We recently had a conversation with a local tradesman who was doing some work on our house. When he saw that we had lots of camping and backpacking equipment in the house, he asked about that.
Turns out he was really interested in backpacking and wanted a lot of advice. So we chatted for many minutes, and gave him what advice we could. It was a fun conversation, and we finished it up by handing him a card with the web address of this site. So if you see him hanging around here, be nice to him!
But one topic he was really interested in: what kind of sidearm did we carry in the mountains?
So we told him--- we never carried a gun in the mountains, or anywhere else. And especially not in the mountains, where it would give even more meaning to the term dead weight.
He still insisted that he would pack heat.
We asked if he would carry it in his pack--in which case it would be completely out of reach in an emergency. Or would he carry it on his hip or shoulder---and how much fun would THAT be on a backpacking trip? And again, if it weren't loaded, in an emergency, what would be the point? If it WERE loaded, we hoped we'd be far away from him as he struggled to take his pack on and off with a loaded gun in a holster.
Well, he thought that was crazy. He was trained in the military, and he felt his personal safety was his responsibility.
So we asked him: What kind of sidearm do you carry when you are working around town, or going to the store?
He said he didn't carry one. There was no need./
We pointed out that there was a far, far higher chance of him being attacked or robbed in our town that in the backcountry of the High Sierra.
So if he didn't carry one in town, why would he carry that extra weight on a hiking trip in the Sierra, where the dangers were far less?
"I would just feel safer," he said.
And we resolved not to confuse him with any more facts.
For a discussion about the real dangers you might face on the trail, check out this section of our website. What you see might surprise you: https://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home/general-information/dangers-on-the-trail