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Limbohiker
09-27-2005, 22:29
Ive always been the kind to dive into things not worrying about the consequences. Ive been wanting to travel the AT for quite some time now and just took a week trip through the AT in northern Virginia. It was quite easy and enjoyable except for the part of having a partner. Id like to complete the AT relatively alone only hooking up with people i meet along the way or plan to meet to hike a state or such. Im only 21 but ive been backpacking since i was 10 and camping alone since i was 15. Bad idea???? :-? I really really really want to do it (ha ha does that make a difference)

Lone Wolf
09-27-2005, 22:33
Do it. Be aware. Life's short. Kick maximum ass.

Doctari
09-27-2005, 22:41
As Mark Twain says:

"What lies before you & what lies behind you pales insignificant when compared to what lies within you. 20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

I wish I had heard / listened to that when I was your age. For it is now over "20 years from now" for me. I have had a good life, but, , , It would have been easier to hike 2,000 miles at 21 than at 51.

Doctari.

Ender
09-27-2005, 22:41
There's risk with everything in life, so if it's your time to go, at least go doing something you love! Plus, statistically hiking is much safer than society. At least from people.. Do it! You'll never regret it.

bearbait2k4
09-27-2005, 22:45
Ive always been the kind to dive into things not worrying about the consequences. Ive been wanting to travel the AT for quite some time now and just took a week trip through the AT in northern Virginia. It was quite easy and enjoyable except for the part of having a partner. Id like to complete the AT relatively alone only hooking up with people i meet along the way or plan to meet to hike a state or such. Im only 21 but ive been backpacking since i was 10 and camping alone since i was 15. Bad idea???? :-? I really really really want to do it (ha ha does that make a difference)
Go for it. You will find plenty of people to hike with and around the first week out, if you want.

I did both of my trips starting alone, and rarely had a problem.

Be careful on hitches, though. Use your head, and common sense.

Jack Tarlin
09-27-2005, 23:00
If you look at the "Health, Safety, and Hygeine" section of Whiteblaze, there's a thread dealing with safety on the Trail. There are a few idiot comments there, but I seem to remember that there was some useful info as well.

Hammock Hanger
09-27-2005, 23:01
Go for it. I and many other women hiked the AT alone. Use your intuition and have a good time. Sue

Crazy Larry #1
09-28-2005, 02:21
you'll never know what is at the next turn in the trail until you have walked there alone.............

poison_ivy
09-28-2005, 07:18
I'm a section hiker... but often travel solo while backpacking. As others said, use your intuition... if a spot doesn't feel quite right, hike on. (I've done this once or twice... probably nothing, but better to be safe than sorry.) That said, I've never had a problem and have met some terrific people on the trail.

- Ivy

D'Artagnan
09-28-2005, 08:47
I'm a guy (kind of a big guy at that) but the Number One question everyone always asks me when I tell them about backpacking on the AT is "You don't go by yourself do you?" I then have to tell them that in fact I do but that one is never really "alone" on the AT during the regular season.

Granted, I can't truly appreciate what it must be like from the female perspective, but I would just echo what's already been said: Stay aware of your surroundings and trust your instinct/gut. That being said, if my younger sister wanted to go alone, I would probably tell her to take some pepper spray "just in case". But that's the older brother talking. Use your head, you'll do fine. Just don't let anxiety keep you from doing what you obviously enjoy.

Spirit Walker
09-28-2005, 09:33
I hiked the AT twice. The first hike I was completely solo - hiking with folks for days or weeks at a time, but never in any regular partnership. The second hike I started solo, but ended up with a partner midway. I never felt afraid on the AT. There are so many other hikers out there who share your dream of hiking to Katahdin, that you really aren't alone unless you try to be. (Actually, that was a bigger problem for me than feeling vulnerable. I had a hard time finding solitude until the crowds thinned out.)

rickb
09-28-2005, 10:39
I wouldn't disagree with D'Artagnion's advice about pepper spray. If you do go that route, I'd get the highest concentatration OC product I could find (might be best to go to a gun shop). I'd also consider that states like my own require a permit-- so best not to spray a yapping chihuaua here.

It might be worth noting that most of the very serious crimes committed in the backcountry have been against couples, either two women or a man and a woman, and not against a solo hiker. Also worth noting is that most serious crimes have taken place at shelters.

Not sure how much to read into that. My observation may have more to do with who is out there camping than anything else. Still, in a creepy situation I do think that camping in a group of 3 is a much better number than 2-- even if one of the two is a guy.

When I camp off trail, I feel more comfortable (and relaxed) camping off trail with the knowledge no one else will know we are there. For this reason, I will never replace my grey tent with a yellow one. For the same reason, I won't hang my bear bag with reflective triptease line. Probably doesn't make us any safer, but just feeling safer is a good thing.

Rick B

rickb
09-28-2005, 11:08
One word of warning.

Be careful of quiet guys (like me) sitting alone in a shelter.

My future wife, Jen, wasn't on her solo weekend hike, and is now serving year #14 of a life sentence. :D

Rick B

Have a great adventure. The trail is a safe place-- and more during the thick of thru hiking season. I think some of the challenge is just doing things that make you feel as comfortable as possible, so that you enjoy it to the utmost.

Blister
09-28-2005, 12:18
Go for it - I haked the AT solo - made great friends along the way, they are all currently still my BEST Friends. You can choose to do want you want to. There will be plenty of people out there looking out for each other. It is all your choice - you can let people pass you, you can choose to hike along with others or you can leave them in the dust. There is very little I fear on the AT.

tlbj6142
09-28-2005, 13:33
When I camp off trail, I feel more comfortable (and relaxed) camping off trail with the knowledge no one else will know we are there. For this reason, I will never replace my grey tent with a yellow one. For the same reason,Not to hijack this thread, but your point is interesting. I typicaly only carry "loud" gear (yellow pack, red shirt, orange tarp, red vest, etc.) just so I can be seen (or found) for safety reasons. Whereas you do NOT carry loud colors for safety reasons. Very interesting...

Never thought of that before...

StarLyte
09-28-2005, 14:00
I've hiked and camped solo since I was young girl. I'm 48 now, and not once has anything ever happened. And I've been around too. Once in a while I would be awakened at night from the sounds of animals scurrying but I used common sense. Go hike.

the goat
09-28-2005, 14:24
hike on sista....hike on :banana

Mini-Mosey
09-28-2005, 22:20
I second, third, fourth, etc. the above; DO IT.

Bayley
09-28-2005, 23:11
Okay, maybe it's pointless to re-iterate everything that everyone's said already, so I'll be brief: I hiked the AT "alone" this year and it was not only safe (if you feel uncomfortable around someone, just walk away from them), but a much fuller experience than if I had started with a partner. For the record, I did carry mace from Springer to Katahdin, but I resented it 99% of the time.
Anyway, go and be smart about it. The Trail takes care of you.
Best, Day Tripper.

Tha Wookie
09-29-2005, 02:09
"Don't think twice it's alright" -Robert Zimmerman

Footslogger
09-29-2005, 09:43
My wife hiked the AT alone in 2001. I knew the potential existed for something untoward to happen but honestly (knowing my wife) I kinda felt sorry for anyone who tried to mess with her. Bottom line is that anyone (man or woman) knows when something doesn't feel "right". If it doesn't feel "right" then don't put yourself in that position. Otherwise, just go out there and enjoy yourself.

Once my wife was on the trail the topic never came up again. "Alone" on the AT is really somewhat of a misnomer, since there are generally other hikers around. Hikers look out for each other on the AT and it doesn't take long to meet and know which hikers you can and can't trust.

'Slogger

bfitz
09-29-2005, 10:04
In all situations, whether the big city or the backcountry, or even somewhere in between like the AT, I try to carry an ace up my sleeve of some kind. I'm a male, but usually I carry mace, strapped inconspicuously to my pack within easy reach. People have laughed about it in the past, and I've never needed it in the woods, I sometimes carry some fire-crackers to scare wild dogs and bears or whatever but they usually just get blown up for fun. I've never even had another person be rude to me on the trail. In the city I've been robbed at gun point, jumped by drunks, had my face rearranged on more than one occasion etc. etc. It gets said all the time, but the crime rate is far lower on the trail than almost anywhere else you can think of. Still, you should always be prepared. If you ever have to actually mace someone dangerous, don't forget to hit him over tha head with a big log and tie him up after you mace him. Everyone I know who has carried a gun has stopped carrying a gun. Just bring your brain, think up and act out in your head a few scenarios so you have a plan- just in case-I warrant you will never run into any trouble. Bring a phone however, because people fall down or get sick frequently.

middle to middle
10-22-2005, 11:41
I have encountered lone wemen many different times hiking or biking and they all were very confident capable people. Fear is in the eye of the beholder unless there is good reason.

frieden
10-23-2005, 08:26
You might consider stealth gear, with rescue accents. For example, a green backpack that blends with the environment, but carry a blaze orange pack cover. That way, it's easy to be noticed when you want to be. You could do that with your quilt, too (one side neutral, and one side blaze orange). I think pepper spray is a given. I'm hiking the AT next year, but from what I've read, it is very difficult to be "alone" out there. I'm hoping we'll all look out for eachother.

bfitz
03-28-2006, 12:22
Your brain is your most effective tool/weapon. Use it and you'll be fine. In general, it's safer hiking the AT alone than walking from your car to your apartment building in the city alone. Criminals go where it's easy to ply their trade, and look for easy victims. Hiking 50 miles into the woods to commit a crime is usually just too much work for a criminal. There are exceptions to every rule though. Thats where the brain comes in. The female AT hikers I know have no qualms about hiking alone. Plus there are almost always other folks around at the shelter/campsite, and after a few hundred miles you'll know them all too well, groups sort of spontaneously form into teams on the trail, and you'll end up hiking most of the way with or near a group of people you become really tight with. Teams always seem to form up. Unless you're one of those surly loner types in which case you'll have to make an effort to avoid being around these people.

Pennsylvania Rose
03-28-2006, 12:59
Go for it! I had my 1st taste of the AT on a 2 month long solo hike when I was 18. Never had any real safety issues - I was uncomfortable around one guy so I moved on. I've regretted ever since that I got off: life then got in the way of a thru.

But for the last 14 years I've had the fun of introducing my kids the the outdoors. I'm headed out for a week in April with the oldest three. No men (unless you count my half grown son).

And, my 13 year old daughter wants to thru when she graduates high school. Because she has a good head on her shoulders I would be comfortable seeing her go.

So don't think you're being rash or jumping in over your head. Use common sense about every situation - an oncoming lightening storm, hiking in cold rain, how many miles you can make before dark, packing enough (but not too much) food, if some guy give you the creeps - and you'll be fine.

kittyrock13
03-28-2006, 18:06
im in your same situation... but i decided to charge it and bought a plane ticket. i will carry pepper spray, because i ALWAYS carry it everywhere. im more worried about ticks than anything else though. go for it. maybe ill see you out there.

hobbit
03-28-2006, 19:14
go for it there's way more good guys than bad in the woods.

joel137
03-28-2006, 19:25
im in your same situation... but i decided to charge it and bought a plane ticket. i will carry pepper spray, because i ALWAYS carry it everywhere. im more worried about ticks than anything else though. go for it. maybe ill see you out there.

I wonder if pepper spray would work on ticks, and make them release??

The advice you have gotten is all good!

bogey
03-28-2006, 21:35
My wife hiked the AT alone in 2001. I knew the potential existed for something untoward to happen but honestly (knowing my wife) I kinda felt sorry for anyone who tried to mess with her. Bottom line is that anyone (man or woman) knows when something doesn't feel "right". If it doesn't feel "right" then don't put yourself in that position. Otherwise, just go out there and enjoy yourself.

Once my wife was on the trail the topic never came up again. "Alone" on the AT is really somewhat of a misnomer, since there are generally other hikers around. Hikers look out for each other on the AT and it doesn't take long to meet and know which hikers you can and can't trust.

'Slogger

One of the best quotes I've seen here on Whiteblaze about hiking alone on the AT is like driving alone on I-95. you really aren't.

It was so priceless, I'm embarrassed that I can't remember who I stole it from.

PeterB
04-07-2006, 09:45
im in your same situation... but i decided to charge it and bought a plane ticket. i will carry pepper spray, because i ALWAYS carry it everywhere. im more worried about ticks than anything else though. go for it. maybe ill see you out there.
FYI - pepper spray may not be allowed in airplane baggage.
http://www.airtran.com/common/PDF/AirTran_dangerous_goods.pdf

The chances are probably pretty low of it getting found, but you may want to send it via mail instead of flying with it.

blindeye
04-09-2006, 17:20
go go go it was mentioned before but i wish i had made my plans 30 yrs. ago you'll be fine

Tree-girl
04-10-2006, 11:24
I'm an 18 year old girl, currently 460 miles into my thru-hike this year, and I'm going solo. It's worked out wonderfully. I haven't had the least bit of trouble. It's been very enjoyable, and I'm glad that I've had the freedom that comes with being on your own. I've hooked up with a loose group of people, I'd say that happens to everyone. We all watch out for eachother and hang out together in towns, which are really the only place that you have to be extra cautious. I have hitched alone once, which really isn't a smart thing to do, and I won't again, just to be safe, but it worked out fine. I haven't had any problems getting around as far as safe rides go. the people out here are wonderful, and I feel perfectly comfortable being a lone female. :) I have not at any time felt in danger (unless been assaulted by lightning counts, lol). Go for it, girl! there's no reason at all for you not to, and your family and friends have no need to be worried. just be smart and safe, like everyone has to be.
Happy trails!

Ridge
05-01-2006, 20:33
http://www.cumberlink.com/articles/2006/05/01/news/news27.txt


Article with saftey tips

Amigi'sLastStand
05-25-2006, 18:38
Tell the potential rapist to hang on a sec while you unpack your pepper spray.

I say this. You are obviously very well versed in the backcountry, and the successful ways to hike and camp. Use your intuition, get to know those around you, make a call home every chance with location and intended destination, and carry a whistle, not pepper spray. Whistle on neck at all times. There may not be anyone around to hear it, but you dont know that anymore than he does. If you have to scream, scream 'fire' not help. Learn some personal protective techniques. All women should anyway, whether hiking or not.

Hammock Hanger
05-25-2006, 20:15
There is actually less chance of being raped on the trail then in towns, cities, etc. It can and does happen everywhere. I think we (women) feel more vulnerable when in the woods because of the seclusion, thinking if we scream who will hear us... Guess what you can be in the city during broad daylight and scream and no body hears. I know I have been there. -- As stated before use common sense, listen to your intuition and enjoy your life. Sue

K0OPG
05-26-2006, 11:30
a note from a TSA screener. Yes, you can carry pepper-spray as long it is less than 4oz and has a "positive locking mechanism" to keep it from accidentally discharging; in checked bagage only. Not carry-on.

TSA website http://www.tsa.gov/public/display?theme=175 has a plethora of information including a prohibited items list.


good luck and have fun.

KirkMcquest
05-26-2006, 13:01
Ive always been the kind to dive into things not worrying about the consequences. Ive been wanting to travel the AT for quite some time now and just took a week trip through the AT in northern Virginia. It was quite easy and enjoyable except for the part of having a partner. Id like to complete the AT relatively alone only hooking up with people i meet along the way or plan to meet to hike a state or such. Im only 21 but ive been backpacking since i was 10 and camping alone since i was 15. Bad idea???? :-? I really really really want to do it (ha ha does that make a difference)

I suggest wearing a 'riding' hood to shield you from the chill, my pretty. I've always been partial to red.:D

Ewker
05-26-2006, 15:26
Strike-anywhere Matches **
No **
No **



No

No

No

No


** Up to 4 books of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches are permitted as carry-on items, but all matches are prohibited in checked baggage



I find it funny that I can't take strike anywhere matches but I can take strike on box matches

Vi+
05-27-2006, 15:43
Ewker,

You advise (Post #39), I find it funny that I can't take strike anywhere matches but I can take strike on box matches

Strike-on-the-box matches require certain specific elements to cause a spark and hence ignition. Strike-anywhere matches are much more easily adaptive to become an explosive.

I do find humor in the shoe bomber trying to light his shoe on his plane flight. It must have been genuinely terrifying for the flight attendant who was wrestling with him and screaming for some help, but the picture it conjures up remains humorous nonetheless.

Froglover
06-09-2006, 14:05
Tell the potential rapist to hang on a sec while you unpack your pepper spray.

I say this. You are obviously very well versed in the backcountry, and the successful ways to hike and camp. Use your intuition, get to know those around you, make a call home every chance with location and intended destination, and carry a whistle, not pepper spray. Whistle on neck at all times. There may not be anyone around to hear it, but you dont know that anymore than he does. If you have to scream, scream 'fire' not help. Learn some personal protective techniques. All women should anyway, whether hiking or not.

I know this is my first post, but you gals really scare me going out in the woods alone. I'm a 35 year old 230lb guy, and I wouldnt even consider going out in the woods alone without at least a 38special revolver in an open fanny pack. If you are afraid of it accidentally going off, get a pistol(Glock or Ruger) and just dont have a round in the chamber. There is no way for it to go off without one in the chamber. You can bring a gun on your checked baggage, but no ammo. You will have to buy ammo when you get to your destination. You may detest guns, but criminals do not, and no amount of gun control will keep a criminal from getting one.

Be careful out there and have fun.

Michele
06-09-2006, 22:05
Hey Limbo, for what's it's worth, I'll be 33, and have next to zero long distance backpacking experience, and I'm "going alone." I'm not at all worried though, there will be a ton of people out there. Just do it. The only think to fear in life is fear itself!

sliderule
06-09-2006, 22:24
I'm a 35 year old 230lb guy, and I wouldnt even consider going out in the woods alone without at least a 38special revolver in an open fanny pack.

Phobias can be overcome. Look in the Yellow Pages. Under "Psychologist." Help is available.

Amigi'sLastStand
06-09-2006, 22:43
I caught this post when he first typed it and needed some time to calm down before I responded.
The idea to carry a firearm is a very powerful decision. I have carried a 9mm Beratta for the last 17 years in both of my lives, civilian and otherwise. I have a CWP in my state of Fl. I have kept a .40 cal in my truck the day the state of FL said I could. My home is, well, equipped, shall we say.

I will not carry one while hiking. Don't need to. What danger is there? Much less danger in the woods, than in regular civilization. That is without dispute, both anecdotally and mathematically.

Without proper training, a weapon is more danger to you than anyone else. I find it funny that the ppl I know who are the most trained in firearms -- police, ex and active military -- are the ones who dont feel it is necessary to arm while hiking. Every hunting accident I've seen or heard of usually had nothing to do with the hunting weapon, it was the useless .45 someone brought along for fun.

If you feel that threatened, stay home. Or better yet, learn jiu-jit-siu. It is the art of the small against the big and works much more effectively than a firearm in CQB. That's Close Quarters Battle to you. That I know from personal experience.

News item -- A grizzly was found dead today on the Appalachian Trail. He had apparently choked to dead on a .38 handgun. Police are baffled.
Also in the news, a hiker who goes by the name Froglover is missing.....

Fahrenheit
06-09-2006, 23:01
Thanks for the reply Amigi. I caught this post earlier too and had no idea how to respond. As a female I consider myself very aware of safety issues. I've taken women's self-defense classes and I trust my instincts. I have never felt safer alone at night anywhere than I do in the woods. In fact the only time I do feel uncomfortable when I'm hiking is when I go into towns. The crime rate on the trail is absurdly low and hikers generally take very good care of each other. IMHO one very good way of messing all that up is if we start carrying guns.

mweinstone
06-10-2006, 00:01
they must stay home.

mweinstone
06-10-2006, 00:02
stay home.

Amigi'sLastStand
06-10-2006, 01:41
they must stay home.
:-? Just checking, that wasnt directed at me, right? I didnt mean women, I meant the 230lb guy with the Saturday Night Special. More women the better. Heck, I'll even protect em. Now, I'm open to being seduced, but that's another story....:rolleyes:

Amigi'sLastStand
06-10-2006, 01:51
Thanks for the reply Amigi. I caught this post earlier too and had no idea how to respond. As a female I consider myself very aware of safety issues. I've taken women's self-defense classes and I trust my instincts. I have never felt safer alone at night anywhere than I do in the woods. In fact the only time I do feel uncomfortable when I'm hiking is when I go into towns. The crime rate on the trail is absurdly low and hikers generally take very good care of each other. IMHO one very good way of messing all that up is if we start carrying guns.

I dont believe you should be afraid, alert, but not afraid. Most criminals or criminal-type are lazy by nature. Any cop can tell ya that. They aint hiking the AT. Avoid the shelters by the roads, try not to be first at a shelter, contact home as often as possible, .... I'll think of more. Like you said, trust your instincts. They've saved me before. And am glad you've taken a self-defense course. I taught my soontobe ex a ton about self def and now, heck, she may even kick my ass. I'm only 5'8" 165lbs when I'm in shape. Ive been preyed upon a lot. I have no idea if I'd even been alive if it werent for jiu-jit-siu. In fact, I dont think I would be. Ladies, learn to take care of yourself. The good men find it extremely attractive!:)

Ridge
06-10-2006, 05:00
Ladies, go hike the trail. Take someone with you if possible. Get with others on the trail if you can't take someone. As mentioned before, all should be careful and more aware of surroundings at trail-heads, in towns, etc. Just go have an enjoyable life altering thru-hike. If you need help let us all here at WB know, we'll get someone up there ASAP.

Amigi'sLastStand
06-10-2006, 07:17
Ladies, go hike the trail. Take someone with you if possible. Get with others on the trail if you can't take someone. As mentioned before, all should be careful and more aware of surroundings at trail-heads, in towns, etc. Just go have an enjoyable life altering thru-hike. If you need help let us all here at WB know, we'll get someone up there ASAP.
Yeah, big community here. Let em know of any problems. Ladies, have fun.

Marta
06-10-2006, 07:56
True story: I am wrapping things up at work to prepare for my six-month (or however long it takes!) leave of absence starting July 1. A couple of insurance agents were in my office earlier this week and I was explaining my impending absence and who would be dealing with them while I'm gone. The older agent (a woman about my age) whom I had never met before was extremely curious about my hike. (The other agent, our regular guy, told me that the people in his office talk about my hike every day. They cannot imagine taking a LOA to do such a thing.) She asked the usual questions, including who was I going with. I explained that I am planning to start with someone in Maine (hi, Kate from Whiteblaze!), but this was planned as a solo hike, and I'll press on regardless.

The agent reeled back in horror, of course. Isn't that dangerous?

I gave my usual answer, which is a somewhat flip, "If I were a rapist/murderer, would I hang around in the woods waiting for a woman to walk by? Or would I hang out on a college campus?"

Unbeknownt to me (because I am spending my few moments of reading time every day on Whiteblaze instead of reading the paper), the headline of the newspaper that morning was about the arrest of the guy who murdered the Clemson student. I read it when I got home. It's pretty sickening. But it does reinforce my point that it's way more dangerous to stay home. And most dangerous of all to get in a car.

BTW, the murder of the Clemson student is not going to stop my daughter from moving to Chapel Hill next August, even though it is arguably more dangerous than to hiking the AT with me.

Amigi'sLastStand
06-10-2006, 08:07
I lived in Orlando during the Danny Rollins killing spree in Gainsville. It was scary fo women. But occurences like that, their like lightning strikes.

Be safe, heed out warnings and advice, and you'll be fine. I hope to run into you. Look for the guy in the camo gilly hat and orange pack. That'll be me.
Chuck

Is Limbohiker even a participating member anymore? At least she started this thread.

kittyrock13
06-10-2006, 12:35
i was worried about that too. and i have NO backpacking experience. ive been on the trail 6 weeks to the day, no problems what so ever. in fact im really enjoying being alone. you meet so many rad people anyway. there are times... but they always end up being great. (so far)
i absolutely recommend it. (-;

corentin
06-10-2006, 17:10
I really advise reading Gavin DeBecker's book "The Gift of Fear" for anyone worried about safety around two legged animals. He very much advocates using the mind before things get bad and how fear can actually help someone in a dangerous situation.
For the record, I own a gun but will not be taking one hiking. I am hiking with my sister, and not alone . Anyone trying to hurt my sister with me around better have their will prepared :)

Erro
06-10-2006, 22:48
I caught this post when he first typed it and needed some time to calm down before I responded.
The idea to carry a firearm is a very powerful decision. I have carried a 9mm Beratta for the last 17 years in both of my lives, civilian and otherwise. I have a CWP in my state of Fl. I have kept a .40 cal in my truck the day the state of FL said I could. My home is, well, equipped, shall we say.

I will not carry one while hiking. Don't need to. What danger is there? Much less danger in the woods, than in regular civilization. That is without dispute, both anecdotally and mathematically.

Without proper training, a weapon is more danger to you than anyone else.
I totally agree with Amigi. I too carry a CWP and am often armed. However the idea of an un-trained person carrying a gun is WAY more scary than the idea criminal activity on the trail. (It makes no difference whether the gun is chambered or not.)

I don't think firearms are needed on the trail. But whether you believe the trail is the place for a firearm or not - the hands of an untrained person are definitely LAST place a gun should ever be.

Froglover
06-12-2006, 12:57
If you are untrained, get some training.
I dont carry a 38special, but that is a possible starting gun for a female. If the auto pistol(not 38spl revolver) isnt chambered, it absolutly can not fire, and it only takes an extra second to make it ready. Ju-jit-tzu is only a "small against the big" means of defense when the "big" doesnt know ju-jit-tzu. If the attacker knows it too, the bigger person will again have the advantage. Get some firearms training to go with the martial arts, and carry a light gun. Dont let the liberal media brainwash you into thinking firearms are bad. Dont be fooled into thinking you have to be a "professional"(DEA agent shooting his own foot reference here) in order to carry and be competent with a gun.
I carry a 10mm glock 20 unchambered. I know it isnt big enough for a grizzly, but it is definatly good enough for the small gang of pot farmers I accidently run into. It is big enough for wild dogs, mountain lions(probably would have me half eaten before I knew it though) or black bear. People have been killed in the woods by everything from black bears to asian gangs, so there are some circumstances where even a 38special would help. There are plenty of others where it will do you no good. I'm under no illusions that that it is a ray gun or a forcefield.

Chances are, you would never need the gun, but the joy of learning to shoot is a reward in itself. If you are one of those unlucky people, you will wish you or someone in your group(could be me) had one. A gun is something you hope you never need, but never want to be without one when you do.
Take care.

Froglover
06-12-2006, 12:58
I lived in Orlando during the Danny Rollins killing spree in Gainsville. It was scary fo women. But occurences like that, their like lightning strikes.

Be safe, heed out warnings and advice, and you'll be fine. I hope to run into you. Look for the guy in the camo gilly hat and orange pack. That'll be me.
Chuck

Is Limbohiker even a participating member anymore? At least she started this thread.


Are you serious?

corentin
06-12-2006, 14:48
Chances are, if you are going to be attacked in the woods, it is going to be a crime of opportunity, not a planned attack. Like someone else said, the planner type predators are all hanging out where they have better chances, like a college campus. Best defense is to be aware of your surroundings, don't be afraid to be perceived as "rude" or make a fuss, know how to hurt someone else enough to get away from them. Small does not have to overcome big, she only has to hurt him enough to escape.
I think a gun can make someone feel overly confident and be relied on more then instinct/intuition. By the time you are in a situation where you need a gun you have probably ignored intuition a few times.
Another factor is that not everyone has the willingness to use lethal force on other human beings, in which case a gun could be worse then useless.
From what I have read, the A.T. has better crime statistics then my home town. I don't pack a gun around town, why in the name of all that is holy would I pack one on the A.T. ?

Fahrenheit
06-12-2006, 15:11
Corentin, I agree with you about "The Gift of Fear". That was the assigned book for my women's self defense class. It was very useful because it teaches you to rely on your brains to avoid getting into situations in the first place. Guns don't do that at best and at worst would escalate a situation. I'm not anti guns at all. I actually would like to learn how to shoot just for the fun of it, but even if I was and expert I would not carry one on the trail. The chance of being attacked on the AT is minimal at best. I have a better chance of something happening while sitting here typing this in an urban area than something happening on the trail.

bfitz
06-12-2006, 15:23
...BTW, the murder of the Clemson student is not going to stop my daughter from moving to Chapel Hill next August, even though it is arguably more dangerous than to hiking the AT with me.

Well said. If statistics are anything to go on it's absolutely far far more dangerous...any reasonably populated town or city is...carry your gun there!
Shooting guns for recreation is fun though...
Also illegal in National Parks, anyway....
But if you must...find something light-weight and keep it where you might be able to get to it in an emergency....and practice with it. After you've been on the trail for a month or three you'll likely send it home. Funny, It seems like far more men than women actually think it's a good idea to carry guns while hiking...I wonder why.

corentin
06-12-2006, 15:43
Men have very poor survival instincts as a gender. I'm amazed any of them make it out of adolescence.

Skidsteer
06-12-2006, 17:53
Men have very poor survival instincts as a gender. I'm amazed any of them make it out of adolescence.

I'm not sure any of us do make it out of adolescence. ;)

Froglover
06-12-2006, 19:25
I'm not sure any of us do make it out of adolescence. ;)

Ditto on both of those:p

bfitz
06-13-2006, 12:20
I made out a coupla times....

Doctari
06-13-2006, 20:04
SO! It's been nearly 9 months since you first posted this; what have you decided????!?!?!?!

When do you hit the trail??

If you wait like I now need to, it will be 2035 or later afor you hit the trail, as a 51 year old woman.


GO, GO SOON, JUST GO! It's not too late to consider a SOBO!


Be safe, but don't be afraid. Be careful, but not overly so. No matter what, if it feels unsafe or a bad situation, get away from [it, them, him, her, etc]


Think of us from time to time as you hike along. Let us know on occasion how it goes.


Doctari

bfitz
06-13-2006, 22:04
Be safe, but don't be afraid. Be careful, but not overly so.
That's a great quote!

weary
08-26-2006, 16:01
I hiked the AT twice. The first hike I was completely solo - hiking with folks for days or weeks at a time, but never in any regular partnership. The second hike I started solo, but ended up with a partner midway. I never felt afraid on the AT. There are so many other hikers out there who share your dream of hiking to Katahdin, that you really aren't alone unless you try to be. (Actually, that was a bigger problem for me than feeling vulnerable. I had a hard time finding solitude until the crowds thinned out.)
1993 is increrasingly a long time ago so things may have changed, but I went south to Springer that year mostly because I was curious about the trail and the people on the trail -- and even dabbled with the idea of writing a book about what I observed.

Anyway I observed and listened, which incidentally had been my occupation for the previous 40 years, so I was kind of skilled at it. I heard nothing like the conversation that this piece begins with. I saw a few couples that seemed to have been formed on the trail. They seemed to be totally consenual.

I hiked slower than most, so I was with multiple groups for days or weeks at a time and then most moved ahead. As I got to know single female hikers and sensed that they thought me pretty harmless, I would occasionally ask if they had ever felt in danger on the trail. The answer was always "no."

Weary GA-ME 1993

TooUnfazed
02-22-2010, 15:40
Phobias can be overcome. Look in the Yellow Pages. Under "Psychologist." Help is available.

It's not paranoia if people really are out to yet you.

:cool:

JustaTouron
02-22-2010, 15:56
Tell the potential rapist to hang on a sec while you unpack your pepper spray.



Rape very rarely is of the jump out of the bushes drag the girl behind the tree type. Odds are if someone get raped on the AT it will be a girl who consented to share a motel room (in her mind to save costs) and he saw it as her way of saying yes to a romatic encounter.

weary
02-22-2010, 22:31
Rape very rarely is of the jump out of the bushes drag the girl behind the tree type. Odds are if someone get raped on the AT it will be a girl who consented to share a motel room (in her mind to save costs) and he saw it as her way of saying yes to a romatic encounter.
Well, I've offered to share a motel room occasionally with other hikers. One I remember in particular is with a gal I'd been hiking with for a couple of months. We had shared shelters and hostels together, often just the two of us. We had talked in great detail about many things -- including sex. But had never practiced same for reasons that are outside of the scope of this thread.

But since we were both on tight budgets, a couple of times as we approached towns, I suggested we could save a few bucks by sharing a motel. She always refused. Somehow two people sleeping on the floor of a shelter, is different from two people sleeping in separate beds in a motel.

Weary

gipcgirl
02-22-2010, 23:23
Well, I've offered to share a motel room occasionally with other hikers. One I remember in particular is with a gal I'd been hiking with for a couple of months. We had shared shelters and hostels together, often just the two of us. We had talked in great detail about many things -- including sex. But had never practiced same for reasons that are outside of the scope of this thread.

But since we were both on tight budgets, a couple of times as we approached towns, I suggested we could save a few bucks by sharing a motel. She always refused. Somehow two people sleeping on the floor of a shelter, is different from two people sleeping in separate beds in a motel.

Weary

Why is that?
I often hike solo and end up sharing shelters with many men of varying ages and have had no problems.
I have also made many good hiking friendships with men.
Whenever the occasion arrises to share a motel room to save costs I always say NO. I am not sure why. On the other hand have said yes to sharing a backpackers room with 4 or more men.
Go figure???
Happy Hiker
Nobo March19 not long to go now. Yippeeee

moytoy
02-22-2010, 23:33
Why is that?
I often hike solo and end up sharing shelters with many men of varying ages and have had no problems.
I have also made many good hiking friendships with men.
Whenever the occasion arrises to share a motel room to save costs I always say NO. I am not sure why. On the other hand have said yes to sharing a backpackers room with 4 or more men.
Go figure???
Happy Hiker
Nobo March19 not long to go now. Yippeeee

I think the key word is trust. You may not distrust someone but you may not be sure you can trust them either. You may have been hiking for three or four weeks with someone but you really don't know that person.

sbhikes
02-23-2010, 22:19
Why is a hotel different than a shelter? The hotel has a door with a lock on it. A shelter or hostel is a lot more open.

bfitz
02-24-2010, 00:45
This issue keeps coming up...and I understand it's a serious one and a humanity-wide problem, but I've been hiking the AT for 7 years now, and despite all the annoying socially impaired lovelorn folks of both sexes out there on the trail I've never seen anything even close to as bad out there as stuff I see every weekend, every day, at the bar I work at or at other bars, college campuses and gathering places and just on the street in what is often called "civilization" because there are buildings and police around. If my sister or daughter wanted to hike the AT alone I'd say definitely! And go as soon as possible, please!...I don't know precisely why, but folks seem to get more polite the minute they hit woods. I get it when someone's loved ones worry about them...and of course nothing is ever completely safe, but you have a much, much much higher chance of being killed by a falling branch or lightening strike than another person on the AT. It's just a fact.

bfitz
02-24-2010, 00:47
And by killed I mean harmed in any way whatsoever.

tfeudale
03-01-2010, 00:31
This has also crossed my mind and I am so undecided about finding someone to go or to just do it alone. EVERYONE that I have told about my plans of doing this is concerned about me going alone. I too feel that if something bad is to happen and it is my time to go or whatever... everything happens for a reason. Also, I plan on taking mace at least. Any other suggestions...?

JonnyWalker
03-01-2010, 14:03
Having been pepper sprayed by a friend before*don't ask*, I can say unless you are atleast 5 feet away, you and your attacker are most likely going to be laid out on the floor coughing. I well placed kick to the groin is most likely the best answer to an attacker, especially a rapist.

bfitz
03-02-2010, 22:08
This has also crossed my mind and I am so undecided about finding someone to go or to just do it alone. EVERYONE that I have told about my plans of doing this is concerned about me going alone. I too feel that if something bad is to happen and it is my time to go or whatever... everything happens for a reason. Also, I plan on taking mace at least. Any other suggestions...?
Instead of asking your friends and family who have never thru-hiked (who love you and without exception will ALWAYS be a bit worried no matter where you go and more so when you go somewhere they don't know anything about, naturally...) why not ask the women on this site who have thru-hiked. Without exception I assure you they will advise that even the mace is overkill. Bring your wits of course, everywhere you go.

bfitz
03-02-2010, 22:13
It keeps getting said...but worth repeating, without question you are in way more danger in the local wal-mart parking lot than out on the trail. Predator-types look for easy prey and they look where they're likely to find a lot to choose from...they don't hike 40 miles into the backcountry on the off chance they'll encounter an easy victim among the hardy types likely to undertake a hike alone. It's just not how they operate. Think about it.

bfitz
03-02-2010, 22:21
Also, in case you're interested, ripping off a human ear requires less strength than lifting 20 pounds off the ground. I doubt most people will be interested in anything but tending to that ear for the ear future....

bfitz
03-02-2010, 22:21
er...near future...

stranger
03-03-2010, 02:48
In 2008 Randall Lee Smith (Murder on the Appalachian Trail, 1981) was back out along near the trail and shot two fishermen right near his original crime scene from 1981, he was alone and there were 2 of them, both men - they still got shot...**** Happens!

How about this post:

"Female driving to work alone OK?" - far more accurate in terms of safety

You are far more likely to run into a problem driving to work, or working, or taking a shower, walking down the street, than on the AT. FACT

No worries, get your shoes on!

bfitz
03-03-2010, 15:17
Funny how most of the violent crimes committed on the AT in the last 30 years were committed by the same guy, and he's now dead.

Source: Wikipedia

Violent crime, including murder, has occurred on the trail in a few instances. Most have been crimes by non-hikers who crossed paths relatively randomly with the AT hiker-victims. The official website of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy points out that the number of violent crimes is extremely low when compared against the number of people (3 to 4 million) who hike on the trail every year.[26]

Nine homicides have been documented on the trail since the first reported homicide in Georgia in 1974.[citation needed] In 1981, the issue of violence on the Appalachian Trail received national attention when Robert Mountford Jr. and Laura Susan Ramsay, both social workers in Ellsworth, Maine, were murdered by Randall Lee Smith.[27] Another homicide occurred in May 1996, when two women were abducted, bound and murdered near the trail in Shenandoah National Park. The primary suspect was later discovered harassing a female bicycler in the vicinity[28] but charges against him were dropped, and the case remains unsolved.[29]

On May 6, 2008, Randall Lee Smith, the killer of Mountford and Ramsay in 1981, shot two fishermen from Virginia near the trail in Giles County, Virginia, not far from the site of his 1981 murder; he then stole their pickup truck but crashed it and was imprisoned. The fishermen survived, but Smith died in jail four days later,[30] most likely from an acute pulmonary thromboembolism incurred when he crashed the pickup truck.[31]