Spent a little time google-ing the A.T. today to see if there was any noteworthy news. One was about a man that was found near the trail in Pennsylvania. Why is this noteworthy to me? A HUGE fear of anyone that isn’t hiking the trail, but has family or friends that are is safety. As you can tell by my trailer, friends and family were very fearful that I would be murdered as I was in the middle of the woods alone. In reality, the statistics of that happening were pretty small. That’s why finding out this news is both important and concerning. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a family member and by the sound of the article he was a hiker. The hiker community is so small, everyone in it is family. The concern I have here is that this news will perpetuate the fear that solo hikers are in danger. The article states that there was no evidence of foul play. To most concerned friends and family, that means nothing. For the most part, on my journey, I felt safer in the woods than I did at road crossings or in towns. Why? Because “normal” society frequented those locations. And “normal” society was unpredictable. Robbery with other thru-hikers was never going to happen because no one wanted to carry extra weight in their pack. Murder or foul play? FORGET IT. Thru-hikers are all about experiencing nature and the other like-minded individuals with all of their personal stories to tell.
I hope that when these stories are in the news, my fabulous followers of Alpine Zone will think positive thoughts for this man’s family and not draw immediate conclusions about the safety of a thru-hike. Believe me, the benefits of my solo thru-hike have greatly outweighed any risk and tough experiences I had along the trail.
If you want to read the article, check it out here