Monday, January 07, 2008

Enjoying solitude, safely

i've been heartbroken over the death of Georgia hiker Meredith Emerson. tonight's CNN story on the discovery of her body, aided by her accused assailant got me thinking about how we find a balance between the solitude and peace being outdoors provides and the dangers we all face - not just women - when we set out alone.

i have a number of female friends who run, hike and bike alone often. when i hear their recounting of running through dark trails or setting off on a day hike without their cell phone, I cringe a bit. but, it's them. it's what they do and love. as with myself and many of my male friends, it's part of our DNA. but it doesn't overshadow the fact that going out alone is inherently dangerous. from a slip and fall to getting lost or being caught unprepared at the change of weather, there are a number of risks one assumes in the outdoors. i get this, and can respect that danger. it's part of the adventure. what i don't understand and can't rationalize is that we live in a time when instead of greeting fellow hikers or outdoors people with interest and graciousness, we must - especially females - be overly cautious of their intentions. it's just sad.

it's a reminder to think twice. pack the things you need. take your dog along. grab a good knife or pepper spray. stuff that extra tire tube in your saddle bag. take plenty of water. and as tempting as it is to leave your cell phone in the car when going off, take it.

i did a quick run through Google and found some sites that provide good tips on hiking safety.

Tread Lightly
Sierra Trading Post

be safe. my thoughts and prayers are with Meredith's family and the family of John and Irene Bryant, who also were found dead while on a hike...i'd heard about their deaths before, but just now realized the two cases may be linked. i hope both are solved quickly.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your site through a link on CNN...
I was also hoping that this girl would be found and I am so sad.
I am an avid "outdoors-woman" and I find it absolutely repulsive that this woman was preyed on where she probably felt the safest - in the woods with her dog. I go to the woods with my dog to escape and revive from the crime and the city noise, and I'm assuming she did also. It is a good idea to bring a dog, but as we can see in her case it doesn't always help. I read she was also very skilled with martial arts, which, very unfortunately, also failed her.
I hope they throw the book at this guy, not only for her death, but for shattering the peace and security of other female hikers and nature lovers.
I shed a tear for her and her family for having to go through this painful and horrifying ordeal, and my thoughts are with them.
Thank you,

2:48 AM  
Blogger Allie Comeau said...

Thank you for the link in this thoughtful post.

I'm deeply saddened by the news of Meredith Emerson's fate. It's hard for me to believe that someone would be capable of committing such an atrocious act.

My heart goes out to her friends, family, and the entire outdoor community... who all lost precious something that day.

Kind regards,

Allie Comeau
Sierra Trading Post

12:38 PM  

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