Pink Blazing on the Appalachian Trail: A Female’s Guide to Avoiding or Embracing the Attention
Pink blazing?! Let me explain. When you hike the Appalachian Trail, you follow these nice neat white blazes that show you where the trail goes. Sometimes there are double blazes, indicating a turn, or a crossing. Sometimes, the blazes are practically non-existent, like in the whites. Here is a picture:
Ok, got it? Good.
The color pink: stereotypically it is looked at as feminine in nature. So let’s take that stereotypical color, join it with a blaze and what do we get? Pink Blazing: when a hiker intentionally speeds up or slows down to hike with a potential love interest.
If you have seen my film, or even if you haven’t, it is not giving away much to say I pink blazed. Let me preface this with the fact that he was/is a stand up guy, very kind hearted and someone I would like to call a friend. However, I had a purpose for being on the Trail and romance was not a part of it. Females, I am sorry to say, there are less of you on the Trail and it seems that the heterosexual males will gravitate right towards you….and attempt to hike with you for miles making as much conversation that keeps them just on this side of not creepy. Below you will find my tips on how to best avoid it and then on how to embrace it.
1) Walk faster. Or, walk slower. Most of the time your pace can make a difference. Though I have known other female hikers who tried both of these, and their efforts were quickly thwarted by a relatively in-shape or overly enthusiastic male.
2) Wake up earlier. Or, later. Same thing as walking faster or slower, be out of camp sooner than him, or later and take a longer time to head out. The risk of waking later is that he will wait for you somewhere down the Trail.
3) Be up front. If it seems very obvious, but ask him what his intentions are for clarification and then kindly let him know that you want to maintain your solo hiking status, or you have a boyfriend, or girlfriend, or whatever your completely valid reason for not wanting to get involved; romantically or otherwise. The Trail brings all different kinds of interesting people together and while it is rare, sometimes some people will rub you the wrong way and your choice of whether to socially engage or not, is your choice. End. Of. Story.
WAIT!!!! READ THIS!!!
I did NOT want to be pink-blazed and yet, I found myself embracing the experience. The Trail is nothing but one crazy, messy, dirty, blister-filled experience and every part of it carries a unique moment to learn and grow from.
1) Appreciate the flattery. Someone likes you! Take that and run with it. It is nice to be valued and appreciated. Appreciate their attraction, however fleeting and keep moving forward.
2) Get to know them. As long as your “this is a creep” radar isn’t in full frantic mode, it might be worthwhile to get to know them, who knows, you could get a really good friend out of the deal. Or an awkward conversation, but either way, you’ll have experienced an interesting human interaction. Maybe it will make a good blog post. You never know!
There you have it, a quick guide to embracing or avoiding the pink blaze. I can tell you that I didn’t regret being pink blazed at all. At first I wanted no part of it, and I made the poor guy work for it. However, I learned a lot from it and am thankful for what it was. That is the great thing about the Trail, it may not be two roads diverged….but each personal journey is different. Out on the Trail we are all stinky, tired, hungry hikers and that commonality allows for some really great interactions with people you might not normally take a second glance at.
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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.