Harassed 

April 17, 2015

After the town of Safford, Arizona the route crosses a plot of private agricultural land near the Gila River. 

I’ve never had any problems with land owners or managers. In New Zealand, a farm manager offered me a meal and a place to stay. In the States, ranchers come out to say Hello. On this route, a rancher offered me a place to crash. 

Today I was scared though because a farm’s employee sexually harassed me. 

I was walking a dirt road between plots, removed from civilization, when I spot a John Deere tractor approach me from behind. I assume it’s the farm manager coming to see what I’m up to and stop walking. But it’s not the manager. 

When I tell him what I’m up to-walking from Phoenix to Albuquerque- he says he’ll drive me there RIGHT NOW. “No, I’m walking,” I have to say over and over. He doesn’t get it. Then he says he wants to take me into the mountains to fuck and that he’ll go get his car right now. “You want money?” he asks repeatedly. The corners of his mouth twitch and he gazes at me like I’m a steak. I want to vomit. “Are you scared?” he asks. Yes mother fucker! 

I walk away and he leaves, but I feel paranoid. Will he come look for me? I’m on dirt roads for awhile. I tuck my hair into my hat, maybe if I look like a boy they won’t bother me. 

Back in the wilderness I feel safe again. The canyons are my refuge. 

 

I aim for Bonita Creek, 31 miles from Safford. Surely he won’t find me there. 

 

Throughout the night, animals big and small, perform their nightly rituals. Wild turkeys gobble, something descends a rocky slope, something crashes through the trees. 

People always ask me if I carry a gun for bears and mountain lions. But it’s not the animals you have to worry about…

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17 thoughts on “Harassed ”

  1. OMG, Chance. When I lived through the feminist movement, I really thought things like sexual harassment wouldn’t be an issue still. I admire your tenacity…and agree, the desert is my fave landscape. I’m glad you’re a badass hiker & I admire you for it. Our world needs more peace, love & tolerance. Hike on!

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  2. That’s creepy as all hell, Chance. Glad you’re okay. On the real long dirt road walks I always cowboyed or set up tarp wayyy off the road at night so creeps or drunks don’t find me and mess with me. Like you said, the wilderness is a safe home to me too, it feels good to be out there away from weirdos and among the wildlife.

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  3. Such is life. Sorry you had to experience that. Good reason to learn to use knives and a little gracie jiu jitsu. They’ll both give you skills which will make that type of encounter safer. There will always be vultures but there are options to deal with them.

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  4. Maybe it’s not really helpful, but a guy like that, trying to intimidate people he perceives as weaker, is a scared little piece of shit himself. You’re stronger than he’ll ever be. Fuck that asshat.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey, it’s VD from trail days in Silver. Glad I found your blog! That shit sucks.
    Put that one in the guide book, rapist at mile point………No but seriously, do you think it’s worth mentioning to Brett or have him put it on the GET forum. So people/ females are aware of this sketch area. If this creep gets accustomed to women passing through who knows what could result.
    Otherwise looks like you’re moving along well. I saw you already met up with Bearclaw in the Gila hot springs crossing GETCDT paths.
    Remember I’m in Santa Fe if you need anything or have time to kill in ABQ. I know you’re on a tight schedule for the ridge running job. I’m so envious, I have lived in NM 8 years and have been wanting to hike the GET ever since. Soon enough!

    Cheers to one Badass

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