Women Hikers!

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KathyW
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by KathyW » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:14 pm

I'd prefer to be thought of as a backpacker and not a "female" backpacker. I've never been bothered by anyone in the wilderness and I'm solo most of the time.

I would find it annoying to have the word "woman" put in front of my title at work, and I see no need to have someone point out that I'm female when I'm backpacking.








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b_k
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by b_k » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:36 pm

I usually backpack by myself because I have a flexible work schedule and few compatriots who can comfortably do the mileage I want to do. When I first started out about 6 years ago, I hiked more popular trails like the JMT, figuring they were a good way to ease in, with more potential support in case of an emergency. I'll never forgot the first night I camped without anyone else around- it's amazing what your mind can conjure up when you hear rustling in the dark.

My wintertime solution is snowcamping, because I can experience the mountains in a totally different way and not have to wait until the snow melts to put my pack back on. The SF Sierra Club chapter runs a training series (http://www.snowcamping.org/snowcamping" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) that I highly recommend. Otherwise, I run, swim and do long day hikes/overnights below the snow line.

I rarely meet other women hiking sola, but love trading notes when I do. Like how annoying is it when guys (mostly) on the trail assume you're not by yourself but just lagging behind a hiking partner!

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RoguePhotonic
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by RoguePhotonic » Wed Jan 07, 2015 6:03 pm

The PCT is a bit different. Plenty of woman take to the trail solo but in cases of both men and woman few solo PCT hikers stay solo for very long. You end up meeting someone you get along with and hike the rest of the way together. I think the majority of the PCTers I meet have this same story.

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rlown
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by rlown » Wed Jan 07, 2015 8:36 pm

oleander wrote:This summer, I met and got to know a woman who was hiking the length of the JMT by herself.

One thing she did share, is that everybody thought she must be with a group. "Hey, you're almost there...Your group is at the pass, just 10 minutes up!" (Referring to another group of women, up the ways a bit.) She said that was irritating to her. As were these very common questions:

"Oh my god...Are you out here ALONE!" (Usually followed by, "That's amazing!" - she found that mildly condescending - as if it would be a feat for a woman to accomplish the JMT alone, but not so much a feat for a man.)

Or:

"So you must have been inspired by Cheryl Strayed's book - Is that what got you out here?" This REALLY got her goat. She's been hiking for many years, long before the Strayed book came out.

I thought her experience was interesting, because people almost never say these things to me when I'm hiking solo. Maybe because I look a little older than her; and avoid the JMT Highway, where these sorts of questions and attitudes evidently pop up with some frequency.

I do really hate the occasional, "Good job!" That is something I expect someone to say to a child. When I hear it, it sounds like the person thinks I am on my first-ever hike, and therefore didn't expect me to...(fill in the blank: Hike so fast; hike effortlessly; hike so far; navigate off-trail; reach such a remote location; figure things out by myself).

The best compliment to a solo woman hiker is total nonchalance. Like, of course she is Superwoman...No comment necessary.

- Elizabeth
I just say "hi." Not everyone on trail understands the equality. dunno why. Might depend on age and understanding. It's not a defamation, if someone says "good job." unless, Maybe they are just idiots. Don't assume we're all pigs. If you're out there and doing it, there is respect from those who know what it takes. Yep, those who are new, maybe pigs.

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markskor
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by markskor » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:09 am

Thoughts:
I too hold the opinion that there is no appreciable difference among the sexes... Re - solo backpackers. We have many capable members, both men and women, here at HST...maybe a few more males but... As previously stated, once that proficient "aura" thing is achieved, who really gives a rat's bass? (FYI, recently I have been hiked into the ground/passed by both sexes, and I hate being passed be either sex - equally.)

Respectfully, what I do take offense at is why any backpacking women would take umbrage if a male member happens to state "Good job" to a woman, as if that was some direct slight on her sex or abilities. If all here want to be considered as solo hiking equals, (and indeed we all are in the back-country), would someone like our own Rogue be offended if a woman (or man) stated the same thing to him? I think he would just laugh. (Maybe insert something here about some needing to grow a thicker skin?)

Additionally, often when solo, miles in, I too pass by groups wondering/asking me - "Oh my god...Are you out here ALONE!" (Usually followed by, "That's amazing!") ..."and she found that mildly condescending"...why?
As a male old fart, I never feel annoyed at this; instead I usually feel a sense of pride...(If one can do it ...well - some can/most can't)... who cares what sex is under all that trail dirt?

Finally, I do not understand why "The best compliment to a solo woman hiker is total nonchalance." ...Why cannot someone be impressed (and say so) to anyone doing any tough route? If we are equals, why should there be any difference?

just my 2¢ and I could be wrong...again.
Mountainman who swims with trout

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Vaca Russ
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by Vaca Russ » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:22 am

mahjzha wrote: I would be interested in hearing more from other women that backpack. There is always more to learn! I am really interested in doing more off-trail hiking, but feel uncomfortable doing it alone - if I have an accident (potential increasing along with my age!) there is no help readily available. Do you also have a difficult time finding people to go with or do you go it alone? If you go off-trail what safety precautions do you take? What is your biggest challenge as a woman backpacker? Mine is staying in shape over the winter so that I can backpack in the summer!!!
The OP directed her question to the women on board. So, of course, all of us guys think it is about us! :D :lol: :nod:

Many of you may not know this, but...I usually hike with a woman. :) I prefer her company. She is much less competitive than many guys...plus...there are other benefits! :nod:
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Sometimes she has to work so I go hiking with my two "other" girls instead.
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This year I also hiked with Oleander and Brenda, both were very enjoyable hiking/climbing partners! :thumbsup:
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In summary, as a guy (even though you didn't ask us) I prefer to hike with women.

JMHO,

-Russ
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RoguePhotonic
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by RoguePhotonic » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:33 am

I think I quite often get the comments about me hiking alone especially with cross country. I often get the good job and good for you comments. But I guess it can be placed in a completely different context when your out for months rather than doing what everyone else is.

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oleander
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by oleander » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:12 pm

Well, if you guys are receiving the "You're out here ALONE!" and "Good job!" comments too, then it was my bad to assume that they are just a sexist thing aimed only at the ladies.

In fact, one of the very best things about the wilderness is that it is the great "leveler" - everyone is equal out there. If you meet someone out on a pass, generally nobody cares if you are a doctor or are homeless, rich or poor, formally educated or not, gay or straight, male or female. People seem to respect skills, and friendliness, rather than whatever status you might happen to have back at home.

Fortunately, the men who treat women like we're stupid are rarities, and are almost never encountered in remote, less-trampled, and off-trail settings. (Still, it's an unpleasant shock when that does happen.)

The respect that people have for women here on HST (and at HST get-togethers!) rings loud and clear.

- Elizabeth

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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by Cross Country » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:16 pm

Back in the 70´s and before I met ¨saint¨ Diane I had 3 excellent experiences and several good ones with women I met while on a BP trip. To me women backpackers are really great people.

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Jimr
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by Jimr » Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:52 pm

"If you meet someone out on a pass, generally nobody cares if you are a doctor or are homeless...."

We all smell homeless, anyway :soapbox:
“Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.”

-John Adams

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