Women Hikers!

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jessegooddog
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by 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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jenreyn
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by 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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Hobbes
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by 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!

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. 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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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by dbogey » Fri Jan 09, 2015 12:22 pm

Not a woman here but wanted to chime in. By all means get out and hike if your female and don't be afraid. I did the North/South lake loop solo last year and as I was coming down bishop pass ( it was rain, hail and snow) i ran into an elderly woman who was carrying a pretty expensive dslr camera. An avid photog myself I inquired about her gear and what she was planning on doing. She told me she was trying to get over to Barret Lakes and since i was in that area a few years ago I helped her with her route over the saddle. Come to find out after some more chatting she was going to setup base camp and peakbag some of the peaks in that area all alone. I was jealous and only hope i can do that at her age.

I'm humbled by some of the women on this forum for what they've accomplished in terms of hiking. As prior military and a mentality that nothing is impossible I have the utmost respect for them and have taken their advise on routes a few times without question.
Just another day in paradise

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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by jenreyn » Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:20 pm

Hobbes, I'm probably one of those "Mammoth locals" that you encountered on the trail.....Yes there are locals getting out a lot on day hikes, trail runs, etc in style but as said before I haven't met many ladyfolk here in town that wish to go places such as Tehipite Valley via xc say from Bishop nor down the Enchanted Gorge, Tunemah, etc and out for more than a night or two.....and solo.....not at all. It seems that more of the women I meet solo are actually a bit older and not in my age bracket. Its actually quite inspiring to say the least :)

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Thebrenner
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by Thebrenner » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:08 pm

I'm a 50 something woman and have been camping, hiking and backpacking my entire life. I went on my first solo camping trip when I was 17 and my first solo backpack in my early 20's. In my 30's and 40's I routinely spent 6 weeks in the Sierra kayaking and car camping down remote, middle of no where bumpy dirt road places. I have day hiked all over the Sierra. In my mid 40's I started backpacking again. After I hiked the JMT in 2011...the BIG SNOW year...as part of a trio...I was hooked again on backpacking. I started hiking solo because I knew I could and I wasn't afraid. I hike solo more often than not. And I enjoy it. I like to go on the trail less traveled.
When I meet other backpackers the conversation goes something like this....."you all alone? Really? Wow, good for you. How long you out for...wow, 10 days...don't you get lonely, scared? Wow, I should try that sometime.........."

Yes, sometimes I get scared....I'm human.....but usually it's my imagination that scares me. Lonely? Sure I have moments of loneliness, but they pass or I meet someone on the trail and stop and chat.

I like going solo because if I want to spend the afternoon swimming in the lake, or starring at a flower for an hour I can. If I want to get up early and be on the trail at 6 I can. If I want to stop and eat dinner at 4, I do. I also like the silence and the thoughts that turn up in my head, the problem solving, the creative brainstorming and of course the feelings of self sufficiency.

I carry a SPOT, wear a road ID bracelet, leave a Reconn form on the dashboard of my car. My family and friends have the Reconn form as well and one friend has all the instructions of who to call if I don't check in by the pre-arranged time. I am careful out on the trail and I also know this is not fool proof and that the possibility of injury is there...but I cannot let that keep me at home.
There are trails to hike, lakes to swim, meadows to wander, sunrises to inspire, dirt to be had, and I want to see it all.

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bravefanla
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by bravefanla » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:48 am

I'll chime in.

To begin.....sorry Rogue but after seeing the pic you posted I would've slept in the cold as well :)

I've ran into quite a few solo women hikers (one last year in fact) My friend and I ran into her just down the trail from Charlotte Lake as she was doing the JMT and was about to go over Forrester Pass. She was the one to stop and ask us about the trail and if we'd been over the pass.

You can tell if someone knows what they're doing by sizing them, and their gear, up. This young lady was a pro and oozed confidence. I remember that she mentioned that she had been seeing the same people on the trail, much like PCT'ers do, so that probably gave her some piece of mind.

My only concern with solo hiking (male or female) is what to do in case of injury. I'm an EMT and an RN and I pack a fair amount of relevant medical supplies. It's not the initial care for whatever may happen, because I think I have that covered, rather the rescue if one is necessary.

That stated, I've been looking at the SPOT device and would like feedback from anyone who has used it in the Sierras. I got a $200 dollar gift card from REI for Christmas and it's screaming out to be used....and yes, I will enter REI thru HST as I (most often) always do:)

So, to all the women solo hikers out there keep hitting the trail and if you run into guys who look as scary as Rogue....or me for that matter, please know that it's only the environment that makes us look that way and we would all, platonically, share our hut with you if necessary:)

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RoguePhotonic
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by RoguePhotonic » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:12 pm

Lol I would argue that it's not just the environment that makes me look scary. I'll maintain my opinion that any girl deserves better than to be with someone that looks like me regardless of what anyone says until the day I die! :p

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Hobbes
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Re: Women Hikers!

Post by Hobbes » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:59 pm

bravefanla wrote:IThat stated, I've been looking at the SPOT device and would like feedback from anyone who has used it in the Sierras.
DeLorme InReach:
http://www.delorme.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Got it last year for the meet-up. My wife loves getting periodic messages (eg cleared the pass, having lunch, fishing, having dinner, etc). Since it's two way, she can send messages back. Of course, the 2-way is really meant for confirming an emergency beacon, but the ride-on effect allows for recurring contact with the better half.

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