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[at-l] Questions, questions, questions....

Stephanie wrote:
> CAREFUL, CAREFUL, CAREFUL!!  Plan ahead well, and try not to be on the
> trail by yourself. If you must go alone, learn to use a gun. I've lost
> two friends this way. unfortunately it's just not safe anymore. 
> I don't mean to sound like a downer, but we must face reality. Also, get
> a dog. A big dog. I have a white shepard (110 lbs) when someone comes
> near my campsite, he growls real low in his throat. (It's pretty spooky,
> and it has kept people away) Just be sensible, there are always other
> women who want to do this, but don't want to go alone. As a matter of
> fact, when you make your plans, e-mail me. I might do a portion with
> you. 

Stephanie -
You already got some answers - and you probably think you've been 
flamed, but keep in mind that this list has been through this  
particular discussion several times in the last 2 years. Before you 
get too upset about it, I'd suggest that you go to Section 6b of the 
Thruhiker Papers at URL: 

There's a section in there on weapons that you might want to read. In
fact, you sound like you need to read the whole section on safety and

Now I'm gonna tell you something you don't want to hear - I'd rather 
by far face your big dog than a gun in the hands of a nervous amateur. 
The dog is easily handled - a nervous amateur with a gun is the 
deadliest combination you'll ever run into. But that doesn't mean that
the nervous amateur is "safe".  It just means that no one else 
is.  Keep in mind that if you're talking about thruhiking, people fall 
into 2 general categories - they're either friendly or they just want 
to be left alone.  

For the most part the dog will scare off people who are friendly 
and a few of those who might wish you harm.  But I think the 
friends you lost might be the two women in the Shenandoah last 
year - am I right? And they had a dog with them.  Neither a gun 
nor a dog would have done them any good.  That's a flat statement 
that I'm gonna let stand as is.  If you want details on why that's 
so, get back to me privately. 

Last point - my wife and I met on the Trail in 92.  It was her 
second thruhike. She'd done the first one alone and fully intended 
to do the second one the same way, but it just didn't work out that 
way.  If you want to talk to her, let us know and we'll give you our 
phone number.  

Walk softly,

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