hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

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Bosterson
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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by Bosterson » April 16th, 2018, 11:48 am

Aimless wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 9:23 am
xrp wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 6:56 am
I guess it is everyone else’s fault she doesn’t have friends to hike with nor was she prepared for a 6 mile hike.

My Darth Vader level empathy fuel tank is already empty. Sorry.
Did you read the article?
Was that a rhetorical question? :lol:
Will hike off trail for fun.

Lurch
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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by Lurch » April 16th, 2018, 2:15 pm

Bosterson wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 5:39 pm
Steve20050 wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 4:37 pm
I often stop to talk to people when I do run into someone. Just a matter of courtesy.
One thing to note is that offering unsolicited "encouragement" to strangers is generally poor form. (I'm not trying to imply Steve is doing this; it's just on the topic of taking to people on the trails.) Further, with respect to people recommending, unsolicited, that strangers (whether or not their looks diverge from the REI catalog norm) take a "rest" - well, we already have a word for people who say stuff like that to strangers: they're called assholes. I feel like that kind of patronizing is a generational thing (kids these days have their heads in Instagram and don't even give you a courtesy hello), though Chip, since you claim to be getting old, maybe you're guilty of it. :lol:
On the flip side of this... I begs the question, when is it appropriate, and what is an appropriate way to warn someone that they may be treading a path they're not prepared for? Many people have been 'saved' by fellow hikers warning them about conditions ahead or a perceived lack of preparedness and 'convincing' them to turn around... Many have had encountered serious issues, despite passing dozens who could have warned them. Those people who noted, thought about, and could have warned, but chose not to out of politeness have their own burdens to bear if they find out that person never returned.

I mean this with utmost sincerity, and it's not to discourage anyone from enjoying the wilderness. But it's not a city park, and I would like to think of the hiker community as being friendly, helpful, and safety conscious out there. I would rather check on someone if they appear to be having trouble, than ignore and pass them. Both pride and politeness can have unfortunate results. Also, people making recommendations for friends should make them with the knowledge of the person they're giving "advice" to.

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Bosterson
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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by Bosterson » April 16th, 2018, 2:51 pm

Lurch wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 2:15 pm
I would rather check on someone if they appear to be having trouble, than ignore and pass them. Both pride and politeness can have unfortunate results.
I think this is pretty simple within the context of the article being discussed - it's not really about "safety" issues or anything like that, but rather that the woman, who self-describes as "fat," gets a lot of unsolicited comments from strangers telling her she's "almost there" (did she ask?) or that she looks like she should "rest" (is she unable to gauge her own level of fatigue?), which - presumably - are based on the strangers' assumptions based on how she looks.

I don't think anyone would contend that you shouldn't let other hikers know if there's a bear or a wasp nest up the trail, or if the trail washed out off a cliff (and there are no signs about this, and/or it's not obvious), or if there are freak weather conditions that aren't obvious from below, or if someone is standing on top of a sketchy cornice and don't know it, etc. (That said, there is no guarantee doing this will work - I once encountered a couple on the low part of Defiance who had tank tops and shorts and 1/4 of a water bottle between the two of them, with no packs or jackets, and tried to convince them that the freezing rain up on the summit might make for a bad day given their level of preparedness, but they brushed me off.)

Lurch - I would be very interested in hearing about legit examples of situations where a person who eventually met with misfortune should unambiguously have been "warned" by other hikers about something that wasn't a special circumstance like those listed above. But in the context of this discussion, I would still contend that if you encounter a huffing, overweight, out of shape, or otherwise non-normative person on a normal, safe, generic trail (like, say, Dog Mountain), no comment on your impression of them (like, say, that they need encouragement, or that they should take a breather) is necessary. Say hello and continue on your way unless they engage you in conversation. There's wiggle room for people who look lost or something, but, again, this shouldn't really be an issue on well traveled, popular trails.
Will hike off trail for fun.

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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by Lurch » April 16th, 2018, 6:05 pm

I wasn't posting as a commentary on other's replies necessarily, I was more hoping to expand the conversation, since I think it's worthy of being expanded.

As for a example from years back, a few guys were attempting to summit Larch long after the snow gate was closed. They started at the bottom where there was no snow, in shorts, t-shirts and running shoes, with no packs or gear to speak of beyond their cell phone and maybe a water bottle. They hit snow shortly after Basin Rd, but continued up, passing multiple hikers on their way down, but talking to none. Sunset came, and they continued up, using their phone as their only light source, with the plan to "hitch hike down from the top back to Multnomah Lodge". We ended up finding and pulling them out about a mile from the top of Larch, in thigh deep snow, one had even walked out of his shoes but was too cold to bother looking for them, they just continued walking.

All ended fine for those guys, but there were people that saw them going up, saw their "gear", and passed them without saying a word about what they were heading into. I'm not saying it's common, I'm not blaming anyone for not talking to people. And at best it's superficially related to the article, since that wasn't really the issue discussed there. I just wanted to expand the conversation. It's very easy for someone to take offense if a stranger questions their ability. It's also easy not to say something when your gut says you should. Beyond just the gorge, you can't look at people with heart attacks, diabetic episodes, hypothermia, hyperthermia, etc... all things that can easily alter your cognitive abilities and think that none of them ever passed someone along the trail. All I'm saying is don't let an article like this scare you from talking to someone, especially if you think there may be reason for concern.

Steve20050
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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by Steve20050 » April 17th, 2018, 3:30 am

Lurch wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 2:15 pm
Bosterson wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 5:39 pm
Steve20050 wrote:
April 15th, 2018, 4:37 pm
I often stop to talk to people when I do run into someone. Just a matter of courtesy.
One thing to note is that offering unsolicited "encouragement" to strangers is generally poor form. (I'm not trying to imply Steve is doing this; it's just on the topic of taking to people on the trails.) Further, with respect to people recommending, unsolicited, that strangers (whether or not their looks diverge from the REI catalog norm) take a "rest" - well, we already have a word for people who say stuff like that to strangers: they're called assholes. I feel like that kind of patronizing is a generational thing (kids these days have their heads in Instagram and don't even give you a courtesy hello), though Chip, since you claim to be getting old, maybe you're guilty of it. :lol:
On the flip side of this... I begs the question, when is it appropriate, and what is an appropriate way to warn someone that they may be treading a path they're not prepared for? Many people have been 'saved' by fellow hikers warning them about conditions ahead or a perceived lack of preparedness and 'convincing' them to turn around... Many have had encountered serious issues, despite passing dozens who could have warned them. Those people who noted, thought about, and could have warned, but chose not to out of politeness have their own burdens to bear if they find out that person never returned.

I mean this with utmost sincerity, and it's not to discourage anyone from enjoying the wilderness. But it's not a city park, and I would like to think of the hiker community as being friendly, helpful, and safety conscious out there. I would rather check on someone if they appear to be having trouble, than ignore and pass them. Both pride and politeness can have unfortunate results. Also, people making recommendations for friends should make them with the knowledge of the person they're giving "advice" to.
When I said I often stop and talk to people. It is when I'm on what I would call a more social trail where there are other folks that your going to encounter. It isn't usually something I initiate. I pass by if they have no eye contact or don't say anything. I leave it up to them. However many people are actually interested in taking a break and chatting for a moment in my experience.


Unfortunately I have had this experience. A couple years back I decided to head out to Signal Buttes area. I was headed out towards Frazier Turn around and the weather was socked in blowing cold with some lite snow. I decided it was a bad choice to continue on foot over the Butte to the rock outcrops in those conditions alone. When I came back to the junction there was a car with lights on parked at the junction. I thought it odd and decided not to investigate and left the area. It was a lady who decided to leave her car later and turned up missing. They later found her dead at the base of a cliff she had fallen from. She was totally unprepared for what she was doing. I called the sheriffs office and they basically said you can't second guess these issues. They were right, but it didn't make me feel much better. I understand that the just of this article is different, but there are certainly times people put themselves in harms way. I certainly have and have been fortunate to not have suffered a worse fate. :)

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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by Webfoot » April 17th, 2018, 9:52 pm

Lurch wrote:
April 16th, 2018, 6:05 pm
They hit snow shortly after Basin Rd, but continued up, passing multiple hikers on their way down, but talking to none. Sunset came, and they continued up, using their phone as their only light source, with the plan to "hitch hike down from the top back to Multnomah Lodge". We ended up finding and pulling them out about a mile from the top of Larch, in thigh deep snow, one had even walked out of his shoes but was too cold to bother looking for them, they just continued walking.
I've gotten myself into trouble by stubbornly following a preexisting plan, but holy monkeys I've got nothing on that! Was hypothermia involved in this? It's hard to imagine soldiering on like that in right mind.

viking
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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by viking » April 18th, 2018, 10:24 am

I didn't read the article so I won't directly comment on it. But I think that we are each others keeper and it is only common curtesy for pleasantries when approaching others -less in more crowded areas- more when less are around-. Some don't want to talk and a smile and nod are sufficient others want to chat. Being that I've been on a couple trails over the years and I have had the opportunity instruct outdoor education in a couple forms I pay attention to whom I run into. True both unsolicited advice and pom-pom waving cheerleading are very often more unproductive than useful, but there is 2% of the people on the trail that giving advice to can be of value.
Late one morning descending Larch I passed some adults, said hi then continued. A little while further I came across a group of kids. Chatting with them I quickly learned, this hiking stuff if fun, no one in the group- parents I had passed earlier included- had ever hiked before, they were heading to Multnomah falls and then returning to their car on top of Larch. Flashing red lights. I turned them around and made them hike quickly up hill until we met up with the adults. Without lecturing I tried to explain their fallacy. At first they were not happy but mom listened and was not interested in doing the equivalent of 10 US bank towers, the last part in the dark. After it clicked they thanked me profusely. I've also turned many groups around on the Nesmith trail who are looking for the waterfalls. Yes, there has been push back from tough boy friends but the smarter girl friends always thank me upon learning they wanted the other trail.

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obera
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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by obera » April 18th, 2018, 12:32 pm

I don't know everyone who has been posting here - is there anybody who isn't a cis white het male?

Let's add a woman's voice to the discussion:

I'm a decent hiker. I know my stuff. I also happen to be a curvy woman who is queer, though you wouldn't likely know the queer thing by looking at me. It's not the thing I feel is most important about me.

With that said - I get mansplained every.single.time I hike. I just laugh it off. Honestly, most of the people who mansplain me end up asking me for advice about something once they realize I know my stuff. The people who don't mansplain and just say hey? We often end up having a fun conversation about hiking and I usually learn about a cool new place to hike.

Over the years I've had varying levels of fitness, but I'm able to 'hike my own hike' and embrace my curves because I've never felt marginalized as a 'fat queer' ladyhiker. I can absolutely understand how not seeing diversity on the trails can lead to feeling marginalized.

I've heard a lot of conversation on trails from hikers who are really shredding people for clothing, gear, footwear etc. It certainly doesn't make for a comfortable atmosphere.

What's the solution? Who knows. Maybe just be friendly. To everyone. Give the benefit of the doubt. Say hey. If somebody says hey to you, respond back. IMO it goes both ways.

We hikers can be competitive. Further..faster..more EG.. let's do a double... no a triple!! To a newbie, that can be off putting and make it tough to want to dive in to find the hikers who aren't in that competitive group.

I don't see a ton of people on the trails who look like me. I rarely see solo women when I hike. Most of the people I come across wonder how I can hike alone - men and women. I rarely see POC when I hike.

Our trails just aren't diverse - and all she did was call it out.



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Guy
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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by Guy » April 18th, 2018, 4:37 pm

obera wrote:
April 18th, 2018, 12:32 pm
I don't know everyone who has been posting here - is there anybody who isn't a cis white het male?
I'm a old fart so I had to google the term cis white het male, it turns out I am one :)
Though on virtually every hike I go on women outnumber men, Asians outnumber whites and immigrants outnumber Americans :)

My experience has been a little different I see a lot of solo women hiking out there especially this year and last. In fact I'd say in our hikes so far this year I've seen more solo women hikers than men.

I'm a social hiker I rarely hike alone, I almost always nod or say high to folks on the trail. If someone is huffing and puffing up the trail regardless of their size or gender and if they seem to be a friendly sort I'll may make some funny comment about being almost there or not almost there. Perhaps a few have been offended by this but most have joined in the joke.

I'll also offer unsolicited advise IF I think someone is out of their depth, I guess this could be seen as "mansplaining" but so be it. Last year I tried to talk a father and his two sons from doing the Timberline trail in June when it was still hopelessly snow covered. We met them at the muddy fork crossing as the sun was going down and after just a few minutes of talking to them I knew that they were not prepared for what they were planning to do. They could not even figure out how to cross the Muddy Fork yet were determined to continue.
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Don Nelsen
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Re: hiking community fails to embrace fat queer hikers

Post by Don Nelsen » April 18th, 2018, 6:45 pm

I hike a lot (47 hikes and 265 miles YTD) so I see a lot of folks on the trail and almost always at least nod but usually offer a hello. Sometimes I get into conversations but not too often. I see people barefoot, in flip flops, in high heels (only on the Multnomah Falls trail), taking a break while sitting in poison oak and once in a while I see people who are obviously out of shape and/or over their heads. Still, this is their business and they surely don't need me commenting. (Although, I do advise on the poison oak thing when I see someone in it!)

On the other hand, being an obviously old guy, as well as a cis white het male I have on occasion gotten comments like "good job" and "way to go". About ten years ago I was even asked my age as I was running down the Lassen Mt. Trail and stopped briefly to let some hikers pass on the way up. People make judgments based on appearances that don't always fit with reality. This does not bother me in the least. We are all different, have different abilities and fitness levels and I try not to let outward appearances color my perceptions of others. I don't ask that of others though. No worries.

Just like Guy commented, I also see lots of women hikers and many solo women hikers. I think more women that men, too. I almost never see a black hiker: I can count on one hand how many I've seen outside of the most popular gorge trails over the years. I don't know why and that's fine. There is nothing I can see that is stopping anyone from going hiking if that is what they want to do. Today, on Dog Mt. I saw one Hispanic, a half dozen probably Japanese folks, a half dozen little kids, about ten dogs and about an even mix of women and men possibly tilted a little more towards more women than men. After reading comments in earlier posts on this thread I paid attention today and reflected on recent hikes as well.

Then there was this:

A few years ago I was hiking up the Mt. McLoughlin trail starting a few minutes after 5 PM. I passed three people on the way up, a couple 40-ish and an older man. I could see they were not going to make to summit but said nothing, figuring they would figure it out and turn around. On the way back down I encountered them again about 1/2 way back and the two younger people were helping the older man down the trail. He was stumbling and making very little headway. They asked for my help, explaining that they were five hours overdue and had no lights.</r> Well, this was a trail run for me and I had no light either so I took down the older gentleman's phone number and promised to call his wife when I got back to the TH and call for help.

I had to run hard just to get back before total darkness myself (it was about 2 1/2 miles from where I left them) and called the man's wife. She was very happy to hear from me and said she was very worried and had already called the state police and they would likely want to get an update from me. I gave her my number and in a few minutes heard back from the state police and explained the situation. They initiated a SAR operation and I stayed in contact with them and SAR for the next four hours.
I realized that none of these people were experienced or at all prepared so decided to make the best of it for them. I had some equipment in the car so took a couple of lights and some matches and headed back up the trail. By now it was close to 9 PM and I was already tired from a 300 mile drive that day and a Mt. St. Helens climb two days prior but what the heck, I was the only one who could help at that point so just did it.

I found the group only a quarter mile farther down the trail from where I left them and the younger man had started to panic and was yelling for help as I approached. After they were all calmed back down, I let them know more help was coming and added my assistance to getting the older man down the trail. This slow progress was preferable to just sitting and waiting and gave us an excellent opportunity to get to know one another and forge a friendship out of adversity. At about midnight, the state police officer suggested we just sit down a wait as the SAR team was on their way. I found a nice spot with logs to sit on, lit a fire to warm us all up and sat them down to wait. Once I could see all was fine, I went on out arriving back at my car about 1 am, arriving back just as the SAR team got to the TH.

Should I have dissuaded them to continue when I first encountered them? Maybe, but I couldn't second guess their condition or when they were going to turn around at that point and I knew I'd see them again anyway. The bottom line is that it all ended well and the local paper even did a story. Plus I got a very nice letter a few days later from both the older man and his wife.

Image A few errors in this story, but that's the news media for ya. I wrote the story I've just told down the next day at breakfast so my rendition is accurate though I've left out unnecessary details.

dn
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