Author Topic: Do you feel safe hiking alone?  (Read 30939 times)

kscubz

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #50 on: March 29, 2015, 11:54:20 PM »
Just double checked FBI crime stats and they don't break it down as far as victims "innocently minding their own goddamn business".

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Argyle

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #51 on: March 30, 2015, 12:17:45 AM »
I'm pretty certain women are raped significantly more frequently than men are.

kscubz

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #52 on: March 30, 2015, 12:29:48 AM »
I'm pretty certain women are raped significantly more frequently than men are.

yes, outside of prison, you are correct.

Rape is the single type of violent crime, of many types, where females are significantly more likely to be victims.

That doesn't change the fact that females are less likely to be the victim of a violent crime in aggregate.

Cressida

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #53 on: March 30, 2015, 12:55:05 AM »
I'm pretty certain women are raped significantly more frequently than men are.

yes, outside of prison, you are correct.

Rape is the single type of violent crime, of many types, where females are significantly more likely to be victims.

That doesn't change the fact that females are less likely to be the victim of a violent crime in aggregate.

Some women feel fear when hiking alone. Nothing you have "contributed" here has provided any value to those women who have shared their experience here.

For example, there may well be a (male) prison rape epidemic, but that is pretty irrelevant to a female hiker's fear of harassment.

I suggest you take your MRA business elsewhere.

kscubz

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #54 on: March 30, 2015, 01:01:19 AM »
Quote
Not only innocently minding their own business, but doing it out alone in a wilderness setting. A place where, for reasons being discussed in this thread, fewer women feel comfortable going alone compared to men - and thus less likely to be there in the first place. Just like men are statiscly higher crime victims because they are more likely to be in iffy or violently potential places and situations more so then lone women are.

All I was trying to do was provide some encouragement for the OP not to feel like such a potential victim.

I'm glad that you have such intimate knowledge on crime statistics as I couldn't find any such details in my research.

kscubz

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #55 on: March 30, 2015, 01:06:05 AM »

Quote

Some women feel fear when hiking alone. Nothing you have "contributed" here has provided any value to those women who have shared their experience here.

For example, there may well be a (male) prison rape epidemic, but that is pretty irrelevant to a female hiker's fear of harassment.

I suggest you take your MRA business elsewhere.

i'm not the one who brought rape into the discussion.

I simply tried to provide some FACTS that might have alleviated some of the OPs apprehension of hiking alone.

It's has become apparent that a number of people in this thread find facts to be less important than feelings and for some reason have been offended by my posts.

Carry on with your victim complex fantasies.

Cressida

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #56 on: March 30, 2015, 01:48:48 AM »
All I was trying to do was provide some encouragement for the OP not to feel like such a potential victim.

What you actually said was this:

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.

Far from being "encouraging," your comment is irrelevant to OP's concern. "More men than women are victims of violence in North America" does not have any bearing on whether OP should be worried that she might be targeted on a particular hiking trail. There is no relationship between the two.

SnackDog

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #57 on: March 30, 2015, 02:14:52 AM »
My biggest concern hiking alone is the mountain lions. They are so damn sneaky, tip-toeing around, leaping on you from behind and all.  Neighbors have spotted them on our street. I have yet to see one and it has been years since anyone was attacked. So, even though it crosses my mind I just carry on. Everyone I personally know who has died in the wild has been injured in a fall or gotten lost.

I think the main enemy is in our head. When alone the mind races and imagines as sorts of things. Movies like "Deliverance" and "Wild" don't help.  Don't let a one in a million chance of a bad thing ruin your peace of mind or enthusiasm for the joys to be had with 999,999/1mm chance of incident free nature. If nature wasn't a little bit scary, it wouldn't be nature, now would it?
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Shamantha

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #58 on: March 30, 2015, 04:00:16 AM »
Great thread and thanks for starting this discussion. I have been hiking for 25 years with my ex, but since we split up two years ago I have drastically reduced my hikes, and I want to turn this around and feel more comfortable hiking alone.

I hike in Europe, mainly in the UK, where there are no bears, mountain lions etc. Also: where guns and pepperspray are mostly outlawed. Key risks for hiking alone are accidents such as falling from a ridge, breaking your ankle due to unstable/holey terrain etc. However, I do feel a threat from men, although I can't rationalise it completely. The threat does not come from fellow hikers I meet along the route, but from places along the route which are close to parking lots, so where you are quite remote but still have easy access by car. I just don't feel comfortable passing a remote parking lot with a van with a guy just wandering around.

For now, I take routes which are less adventurous (risk of injury) and more crowded (less chance of meeting a creep with no-one near). But walking the less adventurous less remote routes does diminish my joy in hiking a bit. I will probably have to man-up and do it this summer, to get over this. I do have a satellite phone with emergency functionality so at least I can call in case of injury.

Thanks for sharing your tips such as messaging friends and leaving notes on in the car.

Lyssa

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #59 on: March 30, 2015, 04:13:34 AM »
Quote
Not only innocently minding their own business, but doing it out alone in a wilderness setting. A place where, for reasons being discussed in this thread, fewer women feel comfortable going alone compared to men - and thus less likely to be there in the first place. Just like men are statiscly higher crime victims because they are more likely to be in iffy or violently potential places and situations more so then lone women are.

All I was trying to do was provide some encouragement for the OP not to feel like such a potential victim.


It's not encouraging and it's not about feeling like a potential victim. Women simply are potential victims of sexualized violence in a way that adult men outside prisons are not. Next to 100% of women have at least experienced being harressed and groped against their will, insults and creepy encounters are occuring with some regularity. Even when minding your own damn business in a city or in public transport their will be the occasional guy thinking he's entitled to your time and attention. Situations quickly get uncomfortable in public, I can only imagine how those guys would react alone on some hiking trail. Being beaten up and robbed less on average does exactly nothing to help this situation. Neither does the knowledge that should you get raped it absolutely would be considered your fault.

Shamantha

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #60 on: March 30, 2015, 04:36:04 AM »
Neither does the knowledge that should you get raped it absolutely would be considered your fault.
I so agree with you! I sometimes get warnings that hiking alone is risky from very well meaning people, but always with the undertone of "if you do go hiking alone, then you are asking for trouble."

NinetyFour

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #61 on: March 30, 2015, 05:23:52 AM »
I think that if Exhale, lhamo, Spartana and I were hiking together, we would be a pretty intimidating bunch.  Silent, perhaps, but strong.  The mountain lions and other possible predators (two-legged or four) would scurry to get out of our way.  :)
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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #62 on: March 30, 2015, 06:02:18 AM »
Just want to comment on Pepper spray. It is not nearly as powerful as most people think.  I have been pepper sprayed multiple times for training. It messes you up if you get it directly in the eye before they close their eye or put their hand up to deflect it. It is very hard to do. We tried over and over to see how it worked. It works horrible a huge % of the time. One big downside is if you inhale it as you are spraying it (possibility spraying outside in the wind)  you will not be able to run away because your lungs will be on fire. But, it is better than nothing.

davisgang90

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #63 on: March 30, 2015, 06:12:55 AM »

Quote

Some women feel fear when hiking alone. Nothing you have "contributed" here has provided any value to those women who have shared their experience here.

For example, there may well be a (male) prison rape epidemic, but that is pretty irrelevant to a female hiker's fear of harassment.

I suggest you take your MRA business elsewhere.

i'm not the one who brought rape into the discussion.

I simply tried to provide some FACTS that might have alleviated some of the OPs apprehension of hiking alone.

It's has become apparent that a number of people in this thread find facts to be less important than feelings and for some reason have been offended by my posts.

Carry on with your victim complex fantasies.
Don't sweat the attacks.  A couple posters seem to have a pretty thin skin and are perpetually outraged in most threads where gender comes up as a topic.  You said the same thing several other posters said previously.
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gaja

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #64 on: March 30, 2015, 06:17:45 AM »
Statistically you might not be at risk, but I empathise with the psycological part. When alone in the wilderness, the thoughts start racing. Thanks to the media, we do know about every incident of lone women getting killed while hiking, but less about every uneventful hike. I love my sami knife (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v76/rapidboy1/knives/433_3374_1.jpg). It doubles as an axe, and if I get nervous, I always imagine the scene from Crocodile Dundee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWl8EbNN8NM

Doubt it would do me any good at all if I really got into a bad situation, but then, I doubt I will get into a bad situation.
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jrhampt

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #65 on: March 30, 2015, 06:56:30 AM »
I frequently day-hike alone (female), but not typically in remote areas, and I don't backpack alone.  I'm more concerned about getting lost or having an injury than anything else, so if it's an unfamiliar hike where I have to switch trails a few times and it looks hard to follow, I try to suck it up and go with a group the first time - I am an AMC member.  I have had the occasional man glom onto me on the trail on a solo hike, follow me around, and refuse to leave me alone, but this has happened before when I have gone to the movies by myself as well.  So it can happen anywhere, really, although it's harder to lose them in a crowd when you're on a hike.  I've cut a hike short before due to this sort of thing, but it has thankfully turned out to be nothing more than a temporary nuisance.

Gray Matter

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #66 on: March 30, 2015, 07:05:12 AM »
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 :-)

Dang.  It would be torture for me to be on a hike with all you fascinating people and not be able to talk!  Come find me at the camp ground where you're ready to socialize.  :-)

JCfire

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #67 on: March 30, 2015, 08:23:53 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?

Tell people where you are going, when you will be there, and when to expect you to call/text/email them to let them know your back safe in civilization.

The most practically helpful things you can carry with you in case you are harassed or worse by a person: a whistle, a weapon, a phone that has signal.

The reality of the situation is that you are far safer hiking in the woods than you are in a typical urban environment, simply because the number of interactions you'll have with humans is so much lower.  But that doesn't mean your safety is guaranteed in either case.  Take prudent precautions and then live your life with confidence wherever you are.

The great thing about all of the advice above, except for the weapon part, is that it can help you with a variety of backcountry risks that are not human-related.  For every person attacked by a person in the woods, I would guess there are 100 who accidentally lose a trail and spend an unexpected night in the woods, 1000 who suffer a venomous bite, 10000 who break or sprain an ankle and need assistance to return to their vehicle, etc.  You should feel much better in those situations if there is somebody in civilization who will send help to the right location within hours of whatever problem you have.

mak1277

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #68 on: March 30, 2015, 08:47:01 AM »
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).

Interesting point about car camping.  Personally, I would be more fearful of car camping alone than backcountry camping alone.  The likelihood of encountering someone out to do you harm has to be greater if you're in an area accessible by car.  How many thieves, murders, whatever are going to hike back into the backcountry 5+ miles?  I would be much more worried if I was camping in an area where anyone could drive up and where people are more likely to congregate (pre- or post-hike for example).

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #69 on: March 30, 2015, 09:20:45 AM »
I'm an average-sized man who shaves his head and looks the military part. Furthermore, I boxed and received some unarmed combat training. Finally, I learned in Afghanistan how to "game face" people and trust me, I get the point across with my scowl. I'm ready to brawl if you want to take it there.

Yet despite all of that, I still harbor some fears about hiking alone. I worry primarily about wildlife, but I also worry about encountering an unfriendly group of people or a scary dude alone. I'm aware that I have a far greater chance of getting lost and/or falling than having human problems. I'd also add the fact that stranger rapes are extremely rare in comparison to rapes at the hands of someone you know.

I know this rationally, which is why I feel comfortable saying that the overwhelming majority of people you encounter on the trail (dudes included) are well-meaning and would in fact do anything to aid you if you were in trouble. Additionally, many of us guys are acutely aware that you are thinking the worst of us as we pass by and try to do our best to not confirm your suspicions. I hate it when I walk by a woman on a trail and I can very easily notice her apprehension and even fear. I don't blame her, but it does make me feel bad because I'm not that guy. To be clear I am not saying I am a victim, I am just saying I feel bad that a woman feels this way, which limits her freedom and paints me as someone I'm not.

But reason only goes so far. To defeat these emotions, I think that you'll need to get some self-defense training, have plenty of supplies on hand, inform at least 2 people of your whereabouts/plans, and carry some type of defensive item. I personally prefer a good knife because it is useful for other purposes and thus, in my opinion, way easier to defend in a court of law (whether or not this is just is another discussion).

Gin1984

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #70 on: March 30, 2015, 09:30:43 AM »
I'm an average-sized man who shaves his head and looks the military part. Furthermore, I boxed and received some unarmed combat training. Finally, I learned in Afghanistan how to "game face" people and trust me, I get the point across with my scowl. I'm ready to brawl if you want to take it there.

Yet despite all of that, I still harbor some fears about hiking alone. I worry primarily about wildlife, but I also worry about encountering an unfriendly group of people or a scary dude alone. I'm aware that I have a far greater chance of getting lost and/or falling than having human problems. I'd also add the fact that stranger rapes are extremely rare in comparison to rapes at the hands of someone you know.

I know this rationally, which is why I feel comfortable saying that the overwhelming majority of people you encounter on the trail (dudes included) are well-meaning and would in fact do anything to aid you if you were in trouble. Additionally, many of us guys are acutely aware that you are thinking the worst of us as we pass by and try to do our best to not confirm your suspicions. I hate it when I walk by a woman on a trail and I can very easily notice her apprehension and even fear. I don't blame her, but it does make me feel bad because I'm not that guy. To be clear I am not saying I am a victim, I am just saying I feel bad that a woman feels this way, which limits her freedom and paints me as someone I'm not.

But reason only goes so far. To defeat these emotions, I think that you'll need to get some self-defense training, have plenty of supplies on hand, inform at least 2 people of your whereabouts/plans, and carry some type of defensive item. I personally prefer a good knife because it is useful for other purposes and thus, in my opinion, way easier to defend in a court of law (whether or not this is just is another discussion).
And most women know most guys are not that way, but frankly I am not so arrogant to assume my judgement is perfect 100% of the time, so I am not going to be able to make that determination with every single person I meet.  So, I avoid situations that could be dangerous if that person is a rapist.  I will say that I have had guys ask how to make a woman feel threatened which does make me feel safer with those men. 
I do sometimes feel bad, if I am obvious about being nervous, because likelihood is he not a bad guy, but what is the consequence if I am wrong?

Zikoris

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #71 on: March 30, 2015, 09:31:28 AM »
Quote
Not only innocently minding their own business, but doing it out alone in a wilderness setting. A place where, for reasons being discussed in this thread, fewer women feel comfortable going alone compared to men - and thus less likely to be there in the first place. Just like men are statiscly higher crime victims because they are more likely to be in iffy or violently potential places and situations more so then lone women are.

All I was trying to do was provide some encouragement for the OP not to feel like such a potential victim.

I'm glad that you have such intimate knowledge on crime statistics as I couldn't find any such details in my research.

I do think this is a valuable contribution to the discussion. I hate to use the word "hysteria", but I think there's a certain amount of it in certain circles regarding safety, and a lot of people, both men and women, don't quite realize how small their chances of being randomly attacked actually are. Especially if you're not involved in anything shady or doing anything stupid, but just going about your business.

I know people who go through their lives scared of everything and avoid all sorts of activities due to their fear, and I know people who DGAF and do what they want. One of those groups has a whole lot more fun and leads much more fulfilling lives than the other.
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celticmyst08

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #72 on: March 30, 2015, 09:56:22 AM »
I personally don't hike alone based on previous experience (not hiking related, but enough to make me permenantly wary). I've backpacked with another female friend and never had any issues; in fact, everyone I've ever run across backpacking has been really chill and friendly. My mom used to go hiking all the time by herself back in the 70s; she hitch-hiked all over the U.S. and the weirdest thing that ever happened is she met some old dude in the Sierras who claimed he was going to be president.

And hey, there are a lot of us Mustachians in the PNW if you ever want hiking buddies! My husband and I are always out hiking and stuff. I promise we're not scary. We've met ~15 other forum members that can confirm they met us and we didn't kidnap them. ;)
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celticmyst08

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #73 on: March 30, 2015, 10:00:12 AM »
I personally don't hike alone based on previous experience (not hiking related, but enough to make me permenantly wary). Which is silly, since I've never had any bad experiences hiking/backpacking. I've backpacked with another female friend several times; in fact, everyone I've ever run across backpacking has been really chill and friendly. My mom used to go hiking all the time by herself back in the 70s; she hitch-hiked all over the U.S. and the weirdest thing that ever happened is she met some old dude in the Sierras who claimed he was going to be president.

As others have said, I think the biggest danger is getting hurt (falling, snakebite, etc) and not being able to have anyone to help. There are lots of resources online about how to deal with various situations that you could look into if you wanted.

And hey, there are a lot of us Mustachians in the PNW if you ever want hiking buddies! My husband and I are always out hiking and stuff. I promise we're not scary. We've met ~15 other forum members that can confirm they met us and we didn't kidnap them. ;)
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Gin1984

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #74 on: March 30, 2015, 10:00:24 AM »
I personally don't hike alone based on previous experience (not hiking related, but enough to make me permenantly wary). I've backpacked with another female friend and never had any issues; in fact, everyone I've ever run across backpacking has been really chill and friendly. My mom used to go hiking all the time by herself back in the 70s; she hitch-hiked all over the U.S. and the weirdest thing that ever happened is she met some old dude in the Sierras who claimed he was going to be president.

And hey, there are a lot of us Mustachians in the PNW if you ever want hiking buddies! My husband and I are always out hiking and stuff. I promise we're not scary. We've met ~15 other forum members that can confirm they met us and we didn't kidnap them. ;)
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Lyssa

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #75 on: March 30, 2015, 10:47:51 AM »

I know this rationally, which is why I feel comfortable saying that the overwhelming majority of people you encounter on the trail (dudes included) are well-meaning and would in fact do anything to aid you if you were in trouble. Additionally, many of us guys are acutely aware that you are thinking the worst of us as we pass by and try to do our best to not confirm your suspicions. I hate it when I walk by a woman on a trail and I can very easily notice her apprehension and even fear. I don't blame her, but it does make me feel bad because I'm not that guy.

Yep, situation sucks for well intentioned men as well. After reflecting my experiences and reading some relevant literature I'm actually less suspicious of most men while 'upgrading' others on my radar.

A military style haircut would not bother me, while unasked advise (especially advise on what activities are dangerous for women and what we should do in order to be safe) and obviously unwarranted offers of dubious help would set my alarms of. If I need or want help I do the picking and asking if at all possible. The reason for this is quite simply that the odds of me picking the wrong guy who just happens to be there are a lot smaller than the odds of the occasional wrong guy actively approaching women under some pretense.

ohana

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #76 on: March 30, 2015, 11:46:10 AM »
I go out alone all the time.  I don't worry about other people.  I have had men harass me from their cars while street running, but not to the point I think I'm in danger. 

In fact, the worst thing that has happened to me was a guy dropping trou and masturbating as I walked by right in front of my house (in a good neighborhood, during the day).  The dog be like "hey dude, want to play?  What's in your hand?"  Had my cell; snapped a photo, called the cops.  He ran pretty fast at the sight of the cell phone.  Long story, but he'd been caught several times and needed mental help.  I had a long talk with the dog about stranger danger . . . .

I do worry about falling and hurting myself.  I like the idea of a SPOT.  Great idea. 
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Guses

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #77 on: March 30, 2015, 11:55:44 AM »
... 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.

Wall of text removed.


Nobody will prosecute you for carrying bear spray in the woods. Use it for protection, keep it out of sight and don't bring any on a plane and you will be fine. As a separate note, I find a well constructed and concisce argument to be much more compelling than a regurgitation of disjointed cases.

Attitude/behavior is a significant factor in preventing aggression, both from wildlife and humans. Appearance of force is sometimes sufficient to prevent an attack.

 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 11:57:16 AM by Guses »

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #78 on: March 30, 2015, 12:59:24 PM »
Great thread and thanks for starting this discussion. I have been hiking for 25 years with my ex, but since we split up two years ago I have drastically reduced my hikes, and I want to turn this around and feel more comfortable hiking alone.  I hike in Europe, mainly in the UK...I will probably have to man-up and do it this summer, to get over this. I do have a satellite phone with emergency functionality so at least I can call in case of injury. Thanks for sharing your tips such as messaging friends and leaving notes on in the car.

Good to know I have company in this project getting myself out into nature in spite of the fears. I'm wishing you all kinds of good luck. Let us know how it goes. (Hmmm, maybe a kind of group journal is needed on this topic.)

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #79 on: March 30, 2015, 01:06:40 PM »
And hey, there are a lot of us Mustachians in the PNW if you ever want hiking buddies! My husband and I are always out hiking and stuff. I promise we're not scary. We've met ~15 other forum members that can confirm they met us and we didn't kidnap them. ;)

PNW Mustachians on a hike - I like this idea. If any others are interested send me a PM.

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #80 on: March 30, 2015, 01:17:13 PM »
I had a long talk with the dog about stranger danger . . . .

Best story/quote of the day - I'm still laughing!

Exhale

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #81 on: March 30, 2015, 01:33:22 PM »
Additionally, many of us guys are acutely aware that you are thinking the worst of us as we pass by and try to do our best to not confirm your suspicions. I hate it when I walk by a woman on a trail and I can very easily notice her apprehension and even fear. I don't blame her, but it does make me feel bad because I'm not that guy. To be clear I am not saying I am a victim, I am just saying I feel bad that a woman feels this way, which limits her freedom and paints me as someone I'm not.

Thank you for sharing these thoughts Nice. I appreciate that you're aware and respectful of the issue while also recognizing it's nothing personal about you or men in general, but rather part of a bigger system in which we all live.

What I realized was how I'd placed solo hiking into some way different category (vs. all of my other solo activities). Reminds me of people who are afraid of plane crashes, but jump into a car without a second thought even though car crashes are more likely.

Great list of things to have. I've got the self-defense training already (and the don't F--- with me face, as needed). Definitely plan to carry extra supplies (including a multipurpose knife), inform at least two people of my plans and have the SPOT system (and S&R/evac card if available here in WA). Pepper spray and handguns seem too iffy given the level of the risk and my abilities. Once FIRE, I'll probably add dog(s).

waltworks

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #82 on: March 30, 2015, 02:21:05 PM »
I've participated in a decent number of rescues in the backcountry, some formal and some random "this dude needs us to help him" ones. In order of importance, I'd worry about:

-Weather. People freeze, people get heatstroke, etc. Weather can change fast. Read the weather report before you go out and pack a few bits of warm/waterproof clothing. BRING SOME DAMN WATER.

-Getting lost. Exacerbates all other problems. Read a map beforehand, even if you have a GPS. Your magic device can die. Figure out how to tell what direction you are headed without any tools. If in doubt, don't go anywhere, wait for someone else to come along or some clue to where you are to present itself. Tell someone where you're going, and bring some damn water.

-Getting in over your head. If you're by yourself, dismount your bike and walk that tricky drop. Don't scramble up anything you can't easily scramble down (scratch that, don't scramble up anything at all if you're not a very serious climber). Stay the fuck away from running water and steep ice/snow. Bring some damn water.

-Wildlife. I've only dealt with this (snakes) once. Your chances of having a wildlife problem are slim/none, with the exception of rattlesnakes which are hard to see and like to sleep on the trail. If you're an adult, a snake bite won't kill you, but you might dehydrate or freeze waiting for help. So bring some clothes and some damn water. IMO snakebite kits are useless, you're better off (if you are just dealing with yourself) with a knife and your mouth. Honestly, though, you're probably better off not trying to do anything about the venom at all and just walking back to the trailhead/going to the ER. Big animals mostly don't care about you unless you are between them and their food/kids. So don't be between them and their food and kids.

-People. If you are on a hiking trail in the US/Canada/Europe/Australia, you have pretty much automatically gotten out of range of 99+% of the dangerous people in the population. And 99+% of the population isn't dangerous to begin with. If it makes you feel better, carry some sort of weapon, but be aware that you'll get the stinkeye (if carrying openly) from everyone else, and if you carry concealed, the deterrent effect is mostly gone.

So basically, if you want to ensure your safety, protect yourself from your own stupidity. You are more dangerous to you than anyone else.

-W

lhamo

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #83 on: March 30, 2015, 03:27:33 PM »
I think that if Exhale, lhamo, Spartana and I were hiking together, we would be a pretty intimidating bunch.  Silent, perhaps, but strong.  The mountain lions and other possible predators (two-legged or four) would scurry to get out of our way.  :)

+1.  We are women hikers -- hear us roar!

Still waiting to see what my summer schedule is going to be like, but most likely I will be in the Seattle area from late June-late July at a minimum, and would be up for a hike or two a week.   We can start a thread at that time to discuss preferred dates/times/routes.  I'm a bit out of shape so will need to start with some easier/shorter trails to begin with.  I'll be staying with my sister in East King County, so most of my choices will probably be on the 1-90 corridor to keep driving down, but open to exploring other areas if people have good suggestions.
Wherever you go, there you are

rocketpj

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #84 on: March 30, 2015, 03:58:30 PM »
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.

Holy smokes!!  Really??

Yes, really.  Bears are not as dangerous as popular imagination thinks.  Dangerous, for sure, and especially if you are foolish around them.  But mostly they are just scared of us - at least the bears in the Deep Woods.  Town bears such as the one that lives in my neighbourhood scare me more because they are not afraid of people.

That said, there were a couple of shaky moments over the years.

rocketpj

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #85 on: March 30, 2015, 04:10:54 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.

When I worked in Northern BC it was a Worksafe requirement that everyone carry it at all times.  That was over ten years ago, but that was the state of workplace regulation at the time.

If you mace somebody in your driveway our while out on the town then the issues you highlight could come up - it could arguably be seen as a weapon for the purposes of harming a person.  If you are in the back country carrying bear mace and end up macing a potential rapist I seriously doubt anyone would try to argue you were carrying it for that purpose, or that you planned to do it that way.

That said, you'd want to be careful about how you explained events to the cops - a good reason to never say anything without a lawyer present.  But I know I'd rather be explaining why the rapist has red eyes and skin than the alternative.


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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #86 on: March 30, 2015, 05:31:29 PM »
And most women know most guys are not that way, but frankly I am not so arrogant to assume my judgement is perfect 100% of the time, so I am not going to be able to make that determination with every single person I meet.  So, I avoid situations that could be dangerous if that person is a rapist.  I will say that I have had guys ask how to make a woman feel threatened which does make me feel safer with those men. 
I do sometimes feel bad, if I am obvious about being nervous, because likelihood is he not a bad guy, but what is the consequence if I am wrong?

Absolutely, exercise caution and be wary of anything that doesn't seem right - we have instincts for a reason. I was just trying to provide a male perspective.

gimp

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #87 on: March 30, 2015, 05:48:38 PM »
I don't know about you guys, but my biggest danger during hiking is dying alone after breaking a leg or something. I've hiked alone in Denali with snow everywhere, Death Valley with snow everywhere... long-ass hikes, nobody around whatsoever.

Highly recommended unless you have kids or whatever.

Gin1984

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #88 on: March 30, 2015, 06:04:08 PM »
And most women know most guys are not that way, but frankly I am not so arrogant to assume my judgement is perfect 100% of the time, so I am not going to be able to make that determination with every single person I meet.  So, I avoid situations that could be dangerous if that person is a rapist.  I will say that I have had guys ask how to make a woman feel threatened which does make me feel safer with those men. 
I do sometimes feel bad, if I am obvious about being nervous, because likelihood is he not a bad guy, but what is the consequence if I am wrong?

Absolutely, exercise caution and be wary of anything that doesn't seem right - we have instincts for a reason. I was just trying to provide a male perspective.
I understand.  I was not clear.  I was just pointing out, we don't think you are a threat, just that if you chose to, size wise you'd probably win, so do I want to risk it?  I do feel bad that guys feel bothered by it, but I don't have a better solution that still keeps me safe.  You know?

Cathy

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #89 on: March 30, 2015, 06:51:23 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.

When I worked in Northern BC it was a Worksafe requirement that everyone carry it at all times.  That was over ten years ago, but that was the state of workplace regulation at the time.

If you mace somebody in your driveway our while out on the town then the issues you highlight could come up - it could arguably be seen as a weapon for the purposes of harming a person.  If you are in the back country carrying bear mace and end up macing a potential rapist I seriously doubt anyone would try to argue you were carrying it for that purpose, or that you planned to do it that way.

That said, you'd want to be careful about how you explained events to the cops - a good reason to never say anything without a lawyer present.  But I know I'd rather be explaining why the rapist has red eyes and skin than the alternative.

As I explained in my post, if the bear spray is actually used to in causing injury to a person or actually used for the purpose of threatening or intimidating a person, then it is automatically a weapon and your specific intent in carrying it is irrelevant to the determination of whether it is a weapon. Specific intent is still relevant for the s 88 offense, but the ss 90 and 91(2) offenses are general intent offenses and the prosecutor would not need to prove any specific intent unless necessary to prove the bear spray was a weapon (but that is not required if it was actually used either in causing injury or in threatening or intimidating a person). If the bear spray is not actually used, then you could still be convicted of one of these crimes, but the prosecutor would need to prove your specific intent.

Provincial regulation or laws cannot override the crimes given in the federal Criminal Code. For a Supreme Court authority for that well-known proposition, see Garland v. Consumers’ Gas Co., 2004 SCC 25, [2004] 1 SCR 629, at para 50 (provincial regulation rendered inoperative because of conflict with federal Criminal Code). If charged with any of these offenses, provincial law could still potentially be relevant to your specific intent, but in some cases, specific intent does not even need to be proved and you can still be convicted (as explained above). When specific intent does not need to be proved, provincial law could not help you avoid a conviction.

I did not suggest that any action be taken based on my post. I'm not making any normative judgment on whether you should carry bear spray, or any recommendation on whether you should. My post did not contain any arguments or advice. It was just dispassionate information. The Criminal Code regime is rather complicated.

« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 07:01:41 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.

NICE!

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #90 on: March 30, 2015, 06:58:07 PM »
I understand.  I was not clear.  I was just pointing out, we don't think you are a threat, just that if you chose to, size wise you'd probably win, so do I want to risk it?  I do feel bad that guys feel bothered by it, but I don't have a better solution that still keeps me safe.  You know?

Yep, unfortunately biology is not a woman's friend in this case. Nope, I don't have a solution.

All you can do is know some self-defense, be wise, have a small and easily accessible weapon (like a multipurpose knife), and tell multiple people where you are located/when you'll be back. SPOT also looks pretty baller with the SOS option being so easy to use. If the situation looks really bad, you can press the button and hopefully have help on the way soon.

Gin1984

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #91 on: March 30, 2015, 07:19:21 PM »
I understand.  I was not clear.  I was just pointing out, we don't think you are a threat, just that if you chose to, size wise you'd probably win, so do I want to risk it?  I do feel bad that guys feel bothered by it, but I don't have a better solution that still keeps me safe.  You know?

Yep, unfortunately biology is not a woman's friend in this case. Nope, I don't have a solution.

All you can do is know some self-defense, be wise, have a small and easily accessible weapon (like a multipurpose knife), and tell multiple people where you are located/when you'll be back. SPOT also looks pretty baller with the SOS option being so easy to use. If the situation looks really bad, you can press the button and hopefully have help on the way soon.
Or avoid the potential situation all together by not going.  It is a sucky choice and I personally don't like that we have to make it. 

Cathy

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #92 on: March 30, 2015, 08:24:55 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.

This story reminds me of a Canadian lawsuit with published disposition reported as Jane Doe v. Toronto (Metropolitan) Commissioners of Police, 39 OR (3d) 487, [1998] OJ No 2681, available on CanLII at http://canlii.ca/t/1w9kn.

In this case, the plaintiff Jane Doe was raped in her apartment by a serial rapist in Toronto who had raped numerous women in the area. The police had declined to warn anybody in the area about the serial rapist because they feared that women would go into a panic and scare the rapist off, preventing his capture. After being raped, Ms. Doe sued the Toronto police based on a constitutional argument that their failure to warn her of the risk of rape violated her constitutional right to equality and amounted to a form of discrimination based on gender because the police's reasons for not putting out a warning were based on stereotypes about women.

The litigation was protracted. The rape took place in 1986 and the case was filed the same year. The court did not release a decision until 1998. However, Ms. Doe was completely successful and the Court found that the police's failure to warn Ms. Doe was unconstitutional and, as a result, the Court ordered general damages of $175,000, plus special damages (out of pocket costs), and some other remedies. The relatively small damage award is typical of Canadian cases and is actually pretty high by Canadian standards.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 08:29:03 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.

Yankuba

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #93 on: March 30, 2015, 08:39:37 PM »
I knew a guy who disappeared when hiking alone. Nobody could find him. When he was eventually found he was dead - he fell and the fall killed him. I would never go hiking by myself.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 08:42:27 PM by Yankuba »

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #94 on: March 30, 2015, 09:55:29 PM »
Women posted with answers about how they hike alone and what they do to feel safe. Men posted to explain that being worried about human predators is silly but ZOMG you could break your leg and DIE.
*sigh*

Metta

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #95 on: March 31, 2015, 06:05:44 AM »

What I realized was how I'd placed solo hiking into some way different category (vs. all of my other solo activities). Reminds me of people who are afraid of plane crashes, but jump into a car without a second thought even though car crashes are more likely.

This happened to me as well at one point after a particularly bad series of events in my life. Let me just say that living in a city that frequently visits the top five in crime can be unpleasant. (In 2015, we're proudly holding down the number five slot in most dangerous cities list: http://www.areavibes.com/library/10-most-dangerous-cities/)

Obviously there are issues with doing things alone but I'd managed to put solo hiking (which I did for years happily by choice) into a special category that I didn't put other things in, even when those other things were more dangerous in my city than solo hikes in the wilderness. I'm not sure why I thought the way I did, but I think part of it is that we are uniquely vulnerable in the wilderness in psychological ways in addition to strictly physical ways. We open ourselves up to the world in solo hikes, which is part of the point. 

The cure was to take very short solo hikes alone and provide information to my husband about when I would be back and where I was going and to vacation in places with wilderness that I was pretty sure were safer than Memphis (pretty much everywhere else). As I recall, my first solo "hike" in these conditions was actually about ten minutes before I headed back to my car. But that was ok. I added more hiking time after a while.

I think you've gotten great suggestions here and I'm going to steal some of them for myself. The only suggestion I have is that you take some time by yourself to hike in the safest place you can imagine (using many of the above safety suggestions) and contemplate why you've put solo hikes in this place. What do they mean to you? That solo meditation in the woods helped me quite a bit and in more ways than just feeling better while hiking. I changed parts of my life for the better because my fear of solo hikes was not just about solo hiking. It reflected other fears.

Gin1984

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #96 on: March 31, 2015, 06:25:26 AM »
Women posted with answers about how they hike alone and what they do to feel safe. Men posted to explain that being worried about human predators is silly but ZOMG you could break your leg and DIE.
*sigh*
Actually many on the first page did say that their feeling of safety could be based on their size/maleness. Yes, some people were not the best, but many here deserve to get their willingness to consider why they feel safe as males and female did not, appreciated.

libertarian4321

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #97 on: March 31, 2015, 06:34:39 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.

I like this gun idea.  There are plenty of small, light (1 lb or so), easily concealed/carried weapons that will scare away most riff raff when un-concealed.  It's always best if you can get rid of the threat without actually having to use violence.

Flash a can of pepper spray, and it may not register with the neanderthal hassling you. 

Point a .38 revolver at them, and even the slowest witted punk will get the message.

And if the thug persists, it has enough punch to get the job done.

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #98 on: March 31, 2015, 06:38:52 AM »
Women posted with answers about how they hike alone and what they do to feel safe. Men posted to explain that being worried about human predators is silly but ZOMG you could break your leg and DIE.
*sigh*

That's quite an unfair characterization of the vast majority of reasonable posts in this thread. Did you just look for the bad ones and ignore the others?

Melody

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Re: Do you feel safe hiking alone?
« Reply #99 on: March 31, 2015, 07:02:10 AM »
Snake bites and injury would deter me far more than the idea of an attacker (human or bear). I would consider a satellite phone if i was determined to hike alone (we use them in my industry, they are not cheap, but if you are bitten by a snake and try and hike out you will die...if you call for help you will probably survive. For full disclosure i am australian and hikers get bitten or require rescue for other reasons regualrly