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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I love unspoilt nature. It was my high school dream to backpack across Australia and to find a secluded beach in the middle of nowhere, and to settle my life over there. Thr backcountry scenery in Washington is my favorite on earth. Unfortunately it seems to attract a particular kind of resident. I was looking for access to a fork of a once abundant puget sound steelhead river and found something promising, only to be greeted with a Google review stating "if you aren't from here, don't come here, we don't like you". Other posts here mention being shot at while fishing.

How do you enjoy seclusion in nature without falling victim to a backcountry murder scene out of a crime story? I anxiously am awaiting to open carry a handgun after I turn 21, but even then there are many crazies it wouldn't deter. It really seems that if you want to enjoy nature, there's always barriers. Downriver is full of junkies on almost every puget sound wayer system. Upriver you're alone with no one except locals who often mean harm. Touristy areas have crowds, and puget sound beaches can never offer that true unspoilt wilderness.

In cities, I'm able to use my gut to discern if a place is safe or not. Is there a way to get an idea of how safe you are in the backcountry? Are certain parts of the backcountry safer than others? Do you guys have any suggestions for places specifically to avoid?
 

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I have both combat fished the Kenai for salmon and its Russian tributary for rainbows behind the sockeyes on their spawning beds. Off your topic a bit, I feared less the gun-toting yahoos than the potential for violence from a territorial Brown bear chasing the sockeye run. To that end, we fished the Russian with a short barrel 12 ga. containing two loads of birdshot and 3 slugs... just in case.
BTW, that first-day fishing they had to shut down the state-run campground there because a black bear had pulled a man from his tent the night before and mauled him to death.

Water Head Brown bear Eye Kodiak bear
 

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Upriver you're alone with no one except locals who often mean harm. Touristy areas have crowds, and puget sound beaches can never offer that true unspoilt wilderness.
I have done most of my salmon fishing for Salmo salar (leaping Atlantics) in New Brunswick and Quebec. Like British Columbia non-residents must have a guide. The locals that I met in this part of Canada became some of my best friends.
You're saying that West Coast locals don't take kindly to tourists. Wonder why?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have done most of my salmon fishing for Salmo salar (leaping Atlantics) in New Brunswick and Quebec. Like British Columbia non-residents must have a guide. The locals that I met in this part of Canada became some of my best friends.
You're saying that West Coast locals don't take kindly to tourists. Wonder why?
A few personal negative experiences and many second hand ones
 

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McFly
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I love unspoilt nature. It was my high school dream to backpack across Australia and to find a secluded beach in the middle of nowhere, and to settle my life over there. Thr backcountry scenery in Washington is my favorite on earth. Unfortunately it seems to attract a particular kind of resident. I was looking for access to a fork of a once abundant puget sound steelhead river and found something promising, only to be greeted with a Google review stating "if you aren't from here, don't come here, we don't like you". Other posts here mention being shot at while fishing.

How do you enjoy seclusion in nature without falling victim to a backcountry murder scene out of a crime story? I anxiously am awaiting to open carry a handgun after I turn 21, but even then there are many crazies it wouldn't deter. It really seems that if you want to enjoy nature, there's always barriers. Downriver is full of junkies on almost every puget sound wayer system. Upriver you're alone with no one except locals who often mean harm. Touristy areas have crowds, and puget sound beaches can never offer that true unspoilt wilderness.

In cities, I'm able to use my gut to discern if a place is safe or not. Is there a way to get an idea of how safe you are in the backcountry? Are certain parts of the backcountry safer than others? Do you guys have any suggestions for places specifically to avoid?
As I’m now getting older I’m avoiding going out alone. Both for the concerns you mention as well as just for general safety. I used to work in the ER and have seen a lot of the shit that can happen to people.
 

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Life is too short for so many fears. In backcountry, I wear a 357 revolver on my hip and pack the 10 essentials and a few other items depending on trip. I never focus on fear. Just focus on being prepared and then enjoying my time out there.

I think if you are in true backcountry, the biggest fear would be injury. Sliding down a long shale slide area. Slipping off a ledge. Twisting or breaking an ankle. You can take precautions against bears, people, the elements - but you get hurt, now what? Only real option there is to not go alone. That also helps the other risks usually. But not always possible. So mitigate the risk best you can by considering potential risks and how you would handle them. Backcountry first aid and equipment. Also, leave a detailed plan with someone back home (where you are going and when they should expect you back, etc) and one in the car.

Also, I would never let an online bully keep me from a fishing spot. 99% of the time those are bluffs just hoping to reduce number of fisherman showing up. "I don't like you either, deal with it".
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I actually ended up in a legitimately scary backcountry situation yesterday. Me and two friends hiked Blanca Lake. It was a mistake as one of the group was absolutely not conditioned for the hike. It was a struggle for me but I managed at a snails pace, and spent too much time at the lake. We got back to the trailhead in the dark, and I took a wrong turn. I knew it was a wrong turn but my friends were so confident that we were going right that I didn't argue. I mentioned that it would lead us to the washed out Index Gallena road. I absolutely should have stopped right then and pulled out my topographical map. We turned around, and made our way back to the end of the road that lead to the trailhead, and got back on the correct road. My friends were extremely anxious, one had a panic attack. I was completely calm until sometime after I turned around from the washed out section of Index-Galena and realized that it was possible that I wouldn't be able to find the trailhead again. We managed to find it without making a wrong turn, and around this point we realized my built in GPS was working. We followed the GPS back to highway 2. In the moment, it was stressful. This morning I woke up and took a look at the maps from Blanca Lake trailhead and I am now positively terrified about the situation we were in. If my cars GPS did not correctly work, there were no less than 7 forks in the roads that could have taken us down a wrong road, including Jack Pass, which is a 5 way intersection. A single error could have compounded. Worse, I had a quarter tank of gas left.

Looking up close at the Satellite photo, our best bet without GPS would have been to follow the gravel road that showed the most signs of use, as NF65 did.

Oh yeah, and the angry locals I was so worried about were the least of my concerns. I met a gentleman at the Skykomish and told him the story of what happened, he offered to help me check my tire pressure, but he realized he left his tool at home. Some of the other bougie Seattle hikers we encountered were the biggest assholes
 

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I actually ended up in a legitimately scary backcountry situation yesterday. Me and two friends hiked Blanca Lake. It was a mistake as one of the group was absolutely not conditioned for the hike. It was a struggle for me but I managed at a snails pace, and spent too much time at the lake. We got back to the trailhead in the dark, and I took a wrong turn. I knew it was a wrong turn but my friends were so confident that we were going right that I didn't argue. I mentioned that it would lead us to the washed out Index Gallena road. I absolutely should have stopped right then and pulled out my topographical map. We turned around, and made our way back to the end of the road that lead to the trailhead, and got back on the correct road. My friends were extremely anxious, one had a panic attack. I was completely calm until sometime after I turned around from the washed out section of Index-Galena and realized that it was possible that I wouldn't be able to find the trailhead again. We managed to find it without making a wrong turn, and around this point we realized my built in GPS was working. We followed the GPS back to highway 2. In the moment, it was stressful. This morning I woke up and took a look at the maps from Blanca Lake trailhead and I am now positively terrified about the situation we were in. If my cars GPS did not correctly work, there were no less than 7 forks in the roads that could have taken us down a wrong road, including Jack Pass, which is a 5 way intersection. A single error could have compounded. Worse, I had a quarter tank of gas left.

Looking up close at the Satellite photo, our best bet without GPS would have been to follow the gravel road that showed the most signs of use, as NF65 did.

Oh yeah, and the angry locals I was so worried about were the least of my concerns. I met a gentleman at the Skykomish and told him the story of what happened, he offered to help me check my tire pressure, but he realized he left his tool at home. Some of the other bougie Seattle hikers we encountered were the biggest assholes
Just remember people in felt hats and less teeth than you, went much further with a whole lot less 100 years ago. If they did you will be fine. There is more to fear from being in the city than anywhere else. Go outside, pay attention to your surroundings, practice navigation and enjoy!
 
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