a serious chance of that kind of danger on trails in US? Large animals is a different matter, but we don't have those either. What I am sometimes concerned about on particularly remote trails is accidents. Usually there is a cell phone coverage even in remote areas, but in case there isn't there might not be anyone coming for rescue for quite a while…

deborah

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2015, 01:41:02 PM »
Since retiring, I do a lot of hiking by myself in remote areas, and would never have considered the human predator on the trail as being an issue. Back at camp yes, but on a remote trail? Surely you jest!

There are a lot of dangers hiking alone - mainly falling down a cliff and being unable to move from where you are, or (in Australia) getting bitten by a snake... These dangers are much more likely. This is a particular problem since many places have no telephone contact, and the trails are infrequently used (in a lot of places I have not seen another person on the trail).

People shooting themselves in the foot or damaging themselves on an axe they are carrying (which I could also imagine easily damaging backpacks) is also much more of a problem than coming across a human predator on a trail.

To reduce the real dangers, I always keep to marked trails, and don't go "bush bashing" (off trail), although I would really like to explore a bit. Like someone else mentioned, I always take something warm and food and water, and a first aid kit.

Back at camp, I camp in my car, and it is always locked. I consider that safer than a tent. If I thought someone was a human predator, I would leave. Everything would be in the car, so nothing would be left behind. There are plenty of other places around to camp. And I always let someone know my movements whenever I am in radio range. Sometimes this has meant that I am out of contact for a few days.

When I did break down on a lonely road in the middle of nowhere (which in my opinion is a much more likely place for a human predator), I was crossing an area that was out of radio range, and I thought it was possible that no-one would raise the alarm for three days. Fortunately the local farmer came by after 6 hours. I was told that the flying doctor would have flown over after three days, and that people had been stranded on that road for three days before anyone came by (the road was marked on all the maps).

However, in that situation, you are wanting human assistance, so you wouldn't be brandishing an axe or a gun, and the human predator would probably have an easy time of it.

Oh, by the way, I am a short woman.



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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2015, 01:53:06 PM »
I hike a lot here in Switzerland, sometimes alone sometimes with a friend. I've never even considered human danger, but then I'm a young tall male and this is one of the lowest crime areas on the planet. Is there really a serious chance of that kind of danger on trails in US? Large animals is a different matter, but we don't have those either. What I am sometimes concerned about on particularly remote trails is accidents. Usually there is a cell phone coverage even in remote areas, but in case there isn't there might not be anyone coming for rescue for quite a while…

Reading this thread, I think it's far more justified to worry about accidents or other situations leading to getting stranded while hiking alone than crime. Especially day hiking where the most common crime - theft - would require a direct confrontation with your person rather than pilfering from an unattended campsite.
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Gin1984

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2015, 02:00:43 PM »
I hike a lot here in Switzerland, sometimes alone sometimes with a friend. I've never even considered human danger, but then I'm a young tall male and this is one of the lowest crime areas on the planet. Is there really a serious chance of that kind of danger on trails in US? Large animals is a different matter, but we don't have those either. What I am sometimes concerned about on particularly remote trails is accidents. Usually there is a cell phone coverage even in remote areas, but in case there isn't there might not be anyone coming for rescue for quite a while…
There was a set of trails near me that I was told when I started my job, by the departmental secretary, not to go into.  Apparently women were going hiking there and getting raped, so often that the police issued a warning.  Not the ones that said "don't hike alone" which many areas have, but the fact that rapes were occurring.  It look over 25 incidences reported to the police for them to change the warning. 

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2015, 02:09:55 PM »
Reading this thread, I think it's far more justified to worry about accidents or other situations leading to getting stranded while hiking alone than crime.

Yes, I think that you're right.

What I'm realizing as I read all of the generous and informative replies that I've placed hiking in a different category from the rest of my life. What I need to do is treat it as I would hiking solo in the city or traveling solo - both of which I do all of the time with awareness, but not fear. As with those activities I need to make a realistic assessment of the hiking risks, decide how much risk I'm willing to take and then do it.

Having said that, I do a see dog in my future (not just for this reason) and car camping (great point that it's self contained and movable).

« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 02:15:08 PM by Exhale »

Ali

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #38 on: March 29, 2015, 02:16:53 PM »
I always just send a family member a text of my plans for the day and then another when I'm home safe.

I've been lucky to never come across anything to make me feel uneasy and I hope it continues that way for a long time.

Bob W

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #39 on: March 29, 2015, 02:22:12 PM »
+1 handgun.
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marty998

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #40 on: March 29, 2015, 02:25:09 PM »

[By the way, for anybody who might be curious, the section symbol (§) is not used in Canadian legal writing, which is why I use it in my US posts but not my Canadian ones. I also follow other Canadian stylistic conventions in my Canadian posts like bold-italics for case names.]

Interesting that most British empire / Commonwealth countries still use the (Regal?) "R" too denote the Crown as the prosecution.

Brings to mind that old phrase for prisoners 'serving at Her Majesty's pleasure'.

Cathy

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #41 on: March 29, 2015, 03:12:30 PM »

[By the way, for anybody who might be curious, the section symbol (§) is not used in Canadian legal writing, which is why I use it in my US posts but not my Canadian ones. I also follow other Canadian stylistic conventions in my Canadian posts like bold-italics for case names.]

Interesting that most British empire / Commonwealth countries still use the (Regal?) "R" too denote the Crown as the prosecution.

Yeah, this is true when the government is the prosecutor, as you note.

Unlike most or all US states, but similar to the UK, Canada still allows private prosecutions. In Canada, any private person can lay criminal charges against anybody else. In a case prosecuted by a private prosecutor, the private person's name would appear in the title of the case. For example, Cloutier v. Langlois, [1990] 1 SCR 158, is a criminal case in which Langlois was the accused, and Cloutier was the private prosecutor. Cloutier was apparently not the most effective prosecutor; the Supreme Court notes that he "did not file a brief" in that court, although he did show up for oral argument.

Private prosecution are rare in both Canada and the UK because the government retains the ability to take over the prosecution at any time (including withdrawing it if they want). The choice of the government to take over a private prosecution is theoretically subject to judicial review if the government's actions disclose unlawful bias, a conflict of interest, or are otherwise oppressive, but the standard is so high that if the government takes over your private prosecution, there's usually nothing you can do about it.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 03:28:20 PM by Cathy »
This post contains only general information on the issues raised by this topic. This post does not provide help tailored to your specific situation. There are many facts that could be relevant to your specific situation and I am not in possession of those facts. If you need help tailored to your specific situation, you should retain an appropriate professional and not rely on this post.

lhamo

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #42 on: March 29, 2015, 03:22:28 PM »
If you're not comfortable going alone, then don't! Find some like-minded individuals that you can go hiking with. It'd probably be more fun with a friend or two, and then you're not alone.
This is a safety issue not preference issue. I'm an introvert - love being alone.

If you are interested in a hiking buddy this summer, let me know.  I am an INFJ and am happy to walk in silence.
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bludreamin

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #43 on: March 29, 2015, 04:36:33 PM »
unless you're 100% set on going alone, a good hiking partner with a similar style is awesome.

for shorter afternoon/day hikes (or even going on runs around town) I use my cell phone to text a friend to let them know where I am, how long I think I'll be gone, and when they can expect a text back from me.  If I bring my phone with me, I make sure to delete the text message (don't want other to know who is waiting to hear back). I've never had anything happen to me and it's unfortunate that it's even something that needs to be thought of but better safe than sorry I guess. 

my suggestion for longer trips - SPOT is a good backup tool to help with fears of being in an emergency/getting injured. It has an SOS function that alerts search and rescue if you get injured and are out of cell range and need to get help. the newer generation also has a check in feature.

Personally, I don't do longer hikes/backpacks solo - I go with another female friend (she introduced me to SPOT and is also has much more wilderness knowledge than me).  Both me and my friend are introverted so our backpacks usually involve hitting the trail in the AM, usually just hiking and enjoying nature in silence until we reach camp although we will joke/encourage each other up the hills (the last hill is always the worst). Once we get to the site we each scope out places to set up our tents (usually out of view from each other but within site of the "common area"). Afternoons we do our own thing - just as good as being solo. We usually regroup for dinner and hang out until bed.  I think we end up spending more time solo but its nice to know someone's expecting you if you don't show back up.  We do also let a friend back home know our plans and where we're going and when we'll be back just in case something were to happen to both of us. We've only be in one instance where we were uncomfortable - encountered a group of rowdy guys near the prime water source.  We kept hiking a few sites (about 1/4 mile away) over  past another (respectful) group - thankfully the rowdy guys were just daytrippers and left so we were ale to use the spot to get our water refilled.

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #44 on: March 29, 2015, 05:27:56 PM »
I hike a lot here in Switzerland, sometimes alone sometimes with a friend. I've never even considered human danger, but then I'm a young tall male and this is one of the lowest crime areas on the planet. Is there really a serious chance of that kind of danger on trails in US? Large animals is a different matter, but we don't have those either. What I am sometimes concerned about on particularly remote trails is accidents. Usually there is a cell phone coverage even in remote areas, but in case there isn't there might not be anyone coming for rescue for quite a while…

Reading this thread, I think it's far more justified to worry about accidents or other situations leading to getting stranded while hiking alone than crime.

In New Zealand especially, the landscape is a killer, people hear about the lack of predators and venomous animals and ignore the fact that the climate can change on a dime, cell-phones are often out of range and a number of trails rely on river crossings which can turn dangerous very quickly under heavy rainfall.

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #45 on: March 29, 2015, 09:36:45 PM »
SPOT is a good backup tool to help with fears of being in an emergency/getting injured. It has an SOS function that alerts search and rescue if you get injured and are out of cell range and need to get help. the newer generation also has a check in feature.

Both me and my friend are introverted so our backpacks usually involve hitting the trail in the AM, usually just hiking and enjoying nature in silence until we reach camp although we will joke/encourage each other up the hills (the last hill is always the worst). Once we get to the site we each scope out places to set up our tents (usually out of view from each other but within site of the "common area"). Afternoons we do our own thing - just as good as being solo. We usually regroup for dinner and hang out until bed.

Wow, never heard of SPOT - am going to check it out. Thank you for this tip. I'd love a hiking buddy like yours!

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #46 on: March 29, 2015, 09:38:03 PM »
This is a bit tangential:  in my area, search and rescue missions can be VERY costly (involving helicopters, snowmobiles, etc.) and sometime the costs are passed on to the person who was rescued.  So we have the option to buy a Colorado Search and Rescue card.  It costs $3 per year.  I carry it with me when hiking.
Thanks for this info - I'll bet WA state has one of these too. Will look for it.

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #47 on: March 29, 2015, 09:41:55 PM »
I am constantly encouraged to "find a friend" to hike/camp/bike with because "it will be more fun".  As an introvert, I just don't think that way.

If you are interested in a hiking buddy this summer, let me know.  I am an INFJ and am happy to walk in silence.

You're on!

Who knows, maybe we can get NinetyFour to come join us - in silence of course :-)

kscubz

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #48 on: March 29, 2015, 09:53:54 PM »
humans are probably the least likely thing you should be worrying about.

If it makes you feel any better, as a female, you are statistically much less likely to be a victim of violent crime than a male.

Cressida

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #49 on: March 29, 2015, 11:30:36 PM »
If it makes you feel any better, as a female, you are statistically much less likely to be a victim of violent crime than a male.

I'm going to guess that it doesn't. But hey, if you have any statistics as to how much a man, as compared to a woman, is more likely to be a victim of violent crime while innocently minding their own goddamn business, please let us know. Thanks so much for your insight.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 11:37:51 PM by Cressida »