11

votes

Women, would you hike alone?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 05, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I went hiking several times by myself this week, in a popular county park, three trails, totaling maybe 5 miles (with sharp inclines, in the woods). The first time I had my mace, so felt confident, but the other times I didn't have mace and I don't own a cell phone, so felt a bit creeped out when I passed lone male hikers (I hauled my butt quickly through the trail, lol). My husband is a little worried that I hike by myself, but the trails are usually pretty populated. So, women, are you ever freaked out? Do you hike alone?

B9bd8147b335b83c4d34120a31edb06f

(23)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:33 AM

Oops sorry, didn't realize this was an old question.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on June 16, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Yeah, it does. And each person has to decide for themselves if they're more comfortable with a life of reservation, or of the inevitability of being hurt. I'm of the opinion that we are not breakable, and meeting and passing those bounds at which we imagine ourselves to be so - is one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on June 16, 2012
at 06:34 AM

But it really, really hurts when the trust you have in the world is violated.

34b560c8b9ce660d7839fb7e29d7be89

on May 10, 2012
at 06:48 AM

Funny, I was wearing this shirt today http://shirt.woot.com/friends.aspx?k=21286 it's always a good reminder and I've had more than a few close calls myself.

2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

(328)

on May 09, 2012
at 03:00 PM

I don't think women necessarily have different risks when hiking. Attacks from a stranger are the least common danger when hiking. Falls, improper hydration and/or clothing, getting lost, and overextending yourself are far, far, far more common. These are dangers that apply to all people.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on May 09, 2012
at 02:02 PM

Excellent point, but it's the occasional hair up on my neck in a way remote place- so I bring "tools" to up my comfort level accordingly.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 09, 2012
at 12:40 PM

ha, I take my softie dog, too. An 80-lb goldendoodle is the biggest, least threatening ball of fur ever, but people are usually still wary of his size, even when he's straining to go play with them.

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on May 08, 2012
at 04:55 AM

Yeah, saw that. She met her now husband on the trail.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on May 07, 2012
at 09:29 PM

Or you could not hike, live your life in fear (and live for everyone else, so they can be happy that you are safe), and never get to do all the things men can do safely and take for granted. Granted the world is a scary place, but you cannot live in fear. Be prepared, and plan for emergency situations.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 07, 2012
at 09:12 PM

Where's the +1 Million button!! I LOVED traveling alone...no cell, no ipod, no "friends"...just me and my backpack and a once a month check of email. I have some of the most amazing stories, met some amazing people, and, yes, did it in some scary parts of the world. I carried no weapon, other than a confident attitude/swagger and direct eye contact, and only once was worried. I guess when you've discovered the KGB is following you, reading your emails, and probably has bugged your hotel, it puts a'whole'nuther spin on "scary".

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 07, 2012
at 08:14 PM

There are endless "what ifs" out there. If you spend your life recoiling from each one, you're obviously going to live a stunted life. Like I said: arm yourself if that is the necessary precaution to make you feel comfortable - but realize that you're missing out on life if you go so far as to not do an activity or to feel as though you can't do an activity alone. Being alone in the wilderness is the most sacred and soul-rejuvenating thing I can imagine; it crushes me to imagine anyone letting society and the violent world that the news portrays to us, prevent them from experiencing that.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on May 07, 2012
at 08:02 PM

If there was a way to predict which was the 1 and which was the 999, then your argument would make sense, but you don't know in advance. It's the same reason you wear a seat belt every time you drive a car. 999 out of 1,000 trips it does nothing more than than to wrinkle your clothing, but the 1 trip you need it---you really need it. The only way to ensure you have it the 1 time you need it, is to wear it all the time (even on the trips it turns out you didn't need it).

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:57 PM

Consider the thread is about women hiking alone. When's the last time you heard about a grown man being kidnapped, rapped and murdered? Women have to take extra precautions, because (unfortunately) there are far too many men out there who are...(how do I put this kindly)...psycho nut jobs.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:51 PM

+1 Carry a firearm was my first thought. An unarmed woman who meets a male predator is a victim. An armed woman who meets a male predator is a survivor.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 07, 2012
at 06:16 PM

This makes me sad. Can't we enjoy the outdoors without having to consider this kind of shit? Nothing is sacred.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 07, 2012
at 06:13 PM

CGnD, The media is an entertainment vehicle to sell ad space, NOT a source for accuracy. If you look at crime statistics, they are WAY down in the last 50 years, regardless of the picture the common media spews. That being said, I DO think one must listen to their instincts.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 07, 2012
at 05:34 PM

Hey check this out, a woman who hiked the pacific crest trail ALONE to raise money for rape awareness after having been raped: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/fashion/a-hikers-guide-to-healing.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&smid=fb-kr (why this is in the fashion and style section is beyond me..)

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:18 AM

but if the odds are 1000 to 1, 999 are scared for no reason. I bring my cell phone, I have a GPS and spare batteries with me. but I refuse to be afraid of every man I might come across.

3b38bcc91dbfc6a114f4bdce544103d3

(409)

on May 06, 2012
at 03:12 PM

No I read a lot and its on the news. I am just saying use common sense. She even states that she is "creeped out", do you think its her 6th sense kicking in and telling her she's being unsave. I sure do! I'm not saying it happens a lot, but it happens and if you feel "Creeped out" than bring your mace at the very least. Your mind picks up things subconsciously than you don't consciuosly. Listen to it.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 06, 2012
at 08:09 AM

I think body language is important. If you're not afraid, you just say hello as you pass, you're just another hiker.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on May 06, 2012
at 07:32 AM

You are absolutely right, but at least it's a big dog. And I trust that she would at the very least growl if she felt I was scared.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 06, 2012
at 05:52 AM

Thank you for your comment. I prefer pugs myself :) But I doubt pugs look very ferociousness. I would stick with bodyguards. Tight jeans are a must though.

5c94900002a867dfa2a8fcd91a576c5e

(456)

on May 06, 2012
at 05:04 AM

Being a former wilderness guide and avid backpacker, I've spent my share of time alone in both popular hiking areas and secluded wilderness spots. After reading about the story that "127 Hours" was based on several years ago, I started making sure I remembered to tell at least two different people where I was going and carry a cell for emergencies (something I was very against before). But to let fear keep you from doing something you enjoy seems ridiculous to me. I know many more people who were attacked in their own homes than out in the wilderness.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 06, 2012
at 04:57 AM

VB, there is a reason you don't see many Pit Bulls in Schutzhund...they don't work off of defense and those that are succeeding in protection work are doing it though positive (play) training methods. That being said, my brindle boy clears a pretty wide path in Oakland, where a White woman with a Pit Bull out ranks that baddest gang-banger.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 06, 2012
at 04:54 AM

LOL...You take a dog that is bred to be "people soft"?

E5d4889d675291f020c72e958de1f77b

(646)

on May 06, 2012
at 02:44 AM

Ha, I definitely also do the head nod along with a low-pitched "Hey". I also carry a visible knife (not a machete or anything, just a Serious Pocketknife) clipped to my shorts. I also always let my partner know where I'll be/when I've left/when I expect to be leaving the park, but then my preferred hiking spot is a pretty small state park with a decent amount of weekend traffic. Rebecca's answer is great- listen to your intuition.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on May 06, 2012
at 02:16 AM

Then I would DEFINITELY carry a cell and make sure someone knew my itinerary. I really feel like walking with my (big, rottie-masked) dog keeps me safer. I've seen questionable people in the city think twice...there are also questionable people looking for easy pickings on the local trails.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on May 06, 2012
at 01:15 AM

Dia, I'm an ol' woman -- been round the block more than a few times, and I can honestly say that, in my experience, this much fear is entirely unwarranted, even for folk who tend to live more... exciting... lives. The biggest dangers in doing things alone in the world come from lack of preparation or not paying attention. Yes, sometimes bad things happen even when we ARE prepared -- but if you're well prepared and are in tune with your surroundings, even things like hiking alone can be done safely... probably about 98% of the time. No reason for so much fear.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 06, 2012
at 01:07 AM

Yeah, my mom taught me to walk with a big stick while singing loudly if I was in secluded areas of our property- I now question the efficacy of that, and am not sure I would take the same risk with my own kids! We've had 1 bear shot on our property, and 2 cougar sightings.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on May 06, 2012
at 01:01 AM

Oh man, Bartleby. Your entire comment is golden. I wish I could upvote you a million times.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:53 AM

If I could down vote you more than once I would. So nice to be reminded yet again that misogyny is alive and well here at PH.

Ab0369a70755bd07f44292b4ca8b2260

(1579)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:51 AM

I think you have to listen to your intuition if someone is not there for good reasons. Also I'm 5'10" and 185…so not likely any dude is looking at me as prey. I didn't know there was anyone left on the planet that didn't have a cell phone? Get one of those pay ahead ones and use it just for hiking and emergencies.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:24 AM

No dogs, sadly. Also, they aren't allowed on the nature reserve.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:24 AM

Good advice about eye contact. I wear cop aviator shades and do the "head nod". I also walk like I will cut a bitch.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:20 AM

Um, yes, they do.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:10 AM

Wow, you have an over active imagination! I backpacked all over the world and by FAR the most targeted for physical violence were single, tall, White males. Women were robbed, yes...but physical violence was much less likely. I found it strange, but after a while I understood that women were perceived as being vulnerable and therefore most men wanted to protect them not harm them.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:05 AM

This is true and unfortunate that we have to think like this. But, eye contact is a must. At least this is what my husband (who is in law enforcement) tells me. Never look at the ground. Weirdly, if you come across a bear it's just the opposite!

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:02 AM

bartleby, according to my cop friends, that cellphone tactic is a great way to get noticed by the bad guys. Look aware, that's the best way to stay out of trouble. Don't be on the phone, don't have ear buds in...look like you are ready to take on the world :) preditors prefer easy victims.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 05, 2012
at 11:10 PM

We have a Forest Park also. It gets clogged with strollers, though.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 05, 2012
at 11:08 PM

I appreciate this. I hate people, too.

1d02c0c2fa9946de88d8f24e81ca1cf6

(215)

on May 05, 2012
at 11:04 PM

A male, I'm considerate enough to give lone female hikers a wide berth. Come to think of it, I do so the same for males. Largely because I hate other people, I think. You might do as my sister does: (buy a mobile phone/ dummy mobile phone) Have a loud, imaginary phone conversation as you pass the walker by...'Okay honey, I'll be with you and your army buddies in a few seconds at the normal spot on the path.'

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 05, 2012
at 10:58 PM

we really only have a bunch of Bambis to contend with, but maybe I'll get a cell phone. My friends all work weird hours, and most aren't into hiking. I love the peace of going alone. I don't have to worry about looking all grimy and being hardcore out of breath. But, yeah, safety is a concern.

  • 26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

    asked by

    (5798)
  • Views
    7.4K
  • Last Activity
    1460D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

26 Answers

14
0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on May 05, 2012
at 11:46 PM

It sounds like you are sticking to popular routes. If that's the case you are probably just fine.

My husband works for the National Park Service and I used to as well. Before kids, I used to hike alone all of the time. On a few occasions I realized I chose trails unwisely. Once I ran across a bear and no one else was around. Good thing I had my dog! Another time I didn't realize how secluded a trail was, it took a long time to drive to the trailhead and so I went on alone. A few months later a story hit the news that a mother and her 20 something daughter were murdered on that trail!

Also, I have worked in an emergency dispatch center for a National Park and lived in a few others. When/if people get hurt in the backcountry it takes a LONG time for care to arrive, sometimes it is by helicopter, other times it is by carry out litter. It always seemed to come as a surprise to people who needed care in the backcountry that they would have to wait, sometimes overnight, for assistance.

So, what I am saying is, carry bear mace if you choose to hike alone. Stick to popular trails. Always let a few people know what time you are leaving and what time you should be back. For sure carry your cell (I have never had one and they are pretty important). And then enjoy the outdoors! It's really nice out there!

10
E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

on May 05, 2012
at 10:54 PM

I do not hike alone. BUT. I am not of the opinion that it's particularly smart for ANYONE to hike alone in secluded areas. I grew up in an area with bears and mountain lions being a threat, so besides the human risk factor there was wildlife to consider. Also, physical accidents (falling, etc.). I may be paranoid, but I prefer going with someone.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 05, 2012
at 10:58 PM

we really only have a bunch of Bambis to contend with, but maybe I'll get a cell phone. My friends all work weird hours, and most aren't into hiking. I love the peace of going alone. I don't have to worry about looking all grimy and being hardcore out of breath. But, yeah, safety is a concern.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 06, 2012
at 01:07 AM

Yeah, my mom taught me to walk with a big stick while singing loudly if I was in secluded areas of our property- I now question the efficacy of that, and am not sure I would take the same risk with my own kids! We've had 1 bear shot on our property, and 2 cougar sightings.

9
Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:11 AM

Take your dog, or a bunch of dogs. They'll love you for it!!

And if you don't have a dog...borrow a friend's. Then your friend and their dog will love you.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:24 AM

No dogs, sadly. Also, they aren't allowed on the nature reserve.

D5d982a898721d3392c85f951d0bf0aa

(2417)

on May 06, 2012
at 02:16 AM

Then I would DEFINITELY carry a cell and make sure someone knew my itinerary. I really feel like walking with my (big, rottie-masked) dog keeps me safer. I've seen questionable people in the city think twice...there are also questionable people looking for easy pickings on the local trails.

8
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on May 08, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Intuition is best tool you have.

I've been jumped in the city, and never in the woods, but I suspect there would be some crossover. I knew something wasn't right a good 20 seconds in advance, and was able to move from walking on the sidewalk to a few feet to the right the parking strip, and that slight intuitive evasive maneuver was enough that the person who jumped out of the alley at me didn't manage to get their arms around me, and almost fell down stumbling as they lunged, and that bit of confusion flustered them enough that they ran off. Once I realized they were coming at me, I just remember trying to stare them down and standing up taller, I was totally frozen for a few moments. I think I got really lucky, and will never ignore that uneasy feeling.

I've started out on a few trails, and thought, "Nope!" and turned my butt around, sometimes not even hiking that day because I was too spooked. But more often than not, I've felt perfectly at ease out there, and love saying, "Hi!" confidently to people as I pass them, I think walking around with a feeling of generalized fear can also get in the way of real intuitive warnings. The defensiveness of fearful existence is visible in body language or shakiness in someone's voice, and easily picked up on by other people, and even worse it can act as a beacon for creeps. So I refuse to give into random fear and worry whenever possible, so I can be present and size up my surroundings without having to fight through the mental distractions.

8
518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on May 06, 2012
at 01:14 AM

I wouldn't let being along hold you back from enjoying the outdoors, but you are right to be thinking about how to protect yourself. This year several girls from a nearby university were attacked in abduction attempts on a popular jogging trail, and that really reminded me that there are real risks, no matter how unlikely. For both males and females, I would recommend my mom's new people-and-animal-risk-aversion tactic: she keeps a can of bear spray strapped on her hip, in plain site. It's pretty regular around here to be carrying bear spray, lots of bears, cougars, and dog packs to be wary of, but I think it also sends a message when she is hiking by herself that she does have something on her that would make an attack riskier for the attacker, and just more inconvenient. Since adopting this method several years ago, she has even had to use it twice, both times on dogs, so it does have a practical safety aspect. It's a relatively reasonable investment for peace of mind I'd say!

6
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on May 06, 2012
at 02:02 AM

Alone, male or female isn't the wisest thing. Even if it's not people or wildlife, a simple move could render you immobile. At the very least, leave an itinerary and make sure people know where you are going.

http://www.klewtv.com/news/national/Hiker-with-broken-leg-survives-4-days-without-food-149496585.html

6
Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on May 06, 2012
at 01:06 AM

I hike alone on established, well-traveled trails. If I'm hiking in a wilderness area or on an unpatrolled area, I hike with at least one buddy, because if I took a fall or got into an accident, I'd want to have someone there who could help get me back to civilization or get help. I -have- hiked alone, and motorcycled alone across country -- but when I do that, I always put together a "flight plan" and a check-in plan. At the outside, I go 6 hrs between check-ins. That way, I'm never more than 6 hrs from someone knowing that I'm in trouble.

5
F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on May 07, 2012
at 05:59 PM

I love hiking out alone with my dog. I always take pepper mace and a phone. I have altered course upon seeing something that didn't please me. I usually do hour long to half day hikes in the nearby foothills. I want to hike, so I do, its like meditation in motion for me and company would bring it down a notch. (Although its great on occasion).

That being said, since I started hiking alone: I have met a murderer fresh off killing his wife (I am not joking about this), have been chased by a man in his underwear (He was barefoot -so I was the clear winner), been followed nearly home, and had numerous run-in's with large wildlife and rattlesnakes. On the opposite spectrum, I met my husband by hiking alone (he was hiking alone with his dog).

4
Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

on May 06, 2012
at 06:45 AM

There are no bears in the Netherlands (or mountains) but I'm always hiking/walking on my own through the countryside. I avoid people as much as possible when I can and i'm never afraid of men i come across. I would hate to live in fear like that :-(

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 06, 2012
at 08:09 AM

I think body language is important. If you're not afraid, you just say hello as you pass, you're just another hiker.

3
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:33 PM

I am the only one here who really, deeply, ENJOYS that feeling of absolutely no one knowing where you are? Unplugged from my phone, from what time it is, from the sounds of the city - just wandering and enjoying nature?

I feel extremely sorry for all of you living in fear; I feel like you've missed the point not only of a paleo lifestyle, but of life in general.

Carry some mace if you have to, but don't let the trepidation drive your world perpetually. You're missing so much by doing so.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on May 07, 2012
at 08:14 PM

There are endless "what ifs" out there. If you spend your life recoiling from each one, you're obviously going to live a stunted life. Like I said: arm yourself if that is the necessary precaution to make you feel comfortable - but realize that you're missing out on life if you go so far as to not do an activity or to feel as though you can't do an activity alone. Being alone in the wilderness is the most sacred and soul-rejuvenating thing I can imagine; it crushes me to imagine anyone letting society and the violent world that the news portrays to us, prevent them from experiencing that.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 07, 2012
at 09:12 PM

Where's the +1 Million button!! I LOVED traveling alone...no cell, no ipod, no "friends"...just me and my backpack and a once a month check of email. I have some of the most amazing stories, met some amazing people, and, yes, did it in some scary parts of the world. I carried no weapon, other than a confident attitude/swagger and direct eye contact, and only once was worried. I guess when you've discovered the KGB is following you, reading your emails, and probably has bugged your hotel, it puts a'whole'nuther spin on "scary".

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:57 PM

Consider the thread is about women hiking alone. When's the last time you heard about a grown man being kidnapped, rapped and murdered? Women have to take extra precautions, because (unfortunately) there are far too many men out there who are...(how do I put this kindly)...psycho nut jobs.

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on May 09, 2012
at 02:02 PM

Excellent point, but it's the occasional hair up on my neck in a way remote place- so I bring "tools" to up my comfort level accordingly.

2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

(328)

on May 09, 2012
at 03:00 PM

I don't think women necessarily have different risks when hiking. Attacks from a stranger are the least common danger when hiking. Falls, improper hydration and/or clothing, getting lost, and overextending yourself are far, far, far more common. These are dangers that apply to all people.

A97b68379a576dfa764a4828304d2efb

(4181)

on June 16, 2012
at 06:34 AM

But it really, really hurts when the trust you have in the world is violated.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on June 16, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Yeah, it does. And each person has to decide for themselves if they're more comfortable with a life of reservation, or of the inevitability of being hurt. I'm of the opinion that we are not breakable, and meeting and passing those bounds at which we imagine ourselves to be so - is one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves.

3
C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

on May 06, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Yes. With my friends Glock, Pitbull, and Knife. And being more fit than the bad guy. I'm not kidding.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 06, 2012
at 04:54 AM

LOL...You take a dog that is bred to be "people soft"?

C0fcb48d7da4f76fac17318efd2cd6b8

(4069)

on May 06, 2012
at 07:32 AM

You are absolutely right, but at least it's a big dog. And I trust that she would at the very least growl if she felt I was scared.

61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 09, 2012
at 12:40 PM

ha, I take my softie dog, too. An 80-lb goldendoodle is the biggest, least threatening ball of fur ever, but people are usually still wary of his size, even when he's straining to go play with them.

2
Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 06, 2012
at 08:18 AM

I do a lot of trail running, quite a bit of it alone. I've never thought twice about it, but then I live in Switzerland, and the trail I typically run is not very isolated, and all the dogs here are very well behaved. I always say hello as I run by other people. One time I saw a guy jerking off on the side of the trail (a different one) - but it was a really heavily trafficked trail area and I later spoke with a psychologist friend who said that those people don't usually pose a danger - for them the excitement is the thrill of doing it when they're likely to be seen. I just ran by and thought "yuck."

In the US depending on the area I would be more afraid of 1)dogs and 2) bears/cougars than people so I would probably carry mace or pepper spray.

Personally I think the best protection is to have a dog yourself. But you said your trail is in a dog-free zone, so I'd just carry pepper spray for the peace of mind, let someone know where you are and when you'll probably be back, carry a phone in case you get hurt, and enjoy being out in the great outdoors alone. It's a totally different feeling to being with other people.

Bf57bcbdc19d4f1728599053acd020ab

(5043)

on May 07, 2012
at 05:34 PM

Hey check this out, a woman who hiked the pacific crest trail ALONE to raise money for rape awareness after having been raped: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/fashion/a-hikers-guide-to-healing.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&smid=fb-kr (why this is in the fashion and style section is beyond me..)

782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

(5231)

on May 08, 2012
at 04:55 AM

Yeah, saw that. She met her now husband on the trail.

2
F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 06, 2012
at 03:36 AM

Yes, if I had at least ten handsome and fit bodyguards with me in tight jeans. Vicious barking trained pit bulls are optional.

Stay safe!!!

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 06, 2012
at 05:52 AM

Thank you for your comment. I prefer pugs myself :) But I doubt pugs look very ferociousness. I would stick with bodyguards. Tight jeans are a must though.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 06, 2012
at 04:57 AM

VB, there is a reason you don't see many Pit Bulls in Schutzhund...they don't work off of defense and those that are succeeding in protection work are doing it though positive (play) training methods. That being said, my brindle boy clears a pretty wide path in Oakland, where a White woman with a Pit Bull out ranks that baddest gang-banger.

2
Af939911afa817f79a4625d4f503c735

on May 06, 2012
at 02:45 AM

Arm yourself, let someone know exactly where you are and when you expect to return, and stay alert. Avoid the most remote and treacherous trails when hiking alone.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:51 PM

+1 Carry a firearm was my first thought. An unarmed woman who meets a male predator is a victim. An armed woman who meets a male predator is a survivor.

2
4b05d725a8332e8e917a4ca58b6e8a1e

(1239)

on May 05, 2012
at 11:02 PM

I used to hike alone all of the time when I lived in the mountains (though I did always carry bear spray). Was it the smartest idea? Of course not. I was young and foolhardy. Did I appreciate the experience? More than just about anything. The biggest risk to hiking alone as a woman isn't danger from other people, but danger from the wilderness. It sounds like your area is fairly populated, so you could flag down help if you needed it, but I would still always let someone know where you were headed and how long you expect to be gone if you insist on going it alone.

I'm much more safety conscious these days. I always take my Spot satellite, cell phone, and two big dogs when I'm in secluded hiking areas and when the husband can't come with me, which is rare.

2
7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on May 05, 2012
at 11:02 PM

For me it would really depend on the type of hiking. I would hike by myself in a city park like Forest Park (Portland, OR) during nice days on the weekend when I knew it would be well populated with families and such. I would hike with a big dog at less populated times. At a more remote hiking location, I wouldn't hike without other people, especially without a cell phone that had reception.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 05, 2012
at 11:10 PM

We have a Forest Park also. It gets clogged with strollers, though.

1
B9bd8147b335b83c4d34120a31edb06f

on January 04, 2013
at 09:23 AM

I've been hiking alone since I was 12. No weapons, cellphones etc.. So my answer is yes. I know I should start carrying mace or something, but for 8 years of hiking at least 3 times a week I've been fine. I really don't come across other people very often... that usually only happens when I'm not too far in. I also go off trail very often, but I go from mountain to mountain so I can see where I am, and I also know the bush like the back of my hand. Never been bothered by animals. And no I've never really felt scared out there. Not saying this is a safe way to go about things... just answering the question honestly.

B9bd8147b335b83c4d34120a31edb06f

(23)

on January 04, 2013
at 09:33 AM

Oops sorry, didn't realize this was an old question.

1
2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

on May 09, 2012
at 02:46 PM

I have and do hike alone. Mostly on the trails near my home. I generally carry my cell phone, and, depending on the location, some mace in case of aggressive dogs. Though, I've yet to meet one. However, I have done day hikes in Zion and the Grand Canyon alone. I try my best to be prepared and not make foolhardy mistakes, as I do with anything in life. Frankly, I feel more in danger of injury and death driving to the trailheads. I grew up in the wilderness, running around with my friends or by myself on no trails at all before cell phones were invented. This is not to say I'm immune from accidents. There are risks in anything we do, but knowledge, preparation, and understanding and abiding your limits are key.

1
61b801de5dc345b557cd4623d4a4f26b

(2682)

on May 09, 2012
at 12:52 PM

I love being out in nature on my own. The solitude is revitalizing and I need it for my own well-being.

Realize that hiking has risks, but so does everything else in life. Are you never going to drive again because you might get into an accident? Are you going to avoid lifting weights because it's possible you'll get hurt? Will you stay off city streets because someone might be considering stealing your purse? No. Bring your mace/knife/phone or whatever is appropriate for your situation and then enjoy yourself. Maybe even take a couple self-defense classes to build your confidence.

Exuding confidence is most important in my opinion. As others have said, your body language can sway a would-be attacker to decide it's just not worth it. Walk tall and with purpose. Acknowledge other people on the trail (nod, smile, say "hi," etc.). Take deep breaths and enjoy the fresh air. 8)

1
3b38bcc91dbfc6a114f4bdce544103d3

(409)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:00 AM

Alone is never a good idea, and its not only the lone male hiker I would worry but also a wild animal or and injury where on one finds you, but a wolf or something else hungery does. You leave yourself open to rapists or a murders by hiking alone. Many hide in the wilderness and will take an unsuspecting woman easily. Also you give them easier places to hide your body where it will never be found. Your family would never know what happened to you. Do you want to do that to them? You also leave your husband open to being a suspect to foul play if you do get upducted or murdered. Why would you want to do that to your family? If not for your own safety, than think about what going missing or worse would do to your friends and family members. Please use comment sense and DO NOT hike alone.

5c94900002a867dfa2a8fcd91a576c5e

(456)

on May 06, 2012
at 05:04 AM

Being a former wilderness guide and avid backpacker, I've spent my share of time alone in both popular hiking areas and secluded wilderness spots. After reading about the story that "127 Hours" was based on several years ago, I started making sure I remembered to tell at least two different people where I was going and carry a cell for emergencies (something I was very against before). But to let fear keep you from doing something you enjoy seems ridiculous to me. I know many more people who were attacked in their own homes than out in the wilderness.

3b38bcc91dbfc6a114f4bdce544103d3

(409)

on May 06, 2012
at 03:12 PM

No I read a lot and its on the news. I am just saying use common sense. She even states that she is "creeped out", do you think its her 6th sense kicking in and telling her she's being unsave. I sure do! I'm not saying it happens a lot, but it happens and if you feel "Creeped out" than bring your mace at the very least. Your mind picks up things subconsciously than you don't consciuosly. Listen to it.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:10 AM

Wow, you have an over active imagination! I backpacked all over the world and by FAR the most targeted for physical violence were single, tall, White males. Women were robbed, yes...but physical violence was much less likely. I found it strange, but after a while I understood that women were perceived as being vulnerable and therefore most men wanted to protect them not harm them.

Ca1150430b1904659742ce2cad621c7d

(12540)

on May 06, 2012
at 01:15 AM

Dia, I'm an ol' woman -- been round the block more than a few times, and I can honestly say that, in my experience, this much fear is entirely unwarranted, even for folk who tend to live more... exciting... lives. The biggest dangers in doing things alone in the world come from lack of preparation or not paying attention. Yes, sometimes bad things happen even when we ARE prepared -- but if you're well prepared and are in tune with your surroundings, even things like hiking alone can be done safely... probably about 98% of the time. No reason for so much fear.

Medium avatar

(4878)

on May 07, 2012
at 06:13 PM

CGnD, The media is an entertainment vehicle to sell ad space, NOT a source for accuracy. If you look at crime statistics, they are WAY down in the last 50 years, regardless of the picture the common media spews. That being said, I DO think one must listen to their instincts.

F1b39d4f620876330312f4925bd51900

(4090)

on May 07, 2012
at 09:29 PM

Or you could not hike, live your life in fear (and live for everyone else, so they can be happy that you are safe), and never get to do all the things men can do safely and take for granted. Granted the world is a scary place, but you cannot live in fear. Be prepared, and plan for emergency situations.

0
B7a89411152f94f00d691ba86688a8c1

on May 10, 2012
at 12:05 AM

You might want to look into joining a hiking group. If you go to a site like meetup.com you might be able to find others in your area that are into hiking.

0
Bdc6244bdbd664d2168a8e326018ffbe

(431)

on May 09, 2012
at 08:15 PM

Totally. But bring your cell phone and mace. Without a cell phone...I probably wouldn't go. This falls clearly to me into the camp of things-you-shouldn't-let-fear-dictate, even though its certainly not groundless.

0
3ab63fb5ddb0180f2ebb077c487fbbc4

on May 09, 2012
at 01:27 PM

I think for me It is not so much about fear but a healthy respect for both nature and the risks it can carry as well as the vast variety of people that exist. As a Mother and a wife that healthy respect for the unknown makes me choose to enjoy the freedom of nature with some protective measures in place. I have pepper spray that attaches right to my keyring, I wouldnt leave my keys in my car anyway so its not anything extra for me to carry. I also keep my phone with me, but turned on silent. Most importantly though As somebody who has been a victim of a violent sexual assault I know my most important tool is to be prepared to defend myself. I think every woman should take a self-defense course, It is a very powerful feeling to know you could kick ass if you needed to.

0
C3c364b31f1f1db705658f754ebaebec

on May 06, 2012
at 06:35 PM

It's unlikely that anything will happen - but it only takes once, doesn't it? Even if the odds are 1000 to 1, someone ends up being that person. You don't have to be overly anxious and fearful - you should just be taking precautions to tip the odds in your favor if ever the worst possible thing does happen. Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

For example, you should ideally have some way of getting in contact with someone if you need help. A cell phone would solve this problem. Even a walkie talkie, maybe? A way to protect yourself would also be smart - whether it be a big dog, mace, a metal rod... Just something that can give you a way escape in the event of a predator - human or wild animal.

Keep going on your walks - they sound awesome. Just be smart about it, and don't put yourself in a position where you end up regretting not spending the time/money to plan ahead.

Cfdbf3485f0bac5895f86d74afd9fac0

(98)

on May 07, 2012
at 07:18 AM

but if the odds are 1000 to 1, 999 are scared for no reason. I bring my cell phone, I have a GPS and spare batteries with me. but I refuse to be afraid of every man I might come across.

11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on May 07, 2012
at 08:02 PM

If there was a way to predict which was the 1 and which was the 999, then your argument would make sense, but you don't know in advance. It's the same reason you wear a seat belt every time you drive a car. 999 out of 1,000 trips it does nothing more than than to wrinkle your clothing, but the 1 trip you need it---you really need it. The only way to ensure you have it the 1 time you need it, is to wear it all the time (even on the trips it turns out you didn't need it).

0
Be56644053fe0fdefc7deeb541aea048

on May 06, 2012
at 01:37 PM

I live in the woods of NH and I hike every morning on the trails behind my house. Everyone asks me if I'm afraid or if I carry a gun...no. I have one large dog and two small ones and we love it out there so much! I finally broke down and bought pepper spray but forget to bring it half the time. However, when going on different trails I find I'm a bit more anxious alone. I still bring my large dog but don't forget my pepper spray. While I never used to worry about running into people, I've found I see more and more in our area. Of course they are just out enjoying the views as much as I am, but you never know! I've seen several bear but they seriously never get close; we have black bear around here and they'd rather avoid you all together. Dogs help though!

I don't have a lot of hiking mates, so I'd end up sitting home alone if I didn't strike out on my own. I just figure out a way to go that makes me feel safe!

-1
3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:01 AM

Not all men want to rape you.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:20 AM

Um, yes, they do.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on May 06, 2012
at 12:53 AM

If I could down vote you more than once I would. So nice to be reminded yet again that misogyny is alive and well here at PH.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!