View Full Version : one year to go...

03-05-2004, 23:44
I am going to hike the AT in March 2005. My fiance (who will be my husband then) has done it already. However, as we have three dogs, he will not be joining me, but merely meeting me in each town to help resupply me, etc. I have a question regarding hiking as a female alone: I realize that the danger to my safety is minimal, however I do know that there are some not-so-good people that can be found along the trail. That is true everywhere, and I have experienced it on the trails in Montana, where I love. When I have dealt with that before, I have always had a very protective dog with me that has dissuaded any serious problems. I do not want to be paranoid, but would certainly welcome any advice in what would be the most prudent way to handle this issue. Thanks so much!!

One year seems so far away....:jump

03-18-2004, 03:25
There are always people that are idiots anywhere you go. On the trail though they are very few and far between. I know a lot of females who started alone, hiked alone and finished alone...but there are a ton of people on the trail. It's a safe place. You will meet people to hike with and some of them will be solo females like yourself....there's always safety in numbers.

03-20-2004, 09:15
You can contact the ATC on this; I was given some info when I was there one time. There is also a book they have(I was just at the ATC earlier this week)called "Trail Safe"(forgot name of the author). Some suggestions, though, are: Do not linger at road crossings; do not stay at a shelter near a road; do not tell people where you plan to hike or camp; don't let on that you're hiking alone; trust your gut..if you feel uncomfortable about someone, get away from them, hike on, stealth camp, whatever. If you are thru-hiking northbound, starting during the traditional hiking season, you will meet up with other thrus and overall end up having quite a bit of company, so you won't really be alone. (This is what I've heard and read a lot; I have not done a thruhike, but on all my backpacking trips, I have gone solo.)

I just bought and read the book "Walking Home" by Kelly Winters(a very good book, by the way)and she describes an episode where she encountered several guys at a road crossing when she crossed. They followed her, with ill intent, and she managed to outrun them up and down the trail, with her heavy pack(these were young guys). This occurred at a section which does not have a good reputation, the section around Elk Park, NC. According to the book, the section of the AT between Elk Park, NC and Hampton, Tenn. has a reputation as being unsafe, so I would exercise extra caution in such an area.

All that being said, once you get on the trail, you are much safer than you are in so-called "civilization" overall.

03-21-2004, 01:26
I hope to get going in 2005 too. From what I read follow that last guys advice and maybe bring a small can of pepperspray. I think that'll work on the bears too!

03-21-2004, 16:04
I will be leaving in the last week of February or first week in March. I am a slow walker but I will be on the trail. Rest assured that all of the hikers on the trail (man, woman, solo or grouped) will have an ally in me. I don't plan on seeing anything bad happen on the trail in 2005 and I will work hard not to let it happen. I am quite sure that I am not the only one with this opinion. If you are coming to a spot that you don't feel comfortable with or you are getting a bad "Vibe" then seek the company of your fellow hikers and the people you feel safe with.

03-26-2004, 19:53
2005 is my year too!

It's getting closer everyday!!

03-26-2004, 20:43
Hey there Dreaming...my sister and I will be starting in march '05 also. :clap ...I wouldn't worry too much about bad guys OR bears. You'll have lots of good folks for company and with a little common sense you'll be safer on the AT than in any town or city anyway.

03-26-2004, 20:53
I hiked solo with no trouble. You will find that hikers look out for each other. You become a big expanded community. Use the advice given you above, but don't go in fear. Others hearing about my hike were much more fearful than I was. I always say that you are safer on the trail than on the highways in a car. I didn't want to hike alone, but finally decided that it was better to hike alone than not to hike. Every time I was in need of companionship, I met up with someone to meet that need. I never had a bad experience at any time with feeling like I wasn't safe.