TM SAG wrote:
Please folks be careful - be aware. Start developing what we call "recognition skills". You can spot these people if you know what to look for and if you keep an eye on people approaching you. No-one can "just appear" or "come from nowhere". Not possible. Be aware and have a plan.
Interesting, or rather, very relevant topic. I have two questions:
1. I know I should be aware. But what do I do when when I encounter suspicious people? What sort of plan can one have?
Two of us were attacked in the Drakensberg in 1987 - my friend was killed (it was well publicised at the time), so I am particularly jittery about walking in the mountains. At this stage I try and walk in large groups and have pepper spray in my bag (although not in my hand). Any other ideas about what one can do? Becoming an expert in martial arts or a master shot is not on my list of things I want to do.
In the Silvermine incident mentioned in this thread there were 4 people in the hiking party - normally considered enough to discourage muggers - the fact that they were mugged despite the size of the group is disconcerting.
2. According to posts on this forum and comments by fellow geocachers, there seems to be people inhabiting Woodstock cave. Why don't the authorities do anything about this?
Thanks for starting this very relevant topic.
Edited to add: I'm feeling bit bad about the potentially belligerent tone of my post (point #1). Your advice TM SAG is very sound and can't be faulted. I was just wondering what does one do when you are walking somewhere on the mountain and you see supicious persons? It seems as if there is nothing you can do except carry on walking and hope for the best. Perhaps phone? The only real deterrent must be to be in a large group, hopefully with some people who look as if they can fend for themselves. Pepper spray and dogs can also help. The gun option is not for me and probably not for many other nature lovers either. Just wondering if there are other things one can do to make the experience safer.