Women who hike...and the men who fear them | High Sierra Topix  

Women who hike...and the men who fear them

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Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby balzaccom » Wed Jan 16, 2013 4:31 pm

Yes, it’s different. When we hike in the Sierra, we don’t see many couples hiking together. We see a lot of men, and a few groups of women. But plain old couples like us, not so much.

And it’s funny what happens when all those men see M on the trail. P tends to hike a little faster than M, so he usually greets these hikers first. They are perfectly happy to be seen resting on the side of the trail while P hikes up and past them. All is well in the world until M comes around the corner. The minute they see the lovely M hiking along, they make a great struggle to get going again. They jump to their feet, hoist up their packs, give a few grunts, and push themselves up the trail.

So now we are hiking along the trail, P in front, and a group of guys who are just killing themselves to keep up, and M hiking merrily behind them all. The only problem is, they often can’t keep up the pace. And so, slowly and inexorably, M passes them by. Her only hope is that they don’t die of a heart attack while she does so. They gasp and wheeze, sweat and groan. M smiles sweetly at them. Well, sometimes she does.

They just don’t want to admit that a woman might hike faster than they do—especially a woman of a certain age. (And no, we are not disclosing proprietary information. Let’s just that we’ve been married well over thirty years, and neither of us is in the bloom of youth.)

It’s true that there are a lot of people who hike faster than we do. We’re happy to let them walk on by. And we admit that we often have an advantage, as our packs are certainly lighter than a lot of the packs that we see on the trail. It’s always easier to climb up a pass with 25 pounds than with 45 pounds. Or sixty.

But none of that matters to those guys when M appears on the trail.

Go figure.
Balzaccom

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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby RoguePhotonic » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:44 pm

I've never understood the need to be better at anything then anyone else. The only line I draw between men and woman is I believe woman are superior than men in every way. Other then that it's all meaningless to me.

When people leave me in the dust on the trail I think it's great. If it's a woman it's even better.

I do find it a bit comical that I can identify if a hiker is male or female from hundreds of yards away. I can't explain what I mean but there is something different about the way that men and woman carry themselves as they walk. It stands out to me immediately.
Last edited by RoguePhotonic on Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:13 pm

I hesitate to sterotype this behavior. I think competative people come in all sizes, shapes and genders! I hate to "leap-frog" with person(s) who hike nearly my pace, so often I will jump ahead and really push it for about half an hour, just to get some distance between us to avoid the leap-frog thing. How fast anyone hikes has a lot to do with the weight of their pack and how aclimated they are. At the end of the High Rotue, I was really truck'n along and passed two young fellows who were visibly irritated! Had they met me earlier in my trip, they would have been miles ahead of me, as I struggled extremely the first week of my trip. Sometimes the competativeness is useful -occasionally I am slow because I am burned out mentally, and then if someone passes me, it gets me motivated to move faster again. I think anyone who has done long trips is aware that your motivation waxes and wanes.

Rogue- I really notice the difference in "gait" between men and women on the bicycle trail. Men appear to be very bow-legged, and women knock-kneed. Yup, we are built differently.
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby Strider » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:33 am

I only had one instance where I ran into a competitive hiker. Once hiking up to granite basin a 20-year-old passed me about 3/4 of the way to the top and said in passing "You had 20 minutes on me!" I yelled up after him "You have 20 years on me!"
'Hike long and perspire'
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competitive hikers of either gender

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:09 pm

I have certainly encountered amusing and annoying competitive hikers in the backcountry. I don't recall anyone blowing past me and/or my group and making sport of it , but I've been stuck behind guys who wouldn't "pull over" because they didn't want to be passed. This happened on trails where there was no room to pass them, so it was much like being stuck behind a driver on a mountain road who won't use turnouts. In one case Judy and I were stuck behind this guy on the Pine Creek trail who was so determined not to let us pass that he left his partner a mile behind him before he finally capitulated.

Whereas the above competitive behavior did not appear to be obviously connected to any sort of gender rivalry, the most intense gender-based competitive response I've ever seen, was from Judy, my wife. Judy didn't care whether male hikers on trail were faster than her, but she certainly wanted to be the fastest woman. Now, she wouldn't have refused to pull over, as those guys we encountered did, but no woman ever gained on her from behind so this wasn't an issue. If she saw another woman ahead of her on the trail, she would pick up the pace to make sure the target was vaporized efficiently and then go longer than usual before the next rest stop to be assured we wouldn't be repassed while resting.

Her most spectacular performance was off trail between Davis Lakes and Evolution. While at Davis Lakes two female backpackers came by and chatted briefly with us. They were quite friendly, but Judy was decidedly brief with them. "Where in Evolution are you planning to stay this evening?" they asked. "We haven't decided yet" said Judy, curtly, even though she was well aware that we were very much intending to stay at the unnamed lake btw Wanda and Sapphire (perhaps this was truthful to the extent we didn't know exactly where we'd camp in the vicinity of that lake). In any case the two women were well ahead of us at the inlet to Davis Lakes when we left our lunch and fishing (unsuccessful) spot along the shore of the lake. Above the outlet was a moderately long stretch of boulder hopping. Although a great scrambler (and utterly fearless on class 3) and, obviously, a supremely strong hiker, Judy hated boulder hopping and she tended to go really slow over them. This time was an exception, to be sure. She seemed to fly over those boulders and whizzed by the two backpackers. By the time we crested out, they were distant colored dots in the boulders below. We never saw them again.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby rlown » Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:22 pm

I've never cared about that. I hike my own hike. Set meet up points with fellow hikers, but it's been clear that there is no competition. We all have good and bad hiking days. Off trail when others don't really know where we're going I will try to make sure everyone is in sight of everyone else, and try to reinforce that behavior.

I've leaped frogged with a couple from Sebastopol last Sept up to Piute pass. Got to meet with them several times and it was very pleasant. The wife was the leader, and the husband just got all new gear (wife picked it out), so we had a great time talking.

We all met up at the pass and that was when i learned they only live 25 miles from me. They were doing the North-South loop.

Seeing someone come up the trail doesn't make me move any faster. I can only do what i can do.
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear FOR them

Postby BakoGal » Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:05 am

I hike mostly solo and frequently, when encountering others in groups, am greeted by, "You're by yourself? You're so brave! Aren't you scared?" I've always wondered if solo male hikers get the same thing ???
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby RoguePhotonic » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:41 am

"You're by yourself? You're so brave! Aren't you scared?" I've always wondered if solo male hikers get the same thing ???


People will say i'm brave or foolish. Scared mostly will play into people who think you need to carry a gun to fight off the boggieman :bear: :snipe:

I get asked more often if I get lonely.
Last edited by RoguePhotonic on Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby Rockchucker » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:39 am

I find it amazing people of today's age can and will put some into catigories. We should be well past bigotry. Kind of sad. Sometimes I wonder how far have we evolved, some great leaps foward only to step back.
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jan 29, 2013 2:28 pm

Rogue, being lonely has little to do with the number of people you see each day. For me being lonely has more to do with being in a place I do not want to be. I honestly do not get lonely in the mountains. I am perfectly happy seeing a few good people for a few hours about once a week. I think that classifies me far to the "introvert" end of the spectrum from introvert to extrovert. (OK, I agree that I am putting people into boxes). I remember as a small child, taking my little red wagon out into an acre of trees near my house and being happy as a lark sitting there all day, alone, pretending I was going across the country in a covered wagon!

Being around people stresses me after a while and I go to the mountians to get away from people - specifically to be alone!

I think sterotyping others is sort of hard wired into us. I try really hard not to sterotype "man" and "women" behavior, but slip into it at times. I am always pleased when someone I meet proves my initial sterotyping is wrong. Sometimes I find myself seeing a man on the trail and pre-judge the poor fellow and assume he is going to be condenscending to me. Then he turns out to be just the opposite and busts my myth. I have to bite my tongue when I have an urge to be condenscending to young newbies. I was one of them once! I give advise on the trail when asked, otherwise keep my trap shut and smile.
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:10 pm

Rockchucker wrote:I find it amazing people of today's age can and will put some into catigories. We should be well past bigotry. Kind of sad. Sometimes I wonder how far have we evolved, some great leaps foward only to step back.


try being "female" on a forum some time.

I get interestingly variable responses before I out myself as female.

I am afraid we are still socialized this way... working with kids you can see them cataloging girl vs boy toys, behavior, etc from a very early age.
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Re: Women who hike...and the men who fear them

Postby Rockchucker » Tue Jan 29, 2013 3:39 pm

AlmostThere wrote:
Rockchucker wrote:I find it amazing people of today's age can and will put some into catigories. We should be well past bigotry. Kind of sad. Sometimes I wonder how far have we evolved, some great leaps foward only to step back.


try being "female" on a forum some time.

I get interestingly variable responses before I out myself as female.

I am afraid we are still socialized this way... working with kids you can see them cataloging girl vs boy toys, behavior, etc from a very early age.

Yea I guess but I feel like the move towards social equality moves at a snails pace. We humans are smarter than this. All forms of prejudging are indication of ignorance. Not that we don't all fall victim to labeling. But most recognize this as wrong. Trying not to involve politics, but this system we currently live with seems to perpetuate these stereo types. As a father I hope to show my son how incredible this world is. To waste what small time we have hateing. Maybe silly for me to believe but I do think it is us, the parents that will change this. It must be instilled to the youth by us the teachers, parents, mentors. It's beyond time for this to stop. People are people!
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