Trust Your Instincts

I have always been a very trusting person.  Looking for and expecting the best from everyone.  Of course I have been disappointed on occasion, but I forgive and move on.  Once in a while a person or situation will not feel right, from a small sense of apprehension to full out hair standing up on the back of my neck.  In those situations my initial reaction is to tell myself I am being silly-but lately I have started paying more attention to what is causing these feelings.

In my opinion women are in a different situation than men alone in the woods.  Sure the weather, animals, and even physical challenges are the same.  But, like it or not, woman (again my opinion) are at a higher risk from assault by fellow humans…  We are typically smaller and physically weaker than our male counterparts.

Here are just a few ideas for the guys out there of things NOT TO DO if you don’t want to creep out your fellow female hikers:

  1. Don’t misinterpret politeness with romantic interest.  I know this is a tough one guys, but being nice is often just being nice…
  2. Don’t tell her stories of previous conquests or scary encounters, such as ‘and then they dragged me off her and hauled me to jail!’
  3. Don’t ask her what she is carrying for protection– This one is from personal experience, maybe I am a little biased, BUT- super creepy question….

And a few ideas for the women out there:

  1. Be Direct. Don’t be so polite.  This is one of the hardest things for me.  Sometimes we just need to say-I am not interested leave me alone.  It feels so harsh, but it can be necessary.
  2. Take a self-defense course. Did you know that just carrying yourself with confidence makes you less likely to become a victim?
  3. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your intuition. If a situation doesn’t feel right hike faster, slow down, or stay with a group.  Report any incidents to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the police.

So after all this is said, I am still the eternal optimist.  I still expect the best intentions from people.  I believe in the goodness of humanity.  This belief is being buoyed by the trail community and offers of trail magic and I am not even on the trail yet.

Maybe the most important thing for all of us, men and women, is to show each other respect and trust your instincts…

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Comments 1

  • Mary bunner : Jan 29th

    I’ve had two experiences one when someone was creeping thru our primative campsite at 2 am and another when we heard liw disturbing conversation behind us on a wilderness trail..just listen and be aware of your souroundings at all times..don’t feel silly taking action..we ducked down a small path and hunkered behind a large rock..after talking with others on the trail…with a dog..our suspicions were confirmed..glad we listened


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