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klopik


Sep 23, 2010, 10:37 PM
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Would you consider this safe?
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OK, ladies, I need some advice/opinions on a situation.
This actually happened 3 weeks ago now, and my husband and I still go back and forth and discuss it every day.... I am not looking for validation that I am right, I am looking for a reasonable assessment of the situations and honest opinions.

We have a 6 month old baby. We finally decided to go on a reasonable backpacking trip - we have gone hiking a lot and camping some, but haven't gone on a multi-day backpacking trip prior. We ended up going 4.5 people - my husband, me, our baby and 2 female friends that we know from climbing.

Abilities - my husband is a very strong hiker, he is in top shape right now. Both girls are in their top shape as well, they work out a lot and just trained for a half marathon recently. I am 6 months after baby, I'm in ok shape, but not in my top shape. I am also breastfeeding, and our baby is a big boy and he has quiet an appetite on him. He also weighs about 18lb, so a heavy baby.

We got together before the trip, discussed different possibilities. I liked several hikes, and there were a couple of trips that others liked and I said during our planning sessions that I am not interested in doing it. The one I was specifically not interested in is Alta Peak in Sequoia national park for these of you who have been there. This is our baby's first altitude trip, and the peak is at 11200, with an elevation gain of 6000 over 8 miles. I decided that would be too much for him and for me as well.

We get to the park. Right at the parking lot, the three of them make a decision that Alta Peak is the best hike for all of us to do. At this point, I am getting very angry and unhappy, but there is nothing I can do anymore, since we are already literally at the trail head.

So, we are going. I haven't backpacked since I got pregnant. I haven't carried a heavy pack in a while, and now I have an 18lb baby + 8lb baby carrier + 10lb of gear + about 5 lb of water, so around 40lb, which is a bare minimum that I can take. I am also 100lb, so its a really large amount of weight I have to carry.

As we are walking, we discuss different possibilities, and one of them is we hike out to the first campsite, which is 5 miles out, and then we can camp there overnight and then in the mornign go up Alta Peak or go to a very flat level meadows hike and then hike out to the lakes for about another 5 miles.

We hike to the campground. I am not proud to say this, but I was totally exhausted by the time we get there, and its only 5 miles, but it did have quiet a bit of elevation, and I did have to stop every hour to nurse.

So, in the morning I am asked if I would like to go up the peak, I say no, so the 3 of them go there (sans the packs) leaving me and the baby alone in the camp. With no other people around, just the two of us, so they can run up the peak and down.
I am still furious about this. I think it was absolutely and totally unsafe to do (nothing happened, the entire trip went fine and the baby did great), but it is still REALLY unsafe to leave a baby with a mother in the middle of freaking wilderness for a few hours.

My husbands response is well you were not in shape to do this and you didn't want to do this, why shouldn't we do it though and it was perfectly safe to do because if anything were to happen, I could have just walked out and he would have caught up with me since I am a much slower hiker.

And we keep fighting about it for 3 weeks now. I am really pissed at him, and he keeps saying that I just wanted to whine and be unhappy about the trip because it was something I said I didn't want to do.

Ladies, opinions? If you agree with me that its an unsafe thing to do, can you give me your reasoning for it as well?

I'm basically at the point now where I say I don't ever want to go backpacking again (and I used to love it), but this is just ridiculous...


nessie


Sep 24, 2010, 3:49 AM
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Well, I am perhaps not the best to answer seeing as I don't have kids or know the area which you hiked in. However, it seems very strange to me that your husband and friends expect you to stay by yourself all day with your baby son whilst they get to hike up the mountain. It seems a bit selfish on their part. Let's be honest, the mountain will still be there in years to come when you are all up to doing it, yourself included. Having said all of that maybe there were some miscommunications prior to your trip or perhaps you didn't state clearly enough that you weren't into it. In any case, in the wilderness with a baby by yourself? Not okay. But after 3 weeks of disagreeing: let it go, learn from it and make sure you state clearly in advance what you want next time. And never give up the stuff you love just cause of a disagreement!


Partner macherry


Sep 24, 2010, 6:42 AM
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i see this happen all the time with ski touring and believe me things go to shit. your party made plans before the backpacking trip and changed plans once you got to the trailhead. your husband and the 2 other women pulled a fast one on you and changed plans. Right there you should have voiced your concern and refused to go on the proposed hike and stuck to the plans made at home. this also could have been discussed at your first campsite. YOu could have told the husband your were exhausted. From what i gathered you really didn't express your feelings to the party.


and your husband is an ass for abandoning you for a peak bag. he knew your abilities, but ignored the fact you were not ready for this hike.


lena_chita
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Sep 24, 2010, 8:13 AM
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I have no knowledge of the area, so I may be off-base. But based on your description, I do not think that it was unsafe, per se. Not the safest scenario, maybe, but O.K. If this camp where you were left is some place where you would have been comfortable staying alone for a few hours, then I don't think it is significanlty different staying there with a baby, especially if you also had a cell phone signal.

But it was inconsiderate and rude, for sure.

However, it won't be very helpful if all of us here were to berate your husband for his jerk-like behavior.

The truth is that while you can take your baby/toddler ALMOST anywhere, "almost anywhere" is still not the same thing as "everywhere", and the reasons are multiple and varied...

There will be times when your husband (or your friends) will want to go to some places where you and the baby won't be able to keep up with him/them, and he should have the ability to go -- as long as YOU have the same breaks occasionally, too. And as long as he (and you) have the forethought to plan this out in a way that doesn't leave you alone, abandoned and unhappy.

IMO there were several mistakes that have been made in planning this trip.
-You planned something that was too ambitious for your first multi-day trip.
-You didn't make a specific clear plan, leaving the decision for the actual hike destination to the last minute, thus opening yourself to this scenario.
-You went with the wrong people who have no understanding (or compassion and consideration) for your feelings or physical shape. They might simply not have realized how difficult this would be for you, but subsequent behavior was still less then nice.

Lessons for the future?

-- Scale down your expectations WAY down and start building up your endurance slowly. I know women who hike better with their toddler in their backpack than I do without one. It is something to aspire to. But you have to start at your current ability level.

-- If you haven't already, find other outdoorsy couples with young kids, and go on hikes with them. That way, if you and your child cannot go somewhere, the chances are the other mother would also make similar decision and you would have company, instead of being left alone. You would also be more likely to plan a realistic trip.

-- Go on trips where it is just the three of you, no other people. I am sure your husband would not have abandoned you if it were just you guys, without others present.

-- There is nothing wrong with completely forgoing multi-day backpacking trips for the time being. It might go against your mental picture of how things would/should be, after baby, but if you are not getting the enjoyment out if these trips, if they are causing distress, then what is the point?

-- Let your husband plan and go on some trips where he would be able to go all-out according to his ability level and not always think about adjusting down for the baby. (If he is a considerate and caring husband, there won't be too many of these trips--and he would find ways to show you his appreciation for it, and some ways for you to have a similar opportunity. And if he isn't... then your problem is bigger than a backpacking trip. :( )


klopik


Sep 24, 2010, 9:47 AM
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Just to update -
it was a campsite 5 miles out, in the backcountry, not a place I would chose to stay with teh baby at by myself, and no cell signal what so ever.
I did voice my opinion repeatedly on not wanting to go there, but as my husband later said "he just ignored it since he knew I was in good enough shape".
And I have no problems with him going backpacking without us - as a matter of fact, just 3 weeks earlier he went up Shasta with teh same two friends.


olderic


Sep 24, 2010, 10:07 AM
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lena_chita wrote:
your problem is bigger than a backpacking trip. :( )

I know I am being a jerk for quoting out of context - but I still think this about sums it up. Also I am male - so I imagine that may make me a double jerk around these parts. And finally I'd like to hear the other side of the sory - that's probably 3 strikes - but if you want an impartial, unbiased resonse that is crucial. I'm not saying that to defend the guy but I think its only fair.

But back to the point - my opinion - from YOUR description - is that he didn't necessarily put you in a particularily dangerous situation but also was extremely insensitive to your emotions and also there was a lack of communications by all concerened. Being a new mother - and I am guessing this is your first - you shouldn't be expected to be logical and distinguish between perceived and actual danger - and you should go with your gut.

But just as a data point - my wife and I took all 4 of our kids at various stages - including the one your baby is at - into far more remote situations - and this was way before cell phones existed - we were on our own. And sometimes I would go off and have my adenture leaving her in camp which undoubtably was hard for her - but sometimes I held down the fort at basecamp while she went off and did her thing. And I couldn't even nurse the kid - well not directly anyway.

But really this has little to do with climbing or outside recreation - it has everything to do with communication.


lena_chita
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Sep 24, 2010, 10:21 AM
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One thing that I noticed on the second read-through is that when you were left af the camp, the other three went for a hike to the peak and back without packs, which to me suggests one other possible solution:

Could you guys have stashed all your gear at the campsite, and gone for the peak hike together, with your husband carrying the backpack with the baby and you carrying just a few pounds of water/snacks and some extra diapers? (for example...)

Ignoring what you said repeatedly "b/c he knew you were in good-enough shape" shows that his assessment of situation is not accurate. Or that you are not communicating it clearly. Or that he has a bad case of wishful thinking.




Sounds like your husband is suffering a case of typical post-baby reaction, when the expectation is that his life should be "back to normal" already and he (and you) should be able to do all the things you have always done before the baby, same frequency, duration, intensity, etc. etc...

And in reality, there is no "BACK to normal" ever, there is a new normal moving forward. That, more than anything, is the issue here. The hike is just something that brought it out for you.


klopik


Sep 24, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Actually, these are all strikes in your favor. I am trying to logically explain why I am so angry and what really set me off.
So, from his point of view - he gave me an opportunity to go up the peak with them, which I turned down. He said that it was a perfectly safe place to stay for a half a day with a baby, that I had everything I needed and could have enjoyed myself, that he thinks I am in much better shape then I tend to say and I should be getting out there and pushing myself because otherwise I am just being lazy and not trying to get back into shape.
In his defense, they were gone for only about 4.5 hours, and since the baby was teething at that time, he tends to just sleep through it, so he slept for about 3.5 hours of it - and I didn't want to disturb him since he didn't have a very good night's sleep, so I didn't put him in an ergo and walk around, but let him sleep in the tent instead, but I suppose I could have put him in an ergo and hiked around by myself - however, I still insist that when there is a baby that small involved, its not safe to leave the two of us by ourselves, because who the hell knows what might happen?

And another thing - I hold this very strict believe that its UNSAFE to split up the backpacking party, ever, especially to leave one person behind, baby or no baby. Am I totally wrong in that?


olderic


Sep 24, 2010, 10:38 AM
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arggh - trying to resist getting pulled into the chicks space. I thought of the idea of Dad carrying the baby too - that's what we did a lot (I often had one draped on my back and another one dangling off the front) but I think the feeling is that the summit elevation was too high.

It really doesn't matter what others think is safe/unsafe - there is never going to be a one size fits all black and white anser anyway - it's a matter of respect for what someone else feels even if you disagree. And if I believe in any absolute rule it is that you should never force someone to do something that they feel is unsafe - even if I "know" it is fine. I suppose there are even exceptions to that.


klopik


Sep 24, 2010, 10:59 AM
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Olderick - I'm sorry, now I have to ask :)
What were you using for carriers?

On the second day of the trip, we did drop the packs in camp and hiked around some, and he carried the baby and I only had a light pack. So yes, that was a possiblity on the peak as well, I just wasn't up for going that far/on that trail.

But I sort of gather from all the responses I get is people think in general that was safe,and it was really just in my head (even though its perfectly legit, as far as I am concerned)


olderic


Sep 24, 2010, 11:11 AM
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klopik wrote:
Olderick - I'm sorry, now I have to ask :)
What were you using for carriers?

ah - finally a question that doesn't involve feelings - phew. Smile

Remember this was so long ago that the gear is pretty obsolete (in fact I am looking for something new to lug my grandson around in). We had some generic little framed carrier for the back - may have been a Gerry brand (any one remember those?) I remember it being good until the kid got > 30 pounds (~18 months) and then being marginal - not that heavy duty. For the front we just had this soft thing - Snugli brand I think - pretty generic. Looked really uncomfortable for the kid but they all seemd to like it for the first 6 months or so, When they could hold their heads up steadily they graduated to the back - when they got too big for that they were strongly encouraged to walk.


Partner macherry


Sep 24, 2010, 11:14 AM
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klopik wrote:
Olderick - I'm sorry, now I have to ask :)
What were you using for carriers?

On the second day of the trip, we did drop the packs in camp and hiked around some, and he carried the baby and I only had a light pack. So yes, that was a possiblity on the peak as well, I just wasn't up for going that far/on that trail.

But I sort of gather from all the responses I get is people think in general that was safe,and it was really just in my head (even though its perfectly legit, as far as I am concerned)

sorry, but i do not find it legit. safe or not, you were put into an uncomfortable position. i do not agree with the majority rules mentality. like i said, i see it lots in ski touring. you should have stuck to your guns, voiced your concern about your ability and how you were feeling. if you did this and your concerns were ignored, you should look for better partners. it's over and done with now, but you and your husband should discuss how future trips should be planned and carried out


clee03m


Sep 24, 2010, 1:47 PM
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klopik wrote:
Olderick - I'm sorry, now I have to ask :)
What were you using for carriers?

On the second day of the trip, we did drop the packs in camp and hiked around some, and he carried the baby and I only had a light pack. So yes, that was a possiblity on the peak as well, I just wasn't up for going that far/on that trail.

But I sort of gather from all the responses I get is people think in general that was safe,and it was really just in my head (even though its perfectly legit, as far as I am concerned)

No cell phone reception? I am not sure I would consider that safe. I am not familiar with the area, but there is wild life to consider. You also have a child who is probably putting things in his mouth and teething. What happens if he chokes? I say you need at least two adults. One to resuscitate, one to get help. What he wasn't just fussy from teething but brewing something else and started to make it clear while they were gone? Now you have one exhausted adult to hike out for 5 miles to get into a car to get help.

So the danger was probably minimal. But that misses the point all together. He was inconsiderate to you. You gave him a baby, and the least he can do is to respect that as a new mother you will have a fierce protective instinct and not make you feel threatened for your baby for almost 5 hours in the middle of freaking nowhere. Hell, I'm furious and I don't even know you or your husband.

For the record, you are doing a hell of a lot better than many new moms including myself on getting out with a baby and getting in shape. Why is it so hard for people to understand the process of giving birth and breastfeeding is exhausting? Don't feel embarrassed about feeling exhausted at the end of the hike. If he is teething you were probably exhausted before you started.

On a lighter note, I really admire how you are really doing so much with a baby! You are awesome!


klopik


Sep 24, 2010, 3:04 PM
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<sigh>
I don't get it either, why is it that people don't understand how exhausted I am, even though I have a wonderful baby that does sleep through the night (most nights), he still does get up at 6 am, and his last feeding is at 11 or so...
Oh, well. I think I will be done backpacking for a little while, and then will go with some other group of people and leave dear husband with the baby (once he is off the boob).


kiwiprincess


Sep 24, 2010, 9:54 PM
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It is very normal to feel a bit resentful and bitter in These early months. My friend says when she thinks back (her child is 6) she still feels Resentful of all the time she'll never get back, and that her man didn't seem to realise how full on it was. Things haven't changed as much for him, but that's not his fault (later (post breast feeding)he can pay you back a bit when you want weekends off playing, and you can think back to this time to rid yourself of any guilty feelings you get)

I think that it is fine to be alone in the wilderness, But If he knows you are uncomfortable he shouldn't have left you.
The solution is to lay out your expectations clearly, then negotiate. If you come it is a family trip, and the family stay together.

Just remember this is a really hard time but dosn't last forever. You will get through it.


clee03m


Sep 25, 2010, 5:40 AM
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klopik wrote:
<sigh>
I think I will be done backpacking for a little while, and then will go with some other group of people and leave dear husband with the baby (once he is off the boob).

I say invest in a good hand pump (if you don't have a pump already--they are relative inexpensive), get the baby used to a bottle, pump and store some milk in the frige, and get the hell out for a day climbing, hiking, or whatever and leave dear hubby with the baby now. *wink* Guarantee he will develop a new attitude--quick.

My husband is with the baby a lot because I have left him with the baby for various reasons (including climbing of course), and he has a healthy respect for what I go through. After a night of in house call, I come home to a bleary eyed, exhausted husband getting ready for work who is so much more appreciative...hehehe

kiwiprincess wrote:
It is very normal to feel a bit resentful and bitter in These early months. My friend says when she thinks back (her child is 6) she still feels Resentful of all the time she'll never get back, and that her man didn't seem to realise how full on it was. Things haven't changed as much for him, but that's not his fault (later (post breast feeding)he can pay you back a bit when you want weekends off playing, and you can think back to this time to rid yourself of any guilty feelings you get)

I don't know. I am not sure I would call feeling bitter and resentful normal. At least for me, the way things have worked out, I really don't feel that we are unequal in our work. I know that there is no way he can match what I do physically (well, no boob, right?), but he makes up for it with how much he does around the house and for the baby both when I am home and not. Why wait until baby is older? Demand it now. (Not talking specifically to you klopik. Just to bitter and resentful moms out there.)Feeling exhausted is normal. Bitter and resentful over all (beyond an isolated incident like this one)? That is not normal.




If some of you are going to argue it is normal because it happens often, that is like arguing racism is normal because it happens often.


jeepnphreak


Sep 25, 2010, 1:09 PM
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Well Ill toss out my 2cents worth.

1. You just had a kid and your husband is in top shape, you should have dumped your gear on his ass and let you just carry the baby.

2.You did not speak up that the trip was was more than what you wanted, that's your fault. next time speak up.

3. Now I don't know what your wilderness survival skills are but being that you are whining about being left and un safe, I m guessing that you are more of a weekend warrior. And thus say that leaving you and the baby maybe was not the smartest Idea. I looked up Alta peak and there are bears and rattle snakes in the area.

4. But they did leave you the packs and stuff so you should of had plenty of resources...But I still say that your hubby or a friend should have stayed back at camp while the other blitzed the peak and back.

5. So what do we do...?
My wife and I had our son almost 7 months ago. I know that my wife is not up for some of the all day adventures that we used to do. So if I want to go play all day and do some big epic, My wife calls up one of her friends and they have a ladies day while I kill my self with a buddy or two.
If she wants to do something as a family, she planes the adventure and keeps the activity level to her liking.


klopik


Sep 25, 2010, 4:37 PM
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Hm, the last comment actually made me wonder of something.
I think I have reasonable survival skills. I've gone solo backpacking numerous times, and never thought twice about it. However, having a baby with me made me so volnurable and unsure of myself, and I did want a second adult with me.

But on the same note - I always felt that its unsafe to split up the backpacking party; but never had any issues going solo. Now I am trying to figure out what the difference is.


petsfed


Sep 26, 2010, 6:33 PM
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Just thought that I'd weigh in strictly from a backcountry experience perspective: the fastest way to lose a backcountry partner is to force them out of their comfort zone when they're not ready for it. In this case, that means making one person solo when they haven't planned for it. From a mountaineering perspective, you never say "I'll go on without you", you wait for them to say "You go on without me". Furthermore, there's always a commitment point where you can no longer lean on anybody else to haul your carcass out. If any member of your party isn't willing or able to haul you out, but is willing to push you past your limits, then they should not be a member of any of your future parties.

What you did wrong was already well summarized, but speaking from a lot of years in the woods, I wouldn't go backpacking with any of these folks. I wouldn't trust them with the map, let alone my life.


dan2see


Sep 26, 2010, 6:55 PM
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petsfed wrote:
Just thought that I'd weigh in strictly from a backcountry experience perspective: the fastest way to lose a backcountry partner is to force them out of their comfort zone when they're not ready for it. In this case, that means making one person solo when they haven't planned for it. From a mountaineering perspective, you never say "I'll go on without you", you wait for them to say "You go on without me". Furthermore, there's always a commitment point where you can no longer lean on anybody else to haul your carcass out. If any member of your party isn't willing or able to haul you out, but is willing to push you past your limits, then they should not be a member of any of your future parties.

What you did wrong was already well summarized, but speaking from a lot of years in the woods, I wouldn't go backpacking with any of these folks. I wouldn't trust them with the map, let alone my life.

Harsh.

But absolutely correct.

For me, respect is the central pillar of teamwork. It doesn't matter much, how you define the boundaries of your comfort level. But you did define them, and that should be respected. Socially, the failure to respect your boundaries is called "harassment".

Also: You can judge a group by how they handle their least capable member. Your husband and friends failed.


klopik


Sep 26, 2010, 10:55 PM
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Re: [dan2see] Would you consider this safe? [In reply to]
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Never going backpacking with this group is not very realistic, at least with some member of it... given that I am married to the guy.
But thanks. I do have the same attitude of not having the group separate, however, I still cannot put the actual reason to it.


dan2see


Sep 27, 2010, 4:45 AM
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Re: [klopik] Would you consider this safe? [In reply to]
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No.

Find another group to go out with.

But you don't have to divorce the guy, just because he doesn't respect you, your abilities, your needs, and your feelings.

Day trips are so much easier. With reduced levels of commitment, both of you can learn how to get along. You can learn how to work with the other guy's differences, and build some team strength. After a while, you can start going on longer trips. Maybe by that time, your little one will be part of the plan, and your outings will be even more fun.

When I was a leader for Boy Scouts, we had a policy that you had to attend day-trips before you could join us on over-nighters. No they don't have to pay their dues, but they did learn how to get along together.

And our son and daughter grew up with back-packs of their own. By the time they were 3, our "team" knew how to camp and hike and explore anywhere. You do need time and practice to learn these skills.

But without respect, it's just harassment.


dan2see


Sep 27, 2010, 7:05 AM
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Re: [dan2see] Would you consider this safe? [In reply to]
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It's gotta be safe.
It's gotta be practical.
It's gotta be fun.

Otherwise you're trying too hard to participate, but it's not for your benefit.


(This post was edited by dan2see on Sep 27, 2010, 7:16 AM)


troutboy


Sep 27, 2010, 7:36 AM
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Re: [klopik] Would you consider this safe? [In reply to]
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I won't comment on whether the situation was unsafe because I don not have children.

Given that we have not heard the other side of the story....

I will say your husband and your friends are asshats. You told them you were not interested in doing that hike in the preplanning and I assume they agreed to try another objective or you would not have been in the car to begin with. They then changed plans on you at the trailhead, in essence kidnapping you (yes, pun). So, you did speak up, in the preplanning stages.

This shows more than just disregard for your feelings, it put you in a potentially dangerous situation if you were truly at exhaustion when you reached camp.

If he does not get this, then he really needs a professional to set him straight.


petsfed


Sep 27, 2010, 11:34 AM
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klopik wrote:
Never going backpacking with this group is not very realistic, at least with some member of it... given that I am married to the guy.
But thanks. I do have the same attitude of not having the group separate, however, I still cannot put the actual reason to it.

You totally have that option. It just may mean not backpacking at all until you find people who will actually listen to their partners. Put another way, if I untied and elected to solo the final pitch of a route without consulting with my partner first, I doubt anyone would really hold it against my partner if they beat me unconscious after the fact. Your party put you and your child in danger because they valued their objectives more than your company, but couldn't stomach asking you not to come. The reason soloing is so celebrated is that it requires a level of self-reliance that being in a partnership doesn't. The only time I want to be forced into that level of self-reliance is when I've shut the door behind me. If somebody does it for me, well, to me that's an attack. Of course you could've chosen not to go, of course you could've expressed your opinion more strongly, but that does not excuse them one bit. The only possible excuse is that you said "go on without me" and they did exactly that.

Your husband says that he pushed you because he "knew" that you were up to it. You want a counter-argument? Here you go: What if he was wrong? Not, "under what circumstances could he have been wrong?" but what would've been the consequences had he been wrong? Get him to think about that, and you'll have your resolution.

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