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FYI missing hiker in GA
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charlie babbage
(babbage) - F
FYI missing hiker in GA on 01/03/2008 16:15:39 MST Print View

John Haley
(Quoddy) - F

Locale: New York/Vermont Border
Look 5 posts down on 01/03/2008 16:19:48 MST Print View

Already posted

David Wills
(willspower3) - F
Re: FYI missing hiker in GA on 01/04/2008 14:05:18 MST Print View

thats spooky. my girlfriend and I did the Vogel to Blood Mt. thing the 29th and 30th.

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Not sounding good on 01/04/2008 20:13:24 MST Print View

The story is not sounding good. They have found a 'person of interest' and her dog (miles from each other, but both found recently). Not good at all.

Paul Huhn
(trlhiker) - F

Locale: Eastern NC
missing on 01/05/2008 11:25:24 MST Print View

Could not find other post but it looks very bad for the young woman. There are big discusions about this over on whiteblaze and trailtalk. Looks like the guy they picked up appears to possible be the guilty party.

Steve O
(HechoEnDetroit) - F

Locale: South Kak
Re: Missing Hiker in GA on 01/05/2008 11:43:08 MST Print View

More info here

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: Missing Hiker in GA on 01/05/2008 19:30:15 MST Print View

Pamela Wyant
(RiverRunner) - F - M
Update on 01/06/2008 00:33:22 MST Print View

The authorities have now arrested Gary Michael Hilton and charged him with kidnapping with intent to do bodily harm.

Her wallet, driver's license, and bloody clothing believed to be hers were found in a dumpster.

It is believed she is no longer alive. Link to details:

Jesse Glover
(hellbillylarry) - F

Locale: southern appalachians
Missing hiker in GA on 01/07/2008 17:11:35 MST Print View

I have been following this story from the start since I live in GA and hike at Vogel all the time. I keep thinking maybe if she were carrying a firearm we would be reading about a dead MAN and not about a missing female hiker. I may get flamed for this but maybe women should really consider wether it is safe for them to hike solo. I mean there were lots of people on the trail it was new years day on what is probably the most overused section of trail in georgia and this still happened.

Anitra Kass
(Anitraten) - F

Locale: SoCal
Missing Hiker on 01/07/2008 18:01:43 MST Print View

I am flamming you...
I have hiked pretty extensively and I have done quite a bit of it solo and I have to tell you that I can't imagine carrying a gun unless I was actually going hunting (which I"ve never done...but that's a whole other thread). I am in no way trying to tell others to either carry a gun or to not carry a what you think is necessary and obey local rules and ordinances (ie. don't carry one in a national park).

When watching the news that past few evening (something I've stopped doing since there is hardly ever any good news) I've noticed lots of violence stories in cities and suburbs every night but lately only one violence against hiker story. Most of these violence stories deal with gun violence so again, I don't think having a gun would have necessarily helped her.

If we unfortunately find that she has met an untimely demise, I think that best thing that we can do is catch the person who did it (ok, I'll leave that for the police) and learn from it, take stock about what we do carry that we can use as weapons for self defense, constantly stay alert to the things going on around you and go with your gut instinct about a person or situation. I also think that it is important to make a game plan with the hopes that you never have to use it. I do this all of the time when I hitch into a town to resupply. I have a system of what I have to have on my person in the event that I need to open the door of the car and bail out while my pack is in the trunk. I've never had to use that game plan but I've come close, once.

In closing, the entire scenario is unfortunate but I don't think carrying a gun is a good or necessary fix. Both men and women hikers should carry what makes them feel comfortable being out there. I don't think I flammed you too bad did I?

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Re: Missing Hiker on 01/07/2008 18:59:28 MST Print View

Well said Anitra.

During my solo trek in Joshua Tree over the holidays, I met a young woman who was camping solo at an established, albiet small, site. I shared her fire for one night (that's not a double entendre) and we talked at length about this topic.

I think anyone, especially a solo woman, would be better armed with:
A self-protective sense of surroundings/strangers and clear intentions for the trip/trail.
Practical self-defense classes.
Pepper spray.

Honestly, I don't trust people to carry a firearm intended for self-defense. I don't believe the average training with such weapons provides sufficient psychological preparation in the "real world" scenarios they are taking responsibility for. Go ahead and flame me. Hehe.


Edited by uberkatzen on 01/07/2008 19:00:25 MST.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
FYI missing hiker in GA on 01/07/2008 19:19:29 MST Print View

I agree with Jesse, and this is related to the earlier and popular thread about carrying a self-defence firearm in the backcountry. If she was trained and packing we might be reading about a hiker who killed a guy in self defense instead of this terrible outcome.
The weapon I personally chose, a Beretta Vertec, has a small enough trigger reach to easily be used by me or my female hiking companion.

John S.
(jshann) - F
R.I.P. Meredith Emerson on 01/07/2008 19:36:11 MST Print View

Body of missing Buford hiker found....R.I.P. Meredith Emerson

Edited by jshann on 01/07/2008 19:48:02 MST.

Anitra Kass
(Anitraten) - F

Locale: SoCal
Missing Hiker on 01/07/2008 19:38:57 MST Print View

I've never hiked with a hiker who carried a gun. I am curious as to where you carry it and in what kind of holster? Do you both carry your own fire arms or do you share one? Do you carry it when you hike solo or only with your female hiking partner? Thanks (I'm not flamming you yet, I really am curious).

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Re: FYI missing hiker in GA on 01/07/2008 19:42:44 MST Print View

Hilton will likely go with an insanity defense since he has a history of mental illness. I don't think it will work in this case. At any rate, he will spend the rest of his pathetic life in prison >: (

Edited by jshann on 01/07/2008 19:47:23 MST.

mark henley
(flash582) - F
missing hiker on 01/07/2008 20:08:47 MST Print View

The young lady's body was found tonight ... a sad ending

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Re: FYI missing hiker in GA on 01/07/2008 21:25:53 MST Print View

At the risk of dredging up the Guns thread...

How, exactly, do you imagine an encouter with a psycho in the wilderness to play out?

1) Crazy-eyed, long-haired man steps out of the bush 100 yards down the trail and stares you down. You tell him firmly not to attack you while simultaneously unsnapping the holster of your Peacemaker out of view. He ignores your commands, and starts walking towards you at a steady pace. You draw your Colt, raise it with both hands, and again command him to stop and not threaten your constitutional right to personal safety. He continues, unfazed by the sight of the hardened-steel double-action Equalizer that is clasped in your hands. You command him to stop a third time, but by this time he is 20 yards from you and you know in your heart that it is time to act. You take aim at his left knee, squeeze-rather-than-pull the trigger, and there is a deafening crack as the gun leaps in the air and you are jolted by the recoil. When you regain your senses, you realize that this maniac is still limping towards you, his left knee shattered by your miraculous marksmanship. No you know it's serious, and that this man is seriously deranged. He will probably hurt you or worse. You steel yourself, think of your family, and aim your Hand Cannon directly at center mass. Another even squeeze on the trigger, another jolt of recoil, and as the gun comes back down you realize that your attacker is stone cold dead. It was you or him; you had to act.


2) Lunatic understands that most successful crimes are committed by people we know and/or trust. He's neatly dressed, tells jokes, and has a slice of upside-down cake ready to share with you when you roll into camp. Because being insane does not automatically make you into a bumbling cartoon villain.


3) Lunatic understands that he is in America, and if he gives you advanced warning of his lunacy he might end up with a severe case of lead poisoning. So instead he hides and waits (he is in the forest after all). Because being insane does not automatically make you into a cowboy film villain, sidling into the town square at noon for a showdown.

I would also suggest two other scenarios, for your review and consideration:

4) The villain really does give you time to reach for a weapon with shaky hands, (because they will shake; even marines shake,) unsnap it, draw it, make it ready to fire, level it on your enemy, close your left eye, find the front and rear sights, estimate range, aim at center mass, then squeeze the trigger *evenly* without disrupting your aim. What happens next? He dies, right? No: he happened to be moving at the time, and your shot didn't even come close to the very small human center mass. Neither did your 4 panicking followup shots, because your aim does not improve with increasing panic.

5) Some angry, drunk misogynistic men come upon your camp in the evening.
a) you gun is visible: they become angrier. You either shoot them for the crime of being drunk, or wait until they grab you and it's too late
b) you gun is hidden: you have to produce it because it will be too late if they try to grab you. They become angrier. You either shoot them for the crime of being drunk, or wait until they grab you and it's too late
c) you gun is in your pack or tent: all your mentally-rehearsed self-protection strategies have suddenly been negated because you don't wear a holster around camp


What if you just left your artillery at home and thought about reading situations, judging strangers' characters, and wearing pepper spray if you're really afraid? After all, if you fail at those tasks, it's unlikely that you have the wits to save the day with a Six Shooter. Guns are hard to use at the best of times.

I was really looking forward to exploring the Wonderland trail in Washington, but thanks to this thread and the Guns thread I'm scared out of my mind to talk to an American woman who is alone.

What if I reach to shake hands and I wind up spending the last seconds of my life breathing through my sternum?

After all, can you gun-toters ever trust a smiling man who is reaching towards you?

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
PS on 01/07/2008 21:39:30 MST Print View

PS I do not mean to minimize or trivialize the fear that women (and men) feel when alone in a strange place. Real, bad things do happen to good people.

Further, if you lined every man who had ever raised a hand to a woman up against a brick wall, I'd gladly shoot each one in the crotch. Just tell me the time and the place.

But strutting around the forest with a loaded gun and thinking you're somehow safer is a recipe for terrible things to happen.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Anitra, answer on 01/07/2008 21:49:03 MST Print View

In Arizona it is legal to carry unconcealed (with provisos). If hiking with a female partner, I carried a Beretta Vertec, strong arm side(RHS), in a nylon quick release belt holster. I carried 15x9mm plus one in the chamber; condition 1 (Magazine inserted, round in chamber, slide forward, and safety on). With the Vertec, it is physically impossible for the weapon to fire with the safety engaged, thus safe to carry in this condition.
It is not unusual to see civilians with guns in Arizona; although native Arizonans carry much more frequently than people who moved there from other states.

In the S.E. US I had a concealed carry permit. But that was before I started hiking; it was just for urban conflict resolution management.

I wish I did not feel the need to carry, but in the US I knew three people who have been shot, including a friend shot dead in his driveway in front of his wife and baby. I feel so terrible for Ms. Emerson and her surviving family members.

Brian, security considerations are different in some parts of the US than in the south of BC. If I told you the story of my friends demise it would seem much more bizzare and improbable than the imaginary scenarios you mentioned in your post, yet it happened.

For a female hiking alone who wants to carry, I would recommend an NRA couse, and frequent range-practice with a small caliber revolver. It is unfortunate we live in times like these, but nothing evens up the odds better than a pistol when your opponent is unarmed. Michael does have a good point; some people are not psychologically prepared to pull the trigger; such people should not carry.

I now live in Japan; happily, this country is so safe I have no need to carry a weapon.

Edited by Brett1234 on 01/07/2008 22:10:51 MST.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
N/M on 01/07/2008 23:30:28 MST Print View


Edited by ben2world on 01/07/2008 23:41:27 MST.