One night in northern California, while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, I made the mistake of camping at a trailhead. I was tired and couldn’t pass up the tiny restroom and picnic table. I was awakened at midnight by the roar of what I figured was an ATV, and after the vehicle shut down, a raucous bunch of hooligans serenaded me for hours.
I feared I would be discovered not thirty yards away in the brush. In my tent, I listened to the popped tabs of beer cans and thought out what I would say if they discovered me. Who knows where that could have led; these guys seemed very rough. They left after a couple of hours, but an hour later they came back again! They never found me, and I swore I would never again camp at a trailhead.
Despite the beauty of nature and the serenity of woodlands, one must stay alert and be smart. It’s better to hike with a partner. Camping with a group is being smart. And don’t camp at a trailhead.
I don’t think women should hike alone. Why take the chance? Hike with friends. Sad to say, there have been documented murders on the Appalachian Trail and on other trails. Stay alert. Be smart.