Oct 16, 2020 at 9:40 am #3679950
Your last comment helps clarify your earlier remarks
So yes, that is a problem today because so many young people communicate via technology and spend hours alone with electronics. They do not have the chance to develop a wide circle of face to face relationships. It was a problem I had training young people in customer handling skills. A surprising number we’re afraid to look people eye to eye and many would look at their feet when talking to customers.Oct 16, 2020 at 10:17 am #3679958Jenny ABPL Member
@jenniferaLocale: Front Range
I appreciate this thread and the thoughtful conversations. I think relationships between the sexes (or genders or whatever) in our society are often difficult to navigate, and of course that is going to extend to the back country. Whatever message someone tries to send is at the mercy of how that message is perceived, and one has no control over that. We all just do the best we can and take prudent measures to safeguard our own sense of security.
When camping solo, I try to set up a gender-neutral campsite. That means tucking my pink Crocs under the sleeping bag, making sure my first name is initials only on any kind of permit hanging on the tent or pack, and covering the W on my sleeping bag. None of this would deter someone hellbent on mischief, but I usually don’t worry about what probably won’t happen. I also try to stay aware of my surroundings and listen to nature’s alarms, like birds squawking, squirrels chattering etc., and I don’t blast music or lose myself in electronics. These measures don’t seem difficult or excessive to me, just part of being outside.Oct 16, 2020 at 10:26 am #3679960W I S N E R !BPL Member
I’m definitely seeing that too Nick; an increasing amount of people with really poor face to face social skills. I know for a fact that electronic communication has a lot to do with it. That millions of young people are having a year of school socialization replaced by Zoom classes certainly isn’t going to help many of them….Oct 16, 2020 at 10:50 am #3679963KarenBPL Member
We’ve got some serious thread drift here, and the comment I’m about to make won’t help it get back on track.
But the comments about young people and lack of social skills is laughable, sounds like “back in my day…”. Cmon guys. Yes, phones and texting have changed the way people communicate, but it’s the boomers that are inflexible, intolerant of others’ race, class, gender, sexual orientation, still racist, still in the “boys will be boys” mindset, etc. The young are really fed up with all of that. They didn’t call Covid “boomer remover” for nothing, and for many it’s not meant to be ironic. They know that time is running out to address the warming climate and the global unrest it will bring, and they’re sick of adults not solving problems but just creating more. And even the young adults I know personally who come from intolerant, bigoted backgrounds (there are many in my community) have not adopted their parents’ prejudices, thank goodness. And while “no means no” still has a ways to go, I would say this next generation has it down better than any previous generation. They will use that social media power to bring about social change. Do they fall for misinformation? Sure, but not even as much as the boomers have.
Anyway, couldn’t resist after seeing the “woe is the younger generation” stuff. Cmon, who created the world’s outrageous problems? Not the young.Oct 16, 2020 at 11:15 am #3679967jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
Back in my day…we didn’t trust anyone over thirty. You see how that worked out.
My generations young people didn’t create any of the world’s problems either. Give today’s young people time! They’ll do that just fine.Oct 16, 2020 at 11:24 am #3679974PedestrianBPL Member
“My generations young people didn’t create any of the world’s problems either.”
Wow! Defensive aren’t we? ;)
“Problems were created”.
Now this thread fully qualifies to be moved to Chaff….I did it.Oct 16, 2020 at 11:46 am #3679978
I don’t think Craig is criticizing young people. I’m not.
The problem is technology — more precisely how we use it — technology is just a tool. But we, all generations, have become consumers of technology, at the expense of our humanity. Some parents use technology as a baby sitter and reduce real social interaction, which doesn’t help solve the problem of human interactions in the back country.Oct 16, 2020 at 11:50 am #3679979jscottBPL Member
@bookLocale: Northern California
pederstrian…I was being ironic. the comment was at my own expense, if you follow out the implications. I assumed the “back in my day” phrase would convey my self satirizing tone. apparently not. Maybe not using an emoji confused you. (Hint: that last also is gentle satire.)
We thought we would solve everything too. I’m just pointing out, that’s a perennial attitude. and yet things remain effed up, generation after generation.Oct 16, 2020 at 1:52 pm #3679993Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
Karen, thank you for your post. I completely agree…Oct 16, 2020 at 2:40 pm #3679999
I agree. The behaviors and conversations I see in our Alaskan small-town high school are SO much better than they were in my upper-middle-class, liberal, California high school (which Rachel Maddow attended) back in my day. Are there idiots? Of course. It’s high school. Will some of them never learn? Of course. But the average level of engagement, involvement, compassion and empathy is heartening.
Nick: Yeah, I’d spend HOURS on the (landline, Ma Bell, rotary-dial) phone talking to romantic and platonic friends. So I don’t begrudge my kids texting each other throughout the day. Because it’s often a group doing it, it is, in ways, MORE social than we ever had it. We do collect the devices at 9 pm on school nights. Cause we were once teenagers ourselves, once.
And as Craig eluded to, the difference one teacher or volunteer can make is striking. I’ve coached middle-school students for whom I was the only adult in their life that showed up every time I said I would, treated them like the smart kid they were, and brought snacks. A kid on one First-in-State team had four different address that year. Less than half the students I meet who are capable of being a doctor/lawyer/engineer are aware that they are (until we talk and I point out what their performance indicates). It’s a trickier line to walk on social issues, but I get really explicit about any bullying, sexism or racism that comes up. I’m a volunteer and the principal is wonderfully supportive that “MathCounts is a privilege, not a right” and teachers within earshot are usually subtly nodding their head if I lay into some kid who stepped out of line.
Back on topic, a story I’ve told before:
I was taking a hike one Spring on a weekday (very few people out). A woman is coming back on the same trail. I smile, say “Hi” and she doesn’t make eye contact and physically shies away from me. I think, “It’s sad but understandable that women have to be so circumspect.” but wondered if she was a tourist or new arrival, because I see a lot less of that locally than in large cities around the country. But as I replayed it in my mind, I realized she had a wicker basket in the crook of her arm and her shifting position served to mostly hide that from me. Ah ha! – she’s wasn’t worried about her personal safety so much as not wanting to telegraph that she was returning from her secret location for morel mushrooms.
One upside of our 200,000-acre forest fire in 2019 is that there is now unlimited morel territory, although you have to scramble over a lot of downed trees.Oct 17, 2020 at 9:16 am #3680072
Was debating with myself on how to answer this thread, until I read this on the Shurka post ..
“has a man ever slowed down a little when walking past you, and perhaps even brushed your shoulders ever so slightly, giving you that uneasy feeling … Or how about a man on the trail who asks you one too many questions, including, “Are you alone”?
Damn, what’s wrong with people (in this case, guys)? Biologically, a quick look is probably expected, but those examples are pretty creeper.
When backpacking I usually give everyone a “hi” and will often step off trail to let others pass due to allergy driven asthma. If they want to stop and chat? Fine. If not adios as I’ve got places to be.
Worth noting from travel experience, a “wrong side of middle”-to-older age guy isn’t going to be much physical threat, usually, with the annual loss of upper muscle mass due to aging. Trying to get into some foreign countries, younger male tourists get inquisitioned as they tend to be the most rowdy and potentially physically violent with the muscles to back it up.
Over 50? Foreign customs will be “Meh, our women can beat you up if need be/police won’t be needed, come on in” (after they’ve lightened the wallets usually). Doesn’t mean travelers can get all creepy though..Oct 17, 2020 at 9:38 am #3680075
^ travel wise it depends on the country and culture of course … whether it’s a “party culture” or not.Oct 17, 2020 at 10:13 am #3680077KarenBPL Member
I don’t understand what this comment means: “Biologically, a quick look is probably expected.” Makes it sound to me like the more of us that can be gender-ambiguous on trail, the better!
I recently attended a volatile school board meeting in my town. There was a proposal to add *elective* classes on LGBT and Native American literature to high school English. Elective. Did I say elective? Anyway, the haters showed up in droves, vastly outnumbered by members of the LGBT community and allies. Haters shouting about the Bible sat in between people with multicolored hair and piercings and tattoos, and mostly only us allies were of discernible gender. You’d have had to do more than “a quick look” to find out what was in everyone’s pants. I almost felt sorry for the haters (well ok, not really); they were soooo uncomfortable in that crowd. Felt like a great party!
Maybe I’m misunderstanding the comment, interpreting as the need to know something that’s no one’s business.
Love me a good thread drift.Oct 17, 2020 at 10:43 am #3680082
@ karen. Honestly, I’ll probably be checking out the other hikers gear regardless of gender (gear lust is real!) . Been caught with that once til I pointed out we had the same backpack, then started comparing experiences with said pack.
I might be drawing too much on sensory psychology studies measuring where eyeballs scan on a computer screen in fractions of a second when presented certain pictures (people at certain ages … new DCF shelters on BPL). Especially after being on trail for awhile, most backpackers look like ragged trail runners or they’ve been on safari a little too long.Oct 17, 2020 at 11:17 am #3680087
The subject of what’s “in everyone’s pants” was explored in the 1958 movie No Time For Sergeants.
Here’s a couple clips. One of my favorite movies.
The Sergeant is concerned Andy Griffith will fail the psychological test . . .
And the test . . .Oct 17, 2020 at 1:33 pm #3680097
“I wasn’t checking out your butt, I was lusting after your 15-ounce pack.”
Are we old dudes legit less scary? I could imagine that, but don’t know. I suspect individual women have different feelings about it, based on their individual experiences.
Male frontal lobes don’t fully develop until their mid-20s hence all manner of crimes correlate strongly with the teen / early-20s male population.
And for among those with poor impulse control, violent tendencies and lousy socialization, do the “testosterone-soaked dick monsters” get better with age when they’re less testosterone-soaked?Oct 17, 2020 at 2:20 pm #3680099
The term “dirty old men” probably has meritOct 17, 2020 at 2:27 pm #3680100
I’ve showered a lot less often since March 2020.Oct 17, 2020 at 3:04 pm #3680103
“I wasn’t checking out your butt, I was lusting after your 15-ounce pack.”
We were seated outside at JJ’s – Old Station (PCT) at neighboring outdoor tables. Leering isn’t appreciated in any context ..
Are we old dudes legit less scary?
One of my younger woman acquaintances (almost petite) bragged about hitting an older guy in a Vegas casino. He became too annoying, so she beat him up right then and there (other people who were there confirm).
Some older people can hold their own (especially in the defense) ..
…but not many. Training helps but I suspect most younger people are probably safe just ”blowing off” any elderly people if need be. In a trail context, this could be just be hiking away as an elderly guy is probably not fast enough.
I know some older Generation Xers who’ve bought the rocking chair.Oct 17, 2020 at 5:22 pm #3680122Luke SchmidtBPL Member
On one of my first hikes in Alaska I passed two hikers. One had a 10mm Glock with some interesting aftermarket accessories. The other had a S&W with interesting custom grips. As I took all this in I then realized they were attractive ladies who probably didn’t want to be staired at….
Honestly I probably notice your gear on the trail before I notice anything else about you. I admit some prejudice…
- If you have a cottage gear pack I will be much more interested in chatting. You might be an interesting person, you might even be on BPL.
- If you have a generic REI day pack I’ll probably ignore you. Sorry but you are probably a boring day hiker with no cool gear to talk about.
- If you have a rifle I’ll assume you are a hunter. I’ll assume anything you say about animals seen or NOT seen is a lie because no hunter will give up his special spots. Ditto for people with a fly rod.
- If you have a dirty HMG pack you might be interesting. If you have a clean HMG pack you might be a VERY interesting person who just wore out their old HMG pack. Or you might be a yuppie who bought an HMG pack because Luc Mehl and all the other cool guys have HMG packs, I will approach with caution (this is more of an Alaska phenomenon).
Sorry I guess I’m a terrible person. Is there training for “gear bias?”Oct 17, 2020 at 5:23 pm #3680124Jacqueline KBPL Member
I like what Karen said. However, I think it has to do with vibes too. Just this morning, there was a youngish man on the beach who was screaming at another man for even looking at him, threatening to call the cops on the latter. Not sure if making eye contact was all that triggered the outburst, but the guy doing the screaming seemed a bit unhinged. It is the unhinged one would be worried about as a woman. Luckily, most of the time everyone is friendly without being too friendly.Oct 17, 2020 at 5:54 pm #3680128
youngish man on the beach who was screaming at another man for even looking at him
Think we need to look at the statistics too. Nobody wants to be harassed, insulted, or “weirded out”, … but it’s an even bigger problem when violence comes into play (various types of assault to even murder). In the US both the perpetrators and victims tend to be younger (see links below). The violent perps tend to be male going up to 25 yo before the likelihood of violence starts decreasing.
Also interesting is fewer elderly tend to be victimized in the US despite being an ever higher percentage of the total populace. IMHO think this shows male “rage“ (read elsewhere over 60% of violent crimes occur with anger over perceived humiliation – well if middle aged or older in the US workforce you’ve been used to that..).
Offenders (graph on p6 of 20)
VictimsOct 17, 2020 at 8:36 pm #3680134Paul WagnerBPL Member
@balzaccomLocale: Wine Country
I realized that I was officially old when an attractive young woman took a photo of me and my wife in Patagonia when we weren’t looking. It wasn’t that she took the picture. It’s that she told us later that she thought we were “cute.”
And sadly, I knew exactly what she meant. Ah well. Maybe we are.
I usually hike with my wife, and we’re both well past sixty, and we hike in the Sierra–often in remote areas. So we probably see less of this kind of thing than most people, especially those on the more urban AT.
I do know that men, whatever their age or condition, hate having my wife hike past them on the trail. It’s a source of minor amusement and some frustration for us. They’re happy to wave me past, but when they see my wife approach, most quickly shoulder their packs and hurry up the trail…usually to tire out in a hundred yards or two. And then we play leapfrog for a mile or two. Sigh.
But I do remember one trail encounter with a single woman, in a remote corner of Yosemite. When I came over a rise to see her hiking towards me on the trail, I was so surprised that I blurted out: “where did YOU come from?”
She clearly was uncomfortable with that, and more or less froze on the trail. She quickly relaxed when my wife hiked into view, and I tried to make amends with some far less aggressive comments. I think/hope we parted on better terms…
As the father of two daughters, I am always willing to step in and help in these kinds of situations…Oct 18, 2020 at 7:27 am #3680158DanBPL Member
I don’t go backpacking to meet people, and frankly I avoid them if possible, men or women. If someone wants to chat, I will do the bare minimum to avoid seeming rude. If I see a tent at my original destination, I keep going. If someone pitches a tent anywhere near me, I pack up and leave if it’s remotely feasible. Not interested in having neighbors in the wilderness. On the trail, just ask the person how they’re doing, and move on. Or better yet, just wave and keep moving. Easy peasy.Oct 18, 2020 at 9:09 am #3680162Murali CBPL Member
“I don’t go backpacking to meet people”
Though it seems like almost all hikers want to talk – want to have that human connection in the wild. Small talk is fine – but as Jaqueline commented – you have to be wary of those who are extra friendly.
I also like to hike and camp alone. Though not as extreme as Dan – like moving away when somebody camps near me:-) Once a couple of guys and a woman camped right next to me just as I was dozing off. The conversation was pretty loud about mushrooms they picked and one of the guys farted loudly. The woman wanted to know how to fart loudly and how she cannot make those sounds while farting.
Anyways, back to the topic at hand – I still maintain that one cannot distinguish a creep from a non-creep saying creepy things. You can definitely learn what to say that doesn’t make woman hikers uncomfortable. While that is a noble…I don’t think you should or can judge how harmless a person is from what they say. But as Jenny A commented – you need to take precautions and have a plan when you face uncomfortable situations. But, do not obsess over it and I don’t think woman hikers do that. The advice I would give my wife and daughter when they are solo hiking is – socialize – you meet lots of interesting people, ask for help if you are in trouble – but, be wary of those who are extra friendly.
+1 on what Karen said regarding “back in the day….”.
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