Woman Backed for Pretending to Go 'Missing' on a Hiking Trip

A man and his brother who "repeatedly" left his girlfriend and her friend behind on a challenging hike before they went "missing" have received a storm of criticism on online forum Reddit.

In a post shared on Reddit's Am I The A**hole (AITA) subforum, the girlfriend (user cattiskillys) said she, her friend Paula as well as her boyfriend Jack and his brother Tyler made plans to go hiking and the user suggested an doing "easier flatter trail" because Paula would be hiking for the first time.

In a later post, the user said: "Everything about the planning of the trip made it obvious it was meant to be a slower paced walk on a beginner trail with chatting and snacks. Not a f***ing trail running day."

However, on the day of the hike, "we started at a normal pace and the guys just kept going faster," the poster said.

Paula later joked that they "should stop chasing and let them [the men] wonder" and the user suggested they "just hang out at the viewpoint until the guys noticed, or found us on the way back down."

A couple on a hiking trail.
A couple carrying backpacks while walking along a hiking trail in a forest. iStock/Getty Images Plus

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), every year more than 600,000 people go missing in the U.S. and tens of thousands remain missing for over a year—what many agencies consider "cold cases."

However, the number of those who have gone missing in America's vast wilderness is unknown, as both the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service don't keep track of this figure, The New York Post reported in July 2020.

But according to David Paulides, the founder of The North America Bigfoot Search (a database of wildland disappearances that took place under "mysterious circumstances"), there are at least 1,600 people still missing in the wild across the U.S., the Post reported.

The hike described in the Reddit post didn't have such a tragic ending, however.

The user said: "I [was] irritated because a HUGE rule of wilderness safety is to stay with your group. Because s*** can go sideways fast in the backcountry." She told Jack that she'd like the men to stick around next to her and Paula but "he complained that we were too slow, the trail was too easy, they 'needed' their workout."

After the men ran off on their own for the third time, the user and Paula decided to go "missing," sitting down at a viewpoint before the men came back to find them about an hour and a half later.

The original poster said Tyler got "really mad," saying they had "stopped off a half mile from the summit to wait for us before making the final push, and after we didn't show up for an hour they decided to turn back to look for us instead of summiting."

The men were angry with the two women for the rest of the hike, the user said, "because we 'ruined' their summit, making them turn back just because we didn't even try to keep up."

Several users on Reddit sided with the original poster, blasting the men for choosing to "abandon" the two women.

In a comment that got 11,800 upvotes, user Minkiemink said: "NTA. You told Jack and Tyler repeatedly what the issue was. They ignored you and did their own thing. You and Paula finally gave up trying to win a losing game...the guys could have had their workout on a different day...Instead they chose to abandon you and Paula over and over again.

Minkiemink added: "You didn't ruin anything...Trying to keep up with those two could have ended up with exhaustion or getting lost...Your boyfriend and his pal foolishly, selfishly and deservedly ruined their own trip."

In a comment that got 2,300 upvotes, whichwitch9 said: "Problem is their pace didn't allow Paula or OP [original poster] any rest. They waited and rested, but then took off again...OP and Paula were constantly in go mode to accelerate their past while the guys got rest. That's way too exhausting to do a long hike with no breaks."

User babcock27 agreed, noting: "They were a**holes as well for setting off again as soon as the girls caught up. They didn't give them a chance to rest or anything to help make it easier. They just decided that they, the big men, got to set the pace and if the girls had trouble, too bad so sad..He knows they were the assholes and decided to try to gaslight you because he didn't get what he wanted..." in a comment that got 163 upvotes.

In a comment that received 1,400 upvotes, user kuddly_kallico said: "Yeah that was really unfair of them, it sounds to me like you set very clear expectations and it all went in one ear and out the other...I'd be livid if someone only stopped every mile to check on me in a remote area."

Newsweek reached out to user cattiskillys for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.