The Art of Pink Blazing
Pink blazing is Appalachian Trail slang. White blazes mark the trail; pink blazing follows the trail to sexy hiker ladies and gentlemen, or both. I explained pink blazing to a confounded day hiker once. He said, “A girl can be hot and all, but like, if she hasn’t showered in ten days, I’m not going near her.” I appreciate the day hiker’s logic and respect for hygiene, but after living in the woods a while, you learn that humans are still attracted to each other without the help of Bath & Body Works’ products. Long distance hikers are often in the best physical shape of their lives, albeit the smelliest. Hikers may find they have more in common with their fellow hikers than with friends they’ve known for years. Trail love is only natural. Guidebooks that proclaim sex doesn’t happen on the trail are probably written by hikers who weren’t getting any.
Here is my advice about how to be a seductive, but not creepy, pink blazer.
Court, Don’t Stalk
Unfortunately, pink blazing is sometimes compared to stalking. Indeed, Appalachian Trail hikers must follow thousands of people by default. Hikers often know where their hiking peers sleep at night, too. If you’re interested in a fellow hiker, it’s especially important not to act like a stalker. It may be tempting to camp near your crush and resupply in towns together. An orchestrated encounter or two isn’t harmful, but leave the majority of your meetings up to chance. Don’t interrogate your crush about their intended mileage and camping plans every day. Be especially careful not to alienate solo hikers. If someone seems like they’re not interested in you, then stop your advances. For instance, if they don’t make eye contact, use negative body language or do not reciprocate your advances, they’re not interested. Don’t waste your energy on this person.
Be Their Friend, not Their Servant.
A favor or two is a sweet way to win someone’s affections. But don’t start giving your crush all your energy bars, purifying their water and bear-bagging for them, unless the bear-bagging and other favors are mutual. Don’t be a chivalrous creep. If a friend started showering you with favors and acting like they wanted to be your butler, you might feel a little confused. Being too helpful can make your crush feel like you’re trying to guilt them into liking you. Or your crush might lose respect for you and take advantage of your generosity/desperation. Keep the labors of love to a minimum unless the love and favors are mutual.
Consent is Sexy?
Consent is mandatory! If consent is sexy too, excellent. Specifically, consent is a verbal acknowledgment of how and when someone wants to engage in a sexual activity. An enthusiastic “yes,” in other words, and the absence of a “no.” But only a sober adult human being can give consent. If you have to ask if a person wants to have sex with you, then you should probably ask if that person wants to have sex with you. Remember, consent is not a contract. Humans change their minds. If someone changes their mind at any point, stop immediately. Don’t use pressure or guilt, accept someone’s choices. If you feel you’ve made someone uncomfortable, then apologize. If consent is mutual, congratulations, you are an authorized pink blazer. Respect other pink blazers, too. It’s not cool to shame anyone about their sexuality. In my opinion, consent is the golden rule of sexual morality. If it’s mutual and no harm is done, then the rest of civilization’s rules about romance are open for interpretation.
The Other Mile High Club
I once read in a guidebook, there simply aren’t any good spots for sex on the Appalachian Trail. But the AT is about 2,180 miles long and intersects countless blue blaze trails. The International Appalachian Trail extends across several continents. I’m sure you can find a spot. Do remember, though, a tent creates only the illusion of privacy. Don’t give a peep show at a public campground, unless the other campers consent. Pitch your tent or hammock somewhere private, or cowboy camp and let nature be the setting, get creative. Climb a mountain together, but don’t let your passion damage rare alpine plants.
Love is the Best Trail Magic
Even if you don’t join the “other mile high club,” boundless love can be found on the trail. Appalachian Trail hikers have the chance to experience active love nearly every day, like getting and giving trail magic. Merely choosing not to be a tool-bag is a great start. A lot of people hiking the Appalachian Trail are healing and you can offer them support. Before hiking the trail, I’d never been exposed to such a compassionate community. Whether it’s romantic or platonic, there is infinite love to blaze in the woods. And mother nature has definitely given her consent.
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I feel there should be some consideration giving to the possibilities of ‘townies.’ I know it isn’t pink blazing but it’s related and the odds are better.
Disgusting. Trash like this gives hikers a bad name
, “only a sober adult human being can give consent”
I guess my wife has raped me countless times. Even though I was aware of our mutual actions my slight buzz has somehow nullified my consent. So I no longer have free will or personal responsibility & my wife is a rapist.
The line is usually drawn at the same place where you would take a friend’s keys. If you still have your wits about you then you can still give consent to your wife. 😛
Your wife is very different from a stranger. You and your wife know each other and how intoxicants affect yourselves. You have no clue how intoxicants affects a stranger, hence the idea of sober consent. Always better to be safe than sorry.
What a slut. Real hikers don’t behave like this whore.
Ethan, why don’t you tell someone who cares what you think a “Real Hiker” is. I am sure calling people whores on the internet makes you a real hiker.
I care what Ethan thinks. Internet or not, he is expressing a legitimate view and I think your aggressive chastisement is hateful toward him.
Gosh Ethan that’s quite a strong and angry statement. I won’t even attempt to address the “real hiker” statement. My guess is that you are one of the few hikers that I would never make eye contact with. Perhaps you have some Mommy issues you need to confront. Lighten up man!
Ethan had a perfectly legitimate and rational response. I think you attacking him was more mommy-issued than his comment. Male machophobes, I swear.
Also, this isn’t trash, smut, nor does this make the author a slut.
Shaming people for their sexuality is deplorable. Let people live their lives however they like as long as they’re not hurting anyone else.
This is quite the opposite of hurting someone else.
After thru hiking 4 times in my life.
I’ve come full circle.
The first time I paid no attention or even thought about trail romance.
The second time I must admit a few attempts were made but I never creeped.
The third time I was practically spent half my time snuggled up to a women that I had only know for less than a day, Maybe I had bear pheromone on my shoes..lol..
The last time I was so old and tired I paid no attention or even thought about trail romance.
Great article. It sums it up perfectly. On the trail we make like. We like to be with each other at that moment. We act accordingly.
NO. ‘Courting someone on the trail is Stalking. You’re encouraging a dangerous stereotype that it’s okay for men to creep on women hikers so long as they follow your guidelines. Well, mine are ‘leave me the hell alone, don’t even start with that crap’. I’m there to hike, not mate. 🙄