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Women Hikers!

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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby markskor » Thu Jan 08, 2015 12:09 am

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.
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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:


Sometimes she has to work so I go hiking with my two "other" girls instead.


This year I also hiked with Oleander and Brenda, both were very enjoyable hiking/climbing partners! :thumbsup:



In summary, as a guy (even though you didn't ask us) I prefer to hike with women.


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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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.

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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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:
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby jessegooddog » Thu Jan 08, 2015 7:27 pm

A few friends have offered to backpack with me or suggested I join a group, but I love the solitude and am a very slow hiker, so I always go solo, although with my Freddog. I have not yet met anyone on the trail who gave me cause for concern. On my first backpack after 35 years I wondered how I would feel by myself in the dark, but I simply went to sleep enjoying the feeling of being alone in the world. But my silly shepherd/lab mix who is great on the trail gets nervous in the tent!!
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby jenreyn » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:29 am

Being a female backpacker that almost exclusively does cross country overnight trips, I found this thread interesting. I have gotten some of the remarks others have mentioned in regards to being "alone" on trail. When off trail I don't generally see others and if I do they are always really nice and cordial. I honestly enjoy hiking with one other person when in country that is very remote as I feel safer in case of injury and I think having another perspective is good to have when problem solving terrain choice, etc. Above all, I enjoy sharing these experiences with someone else. I have gone out solo because of plans falling through and having the time to go. I have enjoyed myself, although as stated above I enjoy the company of a good friend or adventure "partner." Another interesting thing I run into is being in my early thirties, most of my friends male or female are not really interested in traveling far into the backcountry to explore and walk through the wilds of the Sierra. It seems that the culture in my circle of friends is more focused on just rock climbing or alpine climbing and some of the attitude is "why would you just walk somewhere when there isn't a peak/climb to conquer?" It seems a bit odd to me to have such a narrow point of view even though I am a climber at heart. I also have never had a female companion that is willing to accompany me into some of the places I am willing to travel off trail. This past year a girlfriend of mine did an easier section of the SHR that I had covered the previous summer. However, I consider some sections of the SHR not that "remote" considering how many people travel it today and the general easy cross country travel that it presents. My "go to" partner is male and in his mid forties as my boyfriend is also a climber and doesn't really enjoy backpacking so much. I was able to get my boyfriend to accompany me this past summer to the Great Western Divide for a cross country trip and also up Arrow Peak in August. I think he is just now starting to see some of the potential "fun" there is to be had in the backcountry but I don't think he will ever be a full convert. I think it would be really fun to travel with another female cross country since we could relate on some things and laugh about the trials and tribulations of what we are getting ourselves into.
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby Hobbes » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:38 am

I've actually had a few reverse experiences where the tables have been mentally turned. In all cases, it was a local climber/runner/(off season) skier from one of the east-side towns (usually Mammoth) out doing their thing either alone, with a friend and/or boyfriend.

So, while I'm huffing, puffing, sweating and taking it pretty conservative, I've run into trail runners, climbers and hikers looking like they could out-hike, out-run and out-sketch me any day of the week, while doing it with style & skill.
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby SSSdave » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:54 am

Nice thread that shows the value of this board.

mahjzha >>> "...There is always more to learn! I am really interested in doing more off-trail hiking, but feel uncomfortable doing it alone..."

David > I usually don't mind having others tag along independently on my trips especially if they are willing to hike slowly at my pace, take frequent breaks, and can make some intelligent conversation. Especially if that includes talking about natural things seen along trails and routes as my photographers eyes are forever surveying everything by habit and am a long time study of natural sciences. I prefer relaxed emotionally calm people and have a low threshold for the obnoxious.

AlmostThere >>> "...In any case, there are lots of groups out there that are women specific - just a google away."

David > Indeed would particularly recommend looking at the numbers of backpacking and hiking groups on http://www.meetup.com. I have been a member of numbers of those groups and participated in group hiking activities but not yet backpacking. Might try and get some others together for a short local trip into Coe State Park this spring because the mountain lions there make for creepy nights if solo.

Wandering Daisy >>> "...I have had a lot of women tell me that they day hike because they want to get clean and have that hot shower at the end of each day. I just have to convince them that they can still be clean if willing to jump in a cold lake at the end of the day... Sorry guys, bears are more scary.

David > Of course never going into cold mountain water is true for many men too so not a gender thing. Something I poke fun at on web boards whenever I get a chance. Once I've taught others on trips how to perform a fast 5 to 10 second dip in cold water almost none go back to reveling in lame statements like "...been out here 7 days now without a shower and don't mind being dirty, stinky, itchy, grubby."

Waking up in the middle of a dark forest on moonless nights hearing branches crackling while something is walking nearby is about the creepiest thing I can imagine that makes every ancient human spirit inside this mind of mine spooked.

Oleander >>> "...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...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."

David > Since the ratio of inexperienced hikers on thru trails is obviously higher than elsewhere in the backcountry, that is not surprising. Thus correlation more to do with level of experience than gender.

KathyW >>> "...I've never been bothered by anyone in the wilderness and I'm solo most of the time."

David > One August day years ago Kathy was moving down switchbacks solo below Bishop Pass while I was solo on my way up. A rockfall had just rumbled making a cloud of dust up in the Jigsaw talus. On greeting we recognized each other's board names then had a nice minute or so cordial conversation and were on our ways.

jenreyn >>> "...I honestly enjoy hiking with one other person when in country that is very remote as I feel safer in case of injury and I think having another perspective is good to have when problem solving terrain choice, etc. Above all, I enjoy sharing these experiences with someone else."

David > Quiet agree with that wisdom and I too though comfortable solo given a choice prefer others.
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