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sequoia hike

Sequoia National Park

Here’s my next piece in a monthly contribution to Mountain Hiking. (Last month’s is here.) I initially wrote about my hike alone in Sequoia National Park the day after my hike—three years ago—as part of my memoir. Since then it has been revised and this is an excerpt:

Hiking Alone in Sequoia

In preparation for my trip to Sequoia National Park I read a lot about hiking—alone—in the California wilderness. Being a single girl in my twenties and traveling solo, I wanted to learn everything I could about Western wildlife. Books and websites were a regular carousel of advice:

Avoid hiking alone. If you see a mountain lion, stand your ground, smile (it will think you’re baring your teeth) and fight back with your bare hands.

Avoid hiking alone. If you come across a bear, never turn your back.

Avoid hiking alone. Keep all food sealed.

When I stopped in the ranger’s office to ask what trails were safe to hike alone, she assured me they had never had a bear kill anyone in the history of the park. My response: Maybe no one was killed, but I bet they were mauled. I sure didn’t want to live with a permanent bear paw across my face.

A woman in the lobby admired postcards and ate Reese’s Pieces. I got a strong whiff of her peanut butter breath. Whatever trail she was going on I was avoiding. She was bear bait. Read the full story here.

Side note: Speaking of hikes out west, as a follow up to my Valentine’s Day post, the mystery locale that I surprised my boyfriend with is Lake Tahoe! We’ll be going out there later this spring.