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  1. #1
    Registered User skooch's Avatar
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    Default Are we scarry to locals? Any rudeness encountered?

    An incident last weekend in Clearwater makes me wonder. I wanted to ask a woman in a parking lot where to pick up the Pinellas Trail while traveling thru. She Jumped into her car and locked herself in and did not leave the parking lot until I hiked on. I barely appoached. Is this common? She acted like I had 3 heads.
    Those that danced were thought mad by those who could not hear the music. George Carlin

  2. #2
    Registered User d.o.c's Avatar
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    people are stupid and are scared of what they dont understand.. your lucky she didnt call the law ha.... but it can happen ive seen it myself a few times not to the point she jumpd in the car and lockd the door but kinda same situation she was totaly freakd out tho.

  3. #3

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    Maybe she was too jaded from transients accosting her and asking for money like they do in the parking lots around here.

  4. #4
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    I've encountered mixed reactions from people. Especially hitching. One pharmaceutical sales rep driving a new (and very clean car) stopped for us when I would have assumed she'd pass us by. Usually I've gotten good reactions.

    In the "bad" times it's been more "she's wasting her time let us scorn her" than fear of me. (Ha. Me. 5'5", blonde, usually braided hair. Scary.)

    I've never had someone lock her or himself in their car because of me- you must be really scary skooch!
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShelterLeopard View Post
    One pharmaceutical sales rep driving a new (and very clean car) stopped for us when I would have assumed she'd pass us by.
    Last year I got a ride from a commercial driver while hitching along a mountain road early in the morning, that was the absolute LAST person I would have expected to stop (except for the nice mom who picked me up with her baby in the back seat, but I was younger then).

    He was a friendly chap who was on his daily trucking route, and also a biker who went on several vet benefit rides each year.

  6. #6

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    I wrote in my journal how, as I was hiking down Bishop Pass in the High Sierra, I met a lot of people. Near the top of the pass I met some nice backpackers and they shared their whole itinerary with me and asked me where I had been hiking. We had a nice conversation. Then I continued on and met more people and we also talked a little. As I got closer to the bottom, I met people just starting their trips. They would just say hello. No stopping to talk. Then even closer to the bottom I met day hikers and they wouldn't say hello. Then when I got to the parking lot, people would flee from me like I was the devil. It was like wow, these are the same people who were out on the trail. It's so different out on the trail, even the same people are totally different.

    And I'm a blond with long braids short woman, too.
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  7. #7
    Garlic
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    No, I've never had an experience like that one while hiking. I have encountered way too many rude motorists while cycle touring, though.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  8. #8

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    People have been conditioned to see terrorists everywhere.

  9. #9
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    I've never encountered any rudeness in all my years here and there. I believe in Karma and I've helped out many hikers along the way with rides never looking for money or anything else in exchange so I hope my luck continues.

    Jonnycat raises a good point about begging transients in parking lots.....
    Last edited by Namaste; 05-12-2011 at 09:59. Reason: finished sentence
    Happy Lifetime Sectioner!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by skooch View Post
    An incident last weekend in Clearwater makes me wonder. I wanted to ask a woman in a parking lot where to pick up the Pinellas Trail while traveling thru. She Jumped into her car and locked herself in and did not leave the parking lot until I hiked on. I barely appoached. Is this common? She acted like I had 3 heads.
    I've done over 500 miles of the AT. If anyone was scared of me, it has never come to my attention (at least not while on the AT). As an adult male, I do try to be careful not to give off bad vibes, especially toward
    women.

    In general, men are more likely to cause fear that women.

    Someone alone is more likely to cause fear than someone a group.

    There are probably a host of other visual cues that affect peoples perceptions. But in general, someone with a backpack near a trail doesn't often make people very nervous.

  11. #11

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    I haven't had any negative reactions yet, but I'm sure it will happen eventually.

    So far I've had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from both dayhikers and town people.

  12. #12

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    I've had no problems chatting with locals in towns near the trail. Lots of smiles, friendly hellos, helpful info, etc. But after one hike, I took the train back home. There was no one to meet me, so I decided to hoof it to my house. NOBODY smiled; I guess the people thought I was a vagrant.

  13. #13
    Registered User skooch's Avatar
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    Yes it must have been the parking lot. The very same day I Yogied a cold beer from some guys using the trail as a shortcut. I was laying in some grass just taking a rest. In this case I was the one approached. They were knocking back a few as they walked and were curious enough to ask why I was there. In that case they were the questionable ones.
    Those that danced were thought mad by those who could not hear the music. George Carlin

  14. #14
    Registered User brian039's Avatar
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    I guess on the AT most people know you're a hiker, I never ran into anything but kindness. Sure, I've been passed up on hitches before, but the people who pass me up usually smile and wave. Your appearance and being tactful when approaching people is key.

  15. #15
    Registered User mad4scrapping's Avatar
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    It was probably just the woman herself. Who knows what she might have experienced in the past. I hike a lot on the AT in Virginia, and I find the people in parking lots to be curious. Some keep a respectful distance, but I imagine that is because of the smell . . .
    Lead me to the long green tunnel.

  16. #16
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    This was central Florida? Might have thought you were a Rainbow person. We hiked a nice section of the FT a couple of years ago and many of the locals thought that about us. The animosity was pretty stunning.

    We ended up giving a ride to an actual Rainbow person after the hike. Turned out to be a pretty nice guy. But no one would give him a ride (except hiker trash.)
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  17. #17
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    The Pinellas Trail is a paved urban trail, folks who don't use it have no idea it is even there or where it goes. It gets the usual variety of city folks from transients to athletes. Hard to compare to any part of the AT...Well maybe to Bear Mountain. I had a guy there bitch I was in his way as him as his kid where racing their radio control cars on a paved part of the trail.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  18. #18
    Registered User skooch's Avatar
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    I got out there Friday and did 17miles fully loaded to break in new boots. I was the only one not riding a bicycle or jogging (except for the guys with the beer.) Can't wait to get on the AT where asking a question can lead to a new friend
    Those that danced were thought mad by those who could not hear the music. George Carlin

  19. #19
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    Kent, CT won the "Rudest Town on the AT Award" when I passed through in 2009.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    Kent, CT won the "Rudest Town on the AT Award" when I passed through in 2009.
    Kent has long been known as one of the least friendly trail towns for a long time but I don't think many hikers realize they can bring that on with how they act.
    Its like Texans in Colorado, the ugly American in Europe. Kent wouldn't miss a beat if the trail went away.

    Everytime I've been there walking (4x from 89-09) or the few times I've stopped in driving- I've had a good time and met nice people.

    Back to the subject- people fear the unknown -some more than others. People with $ or folks who watch too much TV tend to fear more. And you can never know what a person may be going through to cause them to have a bad day. It's life...

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