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Walking/Hiking Alone.....does it make you nervous?

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Today was a BEAUTIFUL day here in Michigan.  It was 56 and SUNNY....both extremely rare this time of year where it is typically in the 20s and cloudy almost all of the time.

 

Anyway, today I went for a walk at the local park but it made me nervous and uneasy the first 1/2 mile or so of my walk.  The park is in our rural township and about 1/4 mile long and 1/4 mile wide with some ball fields, a playground and then wooded trails.  The park gates are officially closed as usually it has deep snow but obviously not this week.  I parked across the road and went in from one of the paths from there.  There was a red pick up truck though parked along the road (dirt road) a little ways down by another path into the park.  I had the dog with me but it just made me a bit nervous walking.  I actually took a picture of the truck and texted it to my husband before I started walking.  I was just on edge and a bit nervous and kept the dog on a leash close to me instead of letting her run free like I normally do.

We live in a rural area that is very safe.  There is very very little crime.  In 25 years living here I have not heard of any "stranger" rapes/kidnappings/assaults in our township and the only murder in the township was my brother in law 23 years ago (and that was the only murder in our entire county for a few years).

Once I got out of the woods and closer to the road (a main, paved road) I felt a lot better.  I then saw a grandfather and his preschool grandson walking from their van to the playground and I felt much better.

Does anyone else get like this?  I would have easily gone with 1 or 2 of my kids and felt totally fine (even with the mystery red truck.....who was likely someone else like me taking a walk) but alone, I was nervous, even with the dog.

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I don't get nervous- I cycle on a pretty isolated rail to trail path. But considering what happened to your BIL, I totally get why you felt uneasy.  :grouphug:

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Back in the fall, I took the kids out on a walking trail, we went about a mile out from the beginning of the trail and then back.  Now, before we go further this is a "rail to trail" which means it's an old rail way converted to a walking trail.  And...this portion includes not one but TWO high rail bridges, and I am terrified of heights.  So I was already on edge.  But, in addition to that, it started in the middle of town...but also the middle of nowhere.  It didn't start it an park.  It started smack in the middle of the industrial area of town.  And, I had never been there before.  I will be honest though, I was totally freaked out.  We were the only ones parked in the parking lot.  We saw not a single soul.  If ANYTHING had had happened, no one would have known.

 

On the other side of the coin, in our old  neighborhood was another "rail to trail" entrance.  Our neighborhood actually was the beginning of the trail.  It proceeded from our neighborhood through rural and semi suburban areas.  Many parts of it went straight through farmland, complete with cows along the side.  Other parts when through another neighborhood similar to ours.  No parks, no place to even park a car except along the road in the neighborhood...but also no industrial area.  (and....no rail bridges either.)  I never ever felt any single bit of nervousness walking that trail.  I walked it with the kids often.  We even left the trail to find railroad artifacts...and once our own cat who followed us then get completely worn out. 

 

 

All of which is to say......I think this sort of thing totally depends on the area.  And any time an area is unfamiliar, it makes a person more nervous.  Shoot, the Monday after we moved here, I had to go set up one of the utilities, which involved a route on some rather rural and unkept roads.  I was totally nervous...DRIVING the roads.  Now however, I drive it once a month to pay the bill, plus it happens that dd8 has played a few softball games at a ball park along the way.  But that first time, I was nervous.  I didn't know if there was cell service along the route (now I know where it's spotty and where it's ok) I couldn't tell anyone how to get to me if I had to call 911, plus I had no idea how far the distance was from one house to the next (some points, more than 2 miles.) 

Edited by happysmileylady

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No, not really. But I go out either alone or with dd in the woods quite a bit.

 

I'm sure people are going to post that OMG there must have been a serial killer in the truck because instincts are never, ever wrong, but honestly, you've probably just seen too many creepy movies where people get abducted on country roads. ;)

Edited by Mergath
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I walk the trails behind my house often alone and am not worried in the least.  I walk the roads as well without issue.  

I am not sure why that truck just worried me today.  Really, for this area the truck was parked in a very logical place for someone who wanted to walk the trails and enjoy the park.  I think had there been several cars there I would not have worried, it was just that there was just one.

Also, this is NOT an unknown area to me....it is actually kitty corner from the edge of our property across the road.  In the spring, summer, and fall we go to this park several days a week....to the park, ball fields, trails, horseback riding, etc.

As to my BIL being murdered, I actually go horseback riding at that recreation area alone, walk there with friends, kayak with the kids, etc.  His murder was a tragedy but not a random stranger thing.

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I sometimes get the random heebie-jeebies. I joke that someone would do well with a rent-a-dog business. I've thought I'd like to have a trail dog, but since I like tonbe out nature watching, a dog would likely flush birds and other critters and I would be sort of defeated in that.

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I do sometimes, but I think it's good to always be aware. Not paranoid, but cautious. There were several women runners who were attacked in different parts of the country not that long ago, so it's not totally unreasonable to be worried about safety. I don't like that I feel I always have to be a bit more on guard than my husband, but I do. I still walk my dog on the bike path through the woods, but I don't go when it's dark, and I always let DH know the route I plan to take.

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Have you guys heard of infrasound? It's basically sounds that are too low for us to consciously hear. There's research to suggest that some cases of people being randomly spooked over nothing are actually infrasound, because it can induce sudden fear in human beings. There's actually more of it in our environment than you'd think. It's an interesting thing to research.

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No, I don't walk alone in isolated areas. Having spent a good deal of time on the Websleuths site over the years, I've read about many cases of women being attacked and/or abducted when walking, running, or biking alone - so yeah, it does make me nervous.

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Have you guys heard of infrasound? It's basically sounds that are too low for us to consciously hear. There's research to suggest that some cases of people being randomly spooked over nothing are actually infrasound, because it can induce sudden fear in human beings. There's actually more of it in our environment than you'd think. It's an interesting thing to research.

What generates infrasound?

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yes it makes me nervous.  There are 2 factors for me.  1. the possibility of crime and 2. the possibility of injury or accident.  Some trails and hiking areas do not have cell signal.  If I were to fall, twist my ankle, whatever event that prevented me from walking, then it could be quite some time before someone noticed I was not back yet.

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I walk by myself all the time, but not everywhere or at all times of the day or night. If I'm in a new or less familiar place, it makes sense that I'm more alert to my surroundings and sometimes that can make me a little nervous (but mostly I'm trying to make sure I don't get lost). But that feeling goes away after I've walked there a couple of times.

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i often walk or hike alone, but it's almost always in popular places.  If it's an isolated place or time of the day, then I'll bring our German Shepherd with me.  I also always let my dh know where I'm going to be walking.  In the case of your red truck, I'd probably be nervous too unless it was at our local state park.   People park all along the road there and walk to the lake to fish.  We've had some good fishing weather these past few days :-) 

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This reminds me of the pessimist thread from a day or two ago. That thread asked that if someone who is normally pessimistic can make themselves more optimistic. There was chit-chat back and forth defining pessimism and discussing the benefits of it vs the benefits of optimism.

 

For me, my "pessimism" comes out in things like the OP's walk alone in the park. I see a woman with a bruise on her face and my first thought is, "Did someone hit her?" I walk alone in the woods and my first thought is, "Is there someone who will see me alone and take advantage of that fact and attack?"

 

I walked from a restaurant to my car, which was parked in the back of the restaurant alone tonight. I was with friends and they managed to park in the front. I looked all around me and considered if I felt safe to walk behind buildings alone at night. The restaurant is in a small town and there wasn't anyone in the area where my car was parked. I walked there, but I had my eyes open and was observant the entire time.

 

Usually, I listen to my darker thoughts and then have to consiously reject them and not let myself live in fear. I have walked alone in woods before and yes, I have always felt a little uncomfortable doing so. I know logically that the chances of something happening are very low (I live in low crime area as well. One murder in the area every 10 years or so.). But there's always a part of me that feels like a deer walking through a wood where there juuuust might be a wolf. Not likely, but maybe...

 

I am envious of the people who don't feel this sense of ...not fear...high alert perhaps? This sense of always being on high alert. I am often on high alert when I'm alone.

 

My kids were watching Superman Returns the other day and a huge longing rose up in me to be strong and bullet proof. I'm tired of worrying that someone who is bigger will see me as prey and I'm tired of wondering if I'll get hurt by someone else.

Edited by Garga
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There are times when I am alone that I get spooked.  I usually just push through it, make sure to be more cautious of my surroundings and have my phone accessible. I walk to music, but I will leave one earbud out, so I can hear my surroundings easier. There have been times when I am walking that I have pretended to be talking to someone on my phone when someone suspicious is keeping pace behind me. I will stop for a minute to let them pass and say something like "Hi Jenny. No sorry I can't meet for coffee...I'm walking on xyz trail and Jack and Rob are biking from the other direction, we should be running into each other anytime now. We are going to lunch after this. " 

 

One of my favorite trails is in an area that has both very rich homes and a methadone clinic and a few day rate hotels. I work in the area so I know that there are some issues but over all it is fairly safe.   The walking path that I go one is one that people use for exercise, but also some homeless people have set up living quarters in the bushes, so sometimes there are people who just randomly walk out of the bushes. LOL  Im not saying that the homeless are any more danger than someone dressed in a suit, but it is startling none-the-less. 

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I go out alone, but I have pepper spray, my phone, and a whistle.

 

ETA: I call my sister every time I get the creeps when running or in a parking lot. When I run, it's an exercise of defeating a fear as well as getting stronger. My heart still races and my throats tightens when I hear a dog barking or see a strange vehicle, but I know I can push through it.

Edited by Outdoorsy Type

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I'm always paranoid about walking alone, day or night.  It takes nothing to freak me out.  I blame my love of crime drama shows.  I live in an area with pretty much no violent crime, and it's almost certainly safe to be out, but I've watched a few too many "that shouldn't have happened to that woman" episodes on TV.

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I don't think of myself as someone who worries about stuff like that in general, but being in an isolated area by myself does creep me out. I posted once about taking my kids to the park and there was no one there. Then a car pulled into the parking lot and a guy just sat there. I realized how isolated the park was and it was right next to a river. Inside I was kind of freaking out, but I pushed through and all was fine. But since then, I have only gone to that park after school hours or with someone.

 

I took my kids all over Chicago by myself, but I am really uncomfortable being somewhere isolated.

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Yeah, sometimes. But my mind knows that's men are more likely to be assaulted than women, that women are more likely to be assaulted at home and/or by someone they know, and that statistically women fair better in terms of hiking/wilderness accidents and injuries than men.

 

I use reasonable precautions, but I think fear is almost inevitable for women. I try not to let fear control and limit me.

 

When hiking alone with younger kids, we talked through safety and emergency procedures, and I was very clear that when hiking, my word was LAW. I knew having a child (or me ) injured would be a small crisis. If I couldn't reach help, it would be tough for an injured me to hike or for me to carry an child child and still keep the others safe. This would be true for a man too, though.

 

I actually feel more nervous in an urban/suburban park than I do camping/hiking in remote areas.

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At home I can walk in the woods alone and not worry about people. I do worry about mountain lions and bear. Recently a dog and a goat went missing/vanished in the neighborhood, we all assume it was a mountain lion that got the animals. 

 

Public trails, the beach....I take a dog and a friend or two. My beach walk is long and isolate. I am super cautious when alone on the beach. 

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What generates infrasound?

From what I've read about it, it can be a lot of things. Any kind of big machinery can transmit it for quite a distance, and malfunctioning equipment can generate it. Different people have varying levels of sensitivity, too. Something that might make me nuts might not even trip your radar. It's actually fascinating (and disturbing) to research it. Kind of makes you wonder if a some cases if anxiety are actually attributable to living a few blocks from an industrial factory or whatever.

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I live in a busy suburb and I go walking or running alone quite a bit. I think I would naturally be more cautious in a more rural setting.

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Your area sounds safer than mine, but, yes, I would be nervous hiking or walking alone in an isolated area. The dog would help me feel safer I imagine. But what you describe with the single vehicle would make me uncomfortable.

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It depends on the place.  Normally I do not feel nervous and I love to take nature walks alone.  :)  But if I felt nervous, I would assume it was intuition telling me the place isn't completely safe.

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I once saw a post here who said she loves her big dog because it enables to walk alone in the woods.  I felt so sorry for her. No I am not afraid to be alone in the woods.. Logically speaking,  EVERY ride in a car is far, far riskier than a walk alone.

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I walked in all kinds of places and all kinds of times. But when I get that "funny" feeling, I usually change the path. Many moons ago when I returned late from a college study group, I was poised to take a shortcut from the train station to my car. I had taken this back alley countless times. This one time, I walked toward it and very strongly felt I should not continue. I chose to walk the long way (much better lit) to the parking lot.

I have no clue if there was really something to worry about but after that I took the alley at other times and never again had this feeling. Maybe I was just spooked because it was later than usual or there was really something off. I will never know but I am still here to post about it. ;)

 

Edited by Liz CA
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When I was little, I would go walking alone for hours. Woods, city, I loved it. I loved traveling by myself as well. I still love the walking - I prefer doing it with others now. 

 

 I've gotten more nervous about it as I've gotten older. Maybe I've read too many stories or watched too many movies or because of my medical conditions -  I'm very aware of how much weaker I am than I used to be and how much weaker I am comparative to so many others my age, but I am nervous about doing some things alone or alone with particularly my younger kids than I used to be. I don't like taking taxis by myself either, I'd rather walk... 

 

 

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Yes, and I have come across creeps in the woods several times while out with my kids. I still go (so don't accuse me of being hysterical/not understanding statistics).

Edited by OKBud

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No, it doesn't worry me.  I also live in a safe area and have no concerns about it.  I do have a dog, but she's a little fluffy thing that would not intimidate in any way.

 

If I am walking alone somewhere remote, I switch on the locator app on my phone, so that Husband can pinpoint me if I don't come back.  That's more in case I fall and hurt myself or get stuck in some way.

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I used to live at the base of what they called the Canyon in SoCal.  I loved hiking with my dog, all through the mountains.  We would go for a couple of hours as much as we could.  I could walk from my house.  We would often be alone out there.  I didn't think twice about it.

 

Then one day we ran into  a man with a huge walking stick.  I commented on how nice his stick was.  He said, "Oh, yes, I wouldn't hike through here without it, this is my snake stick."  I replied, "Your WHAT?"  He said, "Oh yes, I have seen 4 rattlers just today."

 

I stopped hiking alone THAT DAY.  I was terrified.  

 

Then a young woman was attacked by a mountain lion in that area just a few months later.

 

The most I ever saw was a coyote and thankfully, my dog wasn't with me then.

 

But, OY!  I had no idea.

 

But around here?  No problem.  I will walk, hike, etc.....as it is pretty much all either city, or built trails by the city, specifically for runners or joggers.

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I walk where there are people around.  That feels safer to me.  I would never go hiking alone.  For one thing I'm not a seasoned hiker and I'd likely get lost. 

 

 

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I can't really imagine being nervous in that situation. 

 

I have on occassion been a little nervous walking alone in the city at night.  More perhaps in suburbs than downtown, because it really felt very isolated.

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Sometimes I feel nervous walking alone, but I should probably throw in a disclaimer that I've got generalized anxiety disorder. Around here a lot of places have signs saying something along the lines of "be safe, walk with a friend". I really hate those signs. They don't increase the odds of me dragging someone along to walk, they just increase my anxiety and make me think that if something were to happen people would say it's my own fault for walking alone, kwim? Plus, I think they discourage people from being out and about - obesity is a bigger risk than walking alone on a suburban trail.

 

That said, I'll still walk around the block (several blocks actually) in the middle of the night if I feel like it, or anywhere else during the day.

 

ETA: I don't have a dog. I might avoid walking in a particular place if I have a particularly bad feeling and walk somewhere else instead, but, not having seen your park, I might very well have walked through it.

Edited by luuknam
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I used to live at the base of what they called the Canyon in SoCal.  I loved hiking with my dog, all through the mountains.  We would go for a couple of hours as much as we could.  I could walk from my house.  We would often be alone out there.  I didn't think twice about it.

 

Then one day we ran into  a man with a huge walking stick.  I commented on how nice his stick was.  He said, "Oh, yes, I wouldn't hike through here without it, this is my snake stick."  I replied, "Your WHAT?"  He said, "Oh yes, I have seen 4 rattlers just today."

 

I stopped hiking alone THAT DAY.  I was terrified.  

 

Then a young woman was attacked by a mountain lion in that area just a few months later.

 

The most I ever saw was a coyote and thankfully, my dog wasn't with me then.

 

But, OY!  I had no idea.

 

But around here?  No problem.  I will walk, hike, etc.....as it is pretty much all either city, or built trails by the city, specifically for runners or joggers.

 

Yeah hiking in California is a whole other ball of wax. The first time I was hiking with my kids and came upon fresh mountain lion tracks, was the last time I hiked with my kids without DH in California! Even with him, I took my walking club. Rattlesnake skins all over the place..ugh. Deserts/chaparral areas are not for everyone :laugh:

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I don't typically get worried walking alone. I used to hike alone a lot though and now I think that was kind of stupid. More because of potential injury than because of the worry about being attacked by another person. When I hiked alone was when I was single, living alone and didn't tell anyone where I was going. And it was pre-cell phones (or pre-me having a cell phone). If I had gotten hurt on an isolated trail it would have been potentially very bad. 

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I don't worry walking by myself in the countryside but we don't have dangerous animals. I don't worry too much about injuries either because I've got someone waiting for me back home who would realise I was not back and be able to guide people to locate me if necessary. I feel much more nervous in urban areas because there's just so much more in the way of likely issues especially late at night.

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Alone, yes. Been attacked three times by dogs let off leash. I don't go on trails alone unless its ranger patrolled.

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I've been in a few situations where my radar--always at least in monitor mode--went on higher alert. But I've never felt really afraid. I do of course only walk alone (not counting the dog--he's not gonna intimidate anyone) in areas where I feel relatively safe to begin with--our neighborhood, relatively well traveled or patrolled walking paths and parks, etc. The thing I worry about most are copperheads, and that's a problem even in our neighborhood. They're rarely fatal, but NC has more venomous snake bites than any other state and I do NOT want to add to that statistic!

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No. But I usually have the dog with me, tho she'd be less than useful in an emergency.

I walk along the road near my house alone, I've walked in the state park alone, and the local parks. People don't make me nervous, tho I try to be aware of those nearby. My main concerns are stupid hunters not following safety rules, and the occasional bear in the spring/early summer.

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Not at all.  I walk every where and any where all the time.  I navigated in NYC on my own a couple weeks ago and figured out the subway.  I do like having a charged cell phone and I don't make dumb decisions, but it doesn't freak me out at all.

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OP you wrote that you had your dog with you. That is the minimum requirement.  If you have a gun, you should take it with you and know how to use it. The fact that you were concerned enough to send a photo of the truck to your DH shows that you were apprehensive about the situation. That's good.     That you were concerned is a good sign. If you had been oblivious, that is very dangerous. Bad things can happen to one, even if there are lots of other people around. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time is dangerous.  Be careful.

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OP you wrote that you had your dog with you. That is the minimum requirement.  If you have a gun, you should take it with you and know how to use it. 

 

Why would a gun be necessary?  The OP wrote:

 

 In 25 years living here I have not heard of any "stranger" rapes/kidnappings/assaults in our township and the only murder in the township was my brother in law 23 years ago (and that was the only murder in our entire county for a few years).

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Being aware of the surroundings and avoiding potentially dangerous situations are key in staying safe. It sounds like you did just fine.  Walking with my dog always makes me feel safer, but the awareness of surroundings is always there, too. Having a hiking stick can be a nice comfort, too.

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If I felt like I needed a gun (and in my entire 54 years I've not once felt like it) I wouldn't be walking there. 

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This was the topic of my master's thesis oh so very many years ago. Basically at that time, girls' "home ranges", the distance they will walk away from their homes unaccompanied, is generally half that of boys' and this continues into adulthood. This limits their lifetime interactions with nature and place and puts them at a disadvantage to boys in the same neighborhood.

 

Of course, as I write this I wonder if now boys' and girls' free ranges have decreased so much that they only encompass the distance between the computer and the refrigerator! lol

 

Anyway, I have walked alone and hiked daily in good weather for years. Out of those hundreds of walks have had a total of four out of the ordinary interactions with men. Two were in isolated preserves. In the first instance I was not alone, but was with  girlfriend and our babies. We were startled by a man who seemed a little "off"coming our way. As he got closer, we began to suspect he was developmentally disabled, and in fact he just walked by us toward a housing development at the edge of the preserve. Another time, I was with a large group of women with strollers on a unpaved portion of a rail trail. A man followed us making unusual sounds. Again, I think the man was developmentally delayed. Nothing bad happened. Though in this instance all the women were on high alert with their phones out. On my own in a thickly wooded preserve, I once sat by a stream to eat my lunch. Several people passed on the trail about 15 yards away. One man saw me and stopped dead in his tracks staring at me. I immediately left via another trail behind me. I believe the potential threat in that instance was real. When I was a college student I went to a tiny coastal spot near a tourist shop that was closed for the season. Another car pulled up and two teenage boys got out. They started acting wild and throwing rocks at ducks, presumably to get my attention. I walked to my car and drove up the road to a small town beach. I got out of the car and was walking on the beach when the teenagers arrived in their car (which had a very loud engine or exhaust system). The moment I heard them I went completely still with fear. A dad who was walking on the beach with his daughter looked up at the parking lot and then looked at me, and without a word between us he changed direction, walked to the parking lot, and I followed him and got safely in my car. That experience was the most maddening of all because of the boys actively followed me from one location to another. I was so angry at being limited in my ability to enjoy the seaside like that I drove four towns away to a state park beach and walked there for the afternoon!

 

For the most part, walking alone is safe. Sometimes it is not. Don't let your fear ruin your experience, but know the area, listen to your gut, and bring your dog or your pepper spray or your phone if they make you feel better. Most likely nothing will happen. If the fear is ruining all your adventures, try to find a companion so that you don't have to give up walking or hiking. It's not worth limiting your life out of fear.

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I walk in my neighborhood by myself constantly and hike by myself regularly. I am almost never nervous about it.

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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Why would a gun be necessary?  The OP wrote:

 

 In 25 years living here I have not heard of any "stranger" rapes/kidnappings/assaults in our township and the only murder in the township was my brother in law 23 years ago (and that was the only murder in our entire county for a few years).

 

If the OP has one, it would provide extra protection to her.   Places that are normally "safe", on the wrong day, at the wrong time, can be incredibly dangerous.  I was in a place, like places I have been in, tens of thousands of times, during my lifetime, on the wrong day, at the wrong time, and that is why I have P.T.S.D.   One of my younger cousins was kidnapped from the parking lot of a Community College (in CA) and raped.  Would our having been armed saved us? Not something I can answer.  There have been several times, when I was somewhere in the USA,  that I wished that I could have been armed, legally, but that was before the Concealed Carry laws and I was not armed.

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This was the topic of my master's thesis oh so very many years ago. Basically at that time, girls' "home ranges", the distance they will walk away from their homes unaccompanied, is generally half that of boys' and this continues into adulthood. This limits their lifetime interactions with nature and place and puts them at a disadvantage to boys in the same neighborhood.

 

Of course, as I write this I wonder if now boys' and girls' free ranges have decreased so much that they only encompass the distance between the computer and the refrigerator! lol

 

Anyway, I have walked alone and hiked daily in good weather for years. Out of those hundreds of walks have had a total of four out of the ordinary interactions with men. Two were in isolated preserves. In the first instance I was not alone, but was with  girlfriend and our babies. We were startled by a man who seemed a little "off"coming our way. As he got closer, we began to suspect he was developmentally disabled, and in fact he just walked by us toward a housing development at the edge of the preserve. Another time, I was with a large group of women with strollers on a unpaved portion of a rail trail. A man followed us making unusual sounds. Again, I think the man was developmentally delayed. Nothing bad happened. Though in this instance all the women were on high alert with their phones out. On my own in a thickly wooded preserve, I once sat by a stream to eat my lunch. Several people passed on the trail about 15 yards away. One man saw me and stopped dead in his tracks staring at me. I immediately left via another trail behind me. I believe the potential threat in that instance was real. When I was a college student I went to a tiny coastal spot near a tourist shop that was closed for the season. Another car pulled up and two teenage boys got out. They started acting wild and throwing rocks at ducks, presumably to get my attention. I walked to my car and drove up the road to a small town beach. I got out of the car and was walking on the beach when the teenagers arrived in their car (which had a very loud engine or exhaust system). The moment I heard them I went completely still with fear. A dad who was walking on the beach with his daughter looked up at the parking lot and then looked at me, and without a word between us he changed direction, walked to the parking lot, and I followed him and got safely in my car. That experience was the most maddening of all because of the boys actively followed me from one location to another. I was so angry at being limited in my ability to enjoy the seaside like that I drove four towns away to a state park beach and walked there for the afternoon!

 

For the most part, walking alone is safe. Sometimes it is not. Don't let your fear ruin your experience, but know the area, listen to your gut, and bring your dog or your pepper spray or your phone if they make you feel better. Most likely nothing will happen. If the fear is ruining all your adventures, try to find a companion so that you don't have to give up walking or hiking. It's not worth limiting your life out of fear.

 

What were you getting a master's in?

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