Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Actually, you can carry a firearm in a National Park (if you have a concealed weapon permit valid in that particular state), but firing one is a no-no that will lead to expensive fines and jail time! Why bother to carry something you can't use?
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
When I was single I hiked solo a lot. Didn't worry a second about bugs, bears, snakes, any of the other calamities the guys at work teased me about. Worried about people. It's unnerving bumping into guys who feel the need to make comments like,"What's a young girl like you doing out here all alone?" I had a hard time sleeping at night in those cases. But in the end nothing ever happened.
Now I'm 48 yrs old and married, no more solo backpacking. Looking back, despite the sleepless nights, after all these years the only true near miss I've encountered was bumping into an out of control pit bull on the trail. Zero violent incidents.
In my "real" life (ie city life) in my younger days, I've had a car break in, a stolen purse, and a home burglary (thank goodness I wasn't home when it happened). Even once had a guy jump into my car and demand to be taken somewhere when I was stopped waiting to make a turn. Drove with doors locked ever since.
I agree with Balzaccom. Although I've never been a victim of violent crime, I think our odds are better in the wild.
Safety is something I believe needs constant vigilance. Interesting that this thread gets more woman adding to it. City life is out of control. I worry about my daughter. Feel like I need to get her out in the woods where it's safe. I have always thought of backpacking as an extension of prepping... visa versa I guess. I know it's not very pc in this forum community but the 2 things are so related, at least for me. Being prepared to handle a situation, on the trail or in the city has always been second nature to me. Even as a kid. (Too many Batman and Spiderman comics as a kid probably) I am constantly amazed at many people's lack of thought about safety, on trail or city but less seen on trail by virtue of the activities very nature. Prepping does not mean one has to be nuts about it as is seen on many a media with hoarding ammo and such, just as ultralight (or at least lightweight) does not have to mean cutting your toothbrush in half. There is, in my mind at least, a perfectly rational way to think about, address and prepare for worst case scenarios without being psycho or causing undo stress. Simply thinking thru some "what ifs" is a healthy thing. What would I need if... For example. Driving a car in Arizona without a little water in the trunk verges on complete idiocy in my opinion. Maybe a first aid kit and tow line or tarp or other shade - maker as well? It's fracking hot here and if you are out a ways...well, you get it. Likewise on the trail. The lady who mentioned "sleepless nights" because of creeps above. Exactly. What if? Being prepared might mitigate a bit of that feeling and help if the what if happened. So glad it never did. An oz of pepper spray beats a pound of worry. Maybe? I have only had one violent encounter out in the wilderness in over 40 years of backpacking. It is extremely rare. I don't give it a second thought, but I do give it a first thought.
Planning is important, and that begins with frame of mind (IMHO).
Where is "city life out of control?" Nationally, crime is at 30-40 year lows and trending downward, so if there's a city where that trend is reversed, I'd give serious consideration to moving away. Planning I can believe in.