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Thread: Single Travel

  1. #31
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Single Travel

    We have over a hundred sizable parks in a short distance - NP holdings (Pt Reyes, GGNRA), several large State Parks, many many Regional Parks and Open Spaces, some quite large too. I can only think of three or maybe four of them where crime is an issue - mostly smash-n-grab thefts of things unwisely left inside cars at conspicuous tourist "must-see" parking lots. I've parked at some of the same places hundreds of times without incident; but I drive an old truck without any hint of something of value inside. Yeah, there are a handful of movie-worthy exceptions from the wacky 70's of some psycho roaming around the woods - Zodiac and the Trailside Killer - but you've got about a 100,000% more likelihood of being assaulted in your own local shopping center. And muggers are a lot more interested in stealing a pair of cool tennis shoes than a pair of bird watching binoculars. Trails aren't their thing. What I worry more about are the little felons - ticks in season, nettles, poison oak, etc - all easily circumvented with a little common sense. Demographically, after decades of experience, it's on the trails that you seem to meet the nicest and least worrisome people, out to enjoy things themselves. Over the years a few rude jerks inevitably turn up, but that's the exception. Even critters are rarely a worry the further back you get; even black bears avoid human encounters unless they've been habituated by a junk food habit. I've had em feeding on berries all around me at night without them bothering me or my gear. ... but mice ....

  2. #32
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Re: Single Travel

    Ticks. I hate ticks.

  3. #33
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Single Travel

    I have camped alone in polar bear country in the Canadian far north (pre large format). I have also photographed in a number of cities at night. I felt safer in bear country. Obviously one needs situational awareness and you should be an experienced wilderness camper, take all reasonable precautions, etc. The only place I've ever felt I needed a firearm was New Orleans, so I left and came back to Canada.

  4. #34

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    Re: Single Travel

    Just read the news about that couple in their 50's from New Hampshire. Traveled around the country in their trailer until a few weeks ago. Gone missing. Bodies found buried in a beach in Texas and somebody drove their trailer to Mexico.

  5. #35
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Single Travel

    I have crossed South Texas off my escape winter map.

    That happens on both sides of the border.

    I gots stories.

    And I now camp in my backyard.

    Not kidding the new trailer is on the patio and itís staying there.



    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Zhang View Post
    Just read the news about that couple in their 50's from New Hampshire. Traveled around the country in their trailer until a few weeks ago. Gone missing. Bodies found buried in a beach in Texas and somebody drove their trailer to Mexico.
    sin eater

  6. #36

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    Re: Single Travel

    Wilderness is where few people are. When you are around few people, why worry about dangers from people? Crime is a per capita situation. No thief is going to drive into a national park, hike along a trail, then wait in ambush for someone toting a LF camera.

    There have been rare cases of criminals kidnapping women off trails and at rest area, and rare campground shootings though. I carry a gun, just because I can.

  7. #37

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    Re: Single Travel

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    Wilderness is where few people are. When you are around few people, why worry about dangers from people? Crime is a per capita situation. No thief is going to drive into a national park, hike along a trail, then wait in ambush for someone toting a LF camera.

    There have been rare cases of criminals kidnapping women off trails and at rest area, and rare campground shootings though. I carry a gun, just because I can.
    Of course! But criminal activity in an area is often well known, especially within National Parks---I once assisted on a particularly gruesome crime scene in Yosemite.
    Not so much outside the parks though, as the Chamber of Commerce folks don't like to "upset" the tourists. Whether or not you want to tour a known criminally active area by yourself should go with using common sense.

    FWIW, I see no attraction in visiting areas where cartels are actively murdering people!
    You don't have to visit a National Park, where criminal activity is traditionally low-- to be a victim of crime.

    Yosemite Valley on a summer night has the population of large and diverse city crammed into a very small area, but no one sleeps behind locked doors because tents don't have doors to lock. The greatest danger there seems to be getting swept over a waterfall while taking a selfie.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  8. #38
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Single Travel

    Both Sequoia NP and Yosemite NP have had major Cartel pot operations discovered inside park boundaries requiring serious swat team efforts to neutralize. It even happened in a particularly poison-oak infested part of Pt Reyes Natl Seashore, as well as one or more of our larger Regional Parks here. If you should happen to stumble onto one of these farms, back out as quietly as possible and say nothing to local law enforcement, but anonymously contact the FBI. It's no secret that local officials often get a piece of the action. That being said, the odds of a typical tourist or photographer encountering something like that is very low inside those particular Parks or along our beaches because the criminals have gone to great efforts to conceal them in hot very brushy areas devoid of trails, that almost nobody ever enters unless they're a masochist for thorns and ticks. They're often discovered by plane flyovers following forest fires, when camouflage roofing has burned off. A gun won't help you; they've got automatic weapons. But common sense will keep you safe. A bit of shiny roof in the middle of nowhere, or PVC pipe leading to a stream, or people in the distance suspiciously dressed in camo, are a giveaway. As a reporter, my sister was once allowed to accompany an FBI raid perimeter crew. The primary swat team dropped down via parachute before dawn. But other than instances like that, even a lifetime hiker like me with a phD in thorns n thistles n bushwhacking has never personally encountered something like this in an official Park or Wilderness Area. I did have several high school classmates who eventually ended up with exceptionally long sentences because of this kind of criminal forest activity. Of course, I've been careful to avoid areas which have that kind of reputation; and there are significant sections of Forest Service land in this state where it is common. Even the official website for Shasta-Trinity Natl Forest provides specific warnings. But neighbors of mine routinely go backpacking even there without fear of an incident. Marijuana simply doesn't grow in the snowy scenic alpine parts. Illegal pot is now the largest agricultural export of this extremely productive agricultural state, so it's no big secret. And when in doubt, just call the local FS or NP or BLM jurisdiction office in advance and inquire. I never feel the need to do so, because the high country and open desert, precipice-lined canyons, and and sweeping open ranch lands, are not logical places to hide pot patches and meth labs, Breaking Bad desert motorhome labs being fictional.

  9. #39

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    Re: Single Travel

    Meth labs, like honey oil, can be anywhere, but not plantations. San Bernardino and Kern counties seem to always be busting up lab operations.
    Decades ago there was a BLM meeting at a local school to discuss the reestablishment of the Old French Trail in Rattlesnake Canyon from the valley up to NFS land.
    One of the concerns was the likelihood of wildfires accidentally being started by hikers camping on the trail.
    Ol' Mert, a longtime cattleman in the area (I never saw him without his well worn Stetson pushed back on his head), tall, lanky and kind of shy---probably in his late 80s at the time---rocked back in his school desk and bellowed out "Thars nothin' going to burn up there, most of its on drip irrigation!"
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #40
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Single Travel

    Both of us knows what goes on around North Fork, John. There once were over twenty of acres of opium poppies just a few hundred yards behind the public landfill disposal operation, hidden by trees, but known and deliberately overlooked by the Forest Service office on the adjacent road on the other side. When the FBI finally busted it, and some guy was stupidly running right down the middle of the road covered in hot camo jacketing in 110 deg summer temps, the FS guard just let him go, as if nothing were suspicious. I probably grew up with at least some of those boneheads. Likewise, when a meth lab was busted down toward the Cold Springs Rancheria, the criminal tried to escape running right down the paved road, even though there were millions of acres of hills and forests around. These types aren't very bright, and the real operatives at the top are not likely to ever be on site. Prior to the grow it yerself craze, huge marijuana shipments were flown into remote airstrips in Mariposa County. Everybody knew the Sheriff was the kingpin; the locals called him "Boss Hawg". Makes no difference ... I've hiked more of those steep canyons and back woods than almost anyone else, sometimes with a huge pack with an 8x10 system in it. Getting completely away from people, even people with something to hide, is darn easy in that terrain. Unlike pot operations, meth labs tend to get ratted out rather quickly by locals due to the severe forest fire risk their chemicals impose. My side of the River, on the south side of the San Joaquin canyon, had its share of lowlifes too, but nowhere near the druggie activity as across the canyon around North Fork. Still, even 99.99% of that whole area itself, including the Sierra Scenic Byway, is largely uninhabited and unworrisome. For those unfamilar with the area, from up above, like the summit of Kaiser Peak, you can look across the conjunction of main canyons and see a little wart way down in there - it's actually a bigger dome than Half Dome in Yosemite! But you do have to be careful about real rattlesnakes at lower elevations.

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