Originally Posted By: hikermor

"To carry or not to carry, that is the question.." Certainly we are in different situations which clearly require different preps. I spend more and more time on the northern Channel islands, mostly hunting fossils, which usually don't fight back or offer resistance.

But even on the mainland, where locally we do have black bears, many of which are reportedly problem bears imported from the Sierras, I carry less and less. My experience was that there were many items that were much more useful in emergency situations than my hand gun.

As I have! Luckily I never just carry one item with me in the woods. wink Very often a knife is useful and a gun is not. Other times a flashlight is the needed tool. I have found that since you're never 100% certain which tool will be the best option, it pays to have as many tools as you reasonably can. A firearm is simply one of those tools.

Originally Posted By: hikermor
I still have that firearm, a classic S&W wheel gun, which I cherish greatly. There have been two occasions in which I was really glad to have it along - one a strange encounter on a lonely Texas highway (brandished, no shots fired) and a situation with a rattlesnake just outside my living quarters in a national park. My baby daughter was just inside the trailer, so I didn't mess around, firing a shot cartridge at Mr. snake (didn't faze him) . i turned to a shovel and quickly sliced him up.

In contrast, there have been countless (at least twenty) occasions where a 60 to 100 foot length of climbing rope has been critical, including the time when it was destroyed in extricating a stuck vehicle.

Again, if you found occasion to use a firearm even twice a long life that's perhaps twice more than many folks have! Bet you were glad the firearm was along. I expect that folks may have said the same thing to you then that you are saying now! Maybe the odds are slim yet twice your number came up. I too have been glad to be armed on two or three occasions. Better to be armed and not need to be 3,000 times than to need and not have even once.

Certainly having rope can be useful. But having rope does not preclude the need for a firearm, and vice versa.

Perhaps the biggest overlooked point is that it's not a huge burden to carry, at least for me. With a quality gunbelt and holster you can almost forget you're wearing a sidearm. True, I wouldn't carry an M60 machine gun as my EDC (even if it were legal) because that weights 30 lbs. But a 28 oz firearm with a high quality holster system is little more effort to carry than a knife or phone, and actually a lot less cumbersome than a huge ring of keys.

Originally Posted By: hikermor
Mercy sakes, we certainly don't want you running around naked in the woods!!

I suppose it's hard to explain the feeling to someone not accustomed to daily CCW. The closest thing for you might be a quality pocket knife, or your phone. Maybe a FAK or spare glasses. But if you're used to habitually carrying certain tools with you daily it can lead you to feel 'naked' without them.
“I'd rather have questions that cannot be answered than answers that can't be questioned.” —Richard Feynman