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[pct-l] Guns, cougars, etc.

Here's my take on the recent discussion about guns:  
I assume the idea of carrying a gun is to maximize one's personal safety and
minimize the chance of death due to predatory attach by animal or human.
What about the other hazards out there on the trail?  A long distance hiker
is exposed to such things as weather, fording creeks, falls from steep
trails or mountains, avalanche, equipment failure, accute illness, and the
list goes on.  Your personal safety is not guaranteed out there on the
trail! Toting a heavy six-shooter may make a hiker feel more powerful, but I
feel the risk to the other elements is greater and a gun will offer you no
protection from them.  I always assume that while hiking the trail there is
some risk involved.  I can't eliminate all chances of problems, but one of
the reasons I go on long hikes is to test my wits against the varioous
potential hazards.  With that said, most of the deaths and injuries I have
heard of on the PCT are the result of making less than intelligent choices.
As an example, the young man found dead on the PCT just south of Belden in
'96 was in his tent without a rainfly in a snowstorm.  His poor choice or
use of gear is what killed him.  Your best weapon against a mishap on the
PCT is good thinking!  Be prepared, and have fun!

Roger Carpenter
Mexico >> Canada '96

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