Miles: 27 (!)
Dear Asshole at the Barker Pass Parking Lot,
I walked over 27 miles in the wilderness today, all of them alone. And the only time I felt intimidated or afraid was when talking to you.
I’m sorry if my adventure made you feel inadequate. I really did not walk 1130 miles by myself to challenge your manhood. But you were already one-upping PCT through-hiking with second hand stories of even greater adventures as I sat on the picnic table with Angler. I guess it was just too much for you, when Angler hiked off without me and you realized that we were not a couple. You had to come back over in disbelief to confirm that I was indeed a Girl Who Goes Alone (check out the awesome poem by Seattle poet laureate Elizabeth Austen). “Aren’t you scared,” you asked, before proceeding to list everything I should be afraid of (you really embarrassed the woman with you in the process by the way, though you probably did not notice).
I’m sorry I wasted your time trying to explain why I am not scared on trail. That I’m more afraid after dark in the city; that I’m statistically far more at risk of rape and violence on college campuses than in the wilderness; that the only grizzly bears in California are in zoos and on state flags. I am sure you already knew all these things since you are expert enough to mansplain my own (non) fears to me without knowing me or the trail at all.
But really, I would like to thank you. Because the rage you sparked fueled me up over several large hills, and pushed me to hike my longest day since way back in the desert. It was enough to keep me going along a ridge with a gorgeous sunset view of Lake Tahoe, and back down into the increasingly dark forest, night hiking and cowboy camping, yes, alone.
And I would like to thank you because next time I meet your kind I will know exactly what to say: you’re right. I am scared. What scares me are people like you who spend all their energy telling me to be afraid instead of working to make the world a safer place for all women, even those who go alone, wether by choice or because they have to.