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Women Hikers!

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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby 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/

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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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby Tollermom » Sat Jan 10, 2015 8:56 pm

I am almost 60 and just started backpacking the past 3 years. Have only been on 6 trips so far, one of them a solo (but the solo was to Round Lake on Luther Pass so not really alone per se). I much prefer the company of a buddy to being alone, but have been known to hike by myself if a girlfriend wasn't available. I have been gaining a bit more confidence (hiking Whitney in a day did wonders for my esteem) so I would not be opposed to going out overnight again alone. I prefer to do a bit of reconn on a hike first before going out to spend the night just so I am somewhat familiar with the territory. I carry a SPOT also.
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jan 10, 2015 10:40 pm

Realistically, six trips is pretty "newbie" for going solo. I did not start going solo until the last 10 years (out of nearly 50 years of backpacking!). And I still prefer a good hiking partner - problem is finding that perfect fit. It used to be my husband, but health problems have prevented him from backpacking the way we used to. I define "solo" as not meeting people on a daily basis. Nobody truly goes "solo" on the JMT or other popular trails, where everyone is in sort of a loose unorganized ever-changing "group". Even very experienced backpackers have to accept more risk when going truly solo. Beginners usually are dealing with about as much risk as they can handle even with a group. I am not an advocate of beginners going solo, women and men too.
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Re: Women Hikers/SPOT Device

Postby bravefanla » Sun Jan 11, 2015 8:00 am

Hobbes,
Thanks for responding to my question about the SPOT Device and for the link. Think I'll take the plunge.
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby Jimr » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:15 pm

Bravefan,
There are several options available. There are several threads on the subject in HST. Here's one.
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=10201#sthash.U9wStdjG.dpbs
What?!
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby llamalynn » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:18 am

I slipped in some mud and sprained my ankle last summer in Matterhorn Canyon, 20 miles from the nearest trailhead. I took some Advil, wrapped it, and waited an hour but still couldn't put any weight on it. I was carrying the Delorme Inreach and called for help. YOSAR (Yosemite Search and Rescue) sent a helicopter in less than an hour, but they spent the entire hour asking me questions. When the EMTs arrived they said it was great to have all the info before they arrived so they knew to look for the blue tarp, that it wasn't life threatening, but that they needed the stretcher etc. I'll never hike again without my Delorme Inreach. I am a 62 year old woman who tries to go out every weekend from May through October (unless the snow comes early), and also take 2 or 3 week long trips every summer. But after the sprained ankle I couldn't do my planned 12 day trip last summer, so I can't wait for this summer. I have a bad back and can't lift over 5 lbs, so I bought some llamas to carry the weight because I couldn't bear to give up the wilderness.
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Re: Women Hikers!

Postby Teresa Gergen » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:42 am

I climb a lot of mountains, probably about 90-95% of them solo. I'm 50. I didn't start climbing until I was in my mid-30s. The climbing sometimes involves backpacking, sometimes for 7-10 day trips. When it doesn't, I sleep in my car and day-climb for days, weeks, and sometimes, since retirement, months on end, almost always alone. Because my purpose is to climb, and most of the peaks are obscure, and I'm out on weekdays, and I'm usually hiking and camping well off-trail, I almost never run into anyone else.

I have been a soloist from the start. I put together teams for technical ascents, but otherwise only occasionally climb with friends whose climbing agendas coincide with mine. Having a strong peakbagging agenda and having much more spare time than my climbing friends has probably been crucial to my development as a soloist. Being a loner by nature, I never feel any sense of "loneliness" when I'm out. I'm just as alone when I'm at home, and just as happy about it.

I climb year-round, and although I've done less of it in recent years, my solo time includes winter camping and snowshoeing in Colorado's serious powder snow, unlike anything I've seen in CA, to reach peaks.

I have a lot of endurance, but have never been strong as a backpacker or highly skilled as a climber. I'm 5'3" and run about 117-125 lbs. I have always had respiratory issues and at this point have severely compromised lungs. So I just do everything slowly.

When I do run into others, usually before I leave a trail to head off cross-country to a peak, I have heard every possible comment over the years about my being alone and being female, especially since I'm huffing and puffing and appear to be weak. In Colorado, it has become less common in more recent years to find men who are surprised by it.

I don't think to be afraid, I guess, but sure, things happen while you're out that cause you to be afraid at the moment. They would happen if I was male too, and would happen whether I was alone or with others.

The Delorme InReach SE is much superior to the Spot Messenger, and I always carry it.
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