PDA

View Full Version : solo femail thru hiker ?



penny b
10-12-2016, 21:18
I have looked in here about solo thru hikers but not find much on how safe it is for a female hiking alone. can anyone give me some insight on this ? I am planning on a thru hike with my daughter and I but IF for some reason one of us not able to continue to the end ... how safe is it for the other to carry on alone ?

PennyPincher
10-12-2016, 21:42
Perfectly safe. Safer than being "in town" alone


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

penny b
10-12-2016, 22:02
i hoping hikers watch out for fellow hikers ... and help each other . I am pretty new to this and trying to research as much as i can :) thank you

Dan Roper
10-12-2016, 22:04
Penny writes with the right spirit, though a bit too emphatic. It's not perfectly safe, of course. Bad things have happened to people on the AT. And, unfortunately, a single women is a more likely target than a single man (at least, a big, sweaty, man). The odds of anything happening are slim - probably far less risky than driving on an interstate highway and, as Penny said, walking downtown.

Lots of single women have thru-hiked. Lots of them. I've met quite a few on the trail. But usually the thru-hiking community ends up with little bubbles or pods of friends (as David Brill said, it is a linear community). So, quite often folks don't hike alone. They hike in groups, touching base periodically throughout the day, so that you're not usually alone, unaccounted for, and completely out of touch with friends or comrades or those who would come to you aid in the unlikely event that you did have a problem.

If you hike during typical thru-hiking season heading northbound, safety won't be much of an issue.

Have fun!

gpburdelljr
10-12-2016, 22:13
Go to "Advanced Search", select the "search Single Content Type" tab, put "safety" in as a key word, in Search in Forums select "Female Hiker Forums", under Find Posts select "Any date" and "and newer", hit the Search Now button and you will find all kinds of threads on the subject.

i think you will find that the consensus is that it is safe, but you will find good advice about being aware of your surroundings, trusting your instincts about a situation, etc. Those two examples of advice apply anywhere, not just on the trail.

PennyPincher
10-12-2016, 23:13
Yes, what Dan said. Always use your head. And trust your gut. If anyone gives you a weird vibe, trust it and find someone else you know from the trail or get off trail. I had a friend hiking last year and she had a guy kind of "hanging on her". He just really had no clue and was harmless but still it wigged her out.

MtDoraDave
10-13-2016, 07:41
Yes, what Dan said. Always use your head. And trust your gut. If anyone gives you a weird vibe, trust it and find someone else you know from the trail or get off trail. I had a friend hiking last year and she had a guy kind of "hanging on her". He just really had no clue and was harmless but still it wigged her out.

I've seen this happen in groups where random people are mixed together (my example is not from on the trail) where one guy who isn't dangerous but is socially awkward will talk to a girl, and she being polite talks to him. He gets a crush on her and becomes a nuisance. I'm not saying that being polite to your fellows isn't proper, but as others have said, if someone is a little off, listen to your instincts. If you want to be left alone by a person, say so, directly - without trying to soften it up with niceties that can be misconstrued.

I have seen several women (and men) solo hiking. Some are alone, others have found a group to hang with, though if you camp at a shelter, you will rarely be alone and if done in thru hiker season, there's a good chance you will camp with many of the same people night after night, essentially no longer being a solo hiker.

99% of people I've met on the trail are much nicer than the cross section of our society.

Engine
10-13-2016, 07:59
Depending on when you start, you'll likely find yourself around many other hikers and there is safety in numbers. As for dangers, you've already shown the right attitude by inquiring about possible issues. Just stay alert to your surroundings and if you sense something is off about someone, trust your instincts and separate yourself from that individual.

BonBon
10-13-2016, 08:12
I solo thru hiked, but I met lots of people along the way. I hiked with a few different people for many hundreds of miles and made some great friends. You will fall in with folks who hike at your pace. When I hiked last year, a woman was raped near Deep Gap. She had tented near a road. While I agree that the trail is very safe and I never felt threatened by people, my gut did tell me a couple of times to move on from campsites where people activated my gut alert. I spent many nights alone on the trail and felt very safe in campsites by myself as opposed to busy shelters.

Hikingjim
10-13-2016, 08:23
Many many solo women hiking. You will get some tag along guys (generally harmless, possibly annoying). Probably best to avoid some shelters and sites that are close to the road or known to be used by locals or as "party shelters". But that's only if you're not with a group of people you know at the time, and you'll get to know a lot of people
Some solo women hitch hike to towns, but I wouldn't recommend that when you're alone. Hitch with others or call a shuttle would be my advice

Tipi Walter
10-13-2016, 08:39
I solo thru hiked, but I met lots of people along the way. I hiked with a few different people for many hundreds of miles and made some great friends. You will fall in with folks who hike at your pace. When I hiked last year, a woman was raped near Deep Gap. She had tented near a road. While I agree that the trail is very safe and I never felt threatened by people, my gut did tell me a couple of times to move on from campsites where people activated my gut alert. I spent many nights alone on the trail and felt very safe in campsites by myself as opposed to busy shelters.

The OP may be a solo hiker but there's no such thing as a "solo backpacking trip" when hiking the AT---as BonBon says about falling in with folks. If you hike the AT in January during the middle of a weeklong blizzard with very low temps you MAY then be on a solo trip.

Sandy of PA
10-13-2016, 08:43
I hike about 400 miles a year solo. I do not tell anyone I am alone, were I plan to camp, keep it fluffy, and don't camp near roads. In six years of this I only met 2 people that made me feel uneasy, and I didn't stick around to see if they were actually OK or not.

DuneElliot
10-13-2016, 08:49
While not a thru-hiker yet, I have done quite a sizable amount of solo backpacking. I have never not felt safe alone, and won't hesitate to go alone more and more. Don't admit you're alone, trust your gut and enjoy it.

Tipi Walter
10-13-2016, 09:24
I hike about 400 miles a year solo. I do not tell anyone I am alone, were I plan to camp, keep it fluffy, and don't camp near roads. In six years of this I only met 2 people that made me feel uneasy, and I didn't stick around to see if they were actually OK or not.

Are these hikes on the AT or on other trails? The reason I ask is because the AT is a different beast as mentioned above. It is more crowded.

In the last several decades I pulled many backpacking trips away from the AT and in that amount of time can remember seeing only a handful of solo women backpackers vs seeing thousands of solo men. One of the most outstanding woman was Christine Thuermer aka German Tourist. She travels the world solo and even has something to say about it---(below pic show us together in the Big Frog wilderness 2013)---

http://christine-on-big-trip.blogspot.com/2014/11/lets-talk-about-advantages-of-being.html


http://christine-on-big-trip.blogspot.com/2015/04/wild-or-how-hiking-pct-is-not-like.html (http://christine-on-big-trip.blogspot.com/2014/11/lets-talk-about-advantages-of-being.html)

https://photos.smugmug.com/Backpacking2013-1/18-Days-in-the-Big-Frog/i-6PnSZpS/0/L/TRIP%20141%20040-L.jpg

Spirit Walker
10-13-2016, 13:37
I did two AT thruhikes as a single woman. The first time (back in 1988) there were very few solo women out there. On the second one, four years later, I was surprised at how many other solo females were on the trail. I never felt in any danger, but I did have a couple of times when I moved on after spending a few minutes talking to people at a shelter. Not really red flags, but just people I didn't feel comfortable with. I ended up with a partner on the second hike - someone I met in Virginia who hiked the rest of the trail with me. (We ended up getting married.) On both hikes, I played leapfrog with a group of hikers that I met over and over. Some I would hike with for a week or two, then we'd separate because of different town stops or injury. Then we'd meet again 500 miles later.

Sandy of PA
10-14-2016, 10:54
Because I hike solo, my hikes are all on the AT. If I ever meet anyone with a similar style I would love to check out other trails, but my husband doesn't like me out there all alone. The AT is so busy, I have to work at it to camp alone!

Diamondlil
10-20-2016, 12:41
I hiked the AT for three weeks this summer solo. And yes most of the time I tented alone. There were times I met people in shelters on lunch or water stops that creeped me out, I just said g'bye and moved along. I'm slow and they passed me up. I felt safe, and confident.


[emoji851]

Rmcpeak
10-20-2016, 16:19
The current fastest known time for an unsupported solo hike on the AT is female. Heather "Annish" Anderson. Google her.

turtle fast
10-20-2016, 16:48
I've meet dozens of solo female hikers on the AT. Many of them ended up making friends with other people and hiked with them in a group. I hiked with my wife, so we'd once in awhile have a solo female hike with us. Most of them said they felt safe and much like many others have suggested, they never said where they were camping, didn't camp by roads, hiked on past shelters if the folks creeped them out, and many carried a means of self defense. Many as well liked hiking with friends they made on the trail, and liked the freedom to hop between friend groups. Being cautious while having a great adventure to sum it up.

Crazy Larry #1
10-21-2016, 15:14
I have looked in here about solo thru hikers but not find much on how safe it is for a female hiking alone. can anyone give me some insight on this ? I am planning on a thru hike with my daughter and I but IF for some reason one of us not able to continue to the end ... how safe is it for the other to carry on alone ?
Some of the toughest and meanest folks I have ever met are the women of the Appalachian Trail culture..........

Fireplug
10-23-2016, 22:27
I met a girl in April solo NOBO. She was 14. She's almost done now. I've been following her blogs. It's safe. I never came across anyone that I got a bad feeling about.

Fireplug
10-23-2016, 22:29
I met a girl in April at Neels Gap she's hiking solo NOBO. She's 14. I've been following her blog

Roamin
10-26-2016, 12:20
Penny B, while I am not a female hiker, I did take my two daughters (21 and 18 yrs old) out this year for a week long hike. I do not think they ever felt unsafe, but my mind was full of every worst case scenario. It was VERY nerve racking for me as a father, I got very little sleep, especially the one night in a shelter. I did ask them to carry a small mace can just in case and I would suggest you do the same. If nothing else it provides peace of mind.

We did meet MANY solo female hikers during our travels. We met a Mennonite lady thru hiking, several younger day hikers, and a handful of middle aged section and thru hikers. I was comforted by the “communal” spirit on the trail. Other hikers help keep things safe as well. If my daughter told me she wanted to solo hike, I think I would let her. I would be a wreck, but I would let her go nonetheless.

Water Rat
10-26-2016, 14:15
As a female backpacker who often backpacks solo, I can tell you that you are far safer on the trail than you are in your everyday life. That doesn’t mean the trail is 100% safe – The truth is that danger can lurk no matter where you are. With that, women are far more likely to have dangerous encounters in cities and on college campuses (as examples) than they are out on the trail. The safety instincts you (as a female) have in the city will still be there when you get out on the trail. Just be sure to pause and check-in with yourself every now and then.

In all my years of solo backpacking and traveling, I have never once felt the need to carry mace, or otherwise carry a weapon to defend myself. If I let someone close enough to pose that much of a threat, then there will not be enough time to pull mace out of a pack pocket to defend myself. The best defense one can carry with them is the knowledge that they should listen to their gut instincts. If your gut tells you not to hike/camp near someone, then listen and move along. There have been a couple of instances where I have encountered people who made me feel a bit on-edge. In those instances it was easy enough to grab my pack and move-along.

I am not trying to downplay danger on the trail - It exists. However, there are far more good people on the trail, than there are bad. There is safety in numbers and 99.9% of the backpackers will help you out if you are in any sort of situation where you need help.

If you/your daughter feels uncomfortable around someone just explain that to other backpackers out there – They will be more than happy to help keep you safe. People on the trail tend to be good people and look out for each other.

Fredt4
10-28-2016, 13:41
"That doesn’t mean the trail is 100% safe – The truth is that danger can lurk no matter where you are."

I've been hiking since the early '70 and have observed that to be true. If you’re conformable being alone in the city than being alone on the trail is no big deal. Being alone is something you learn about as you experience life. While I don't recommend it for 14 year olds it does come around. As noted previously the AT can be hiked solo and there can be hikers all around you.