I read thru this with great interest, as I've been there, done that to a large extent.
For the record, not for debate - I'm licensed to carry a concealed weapon in my home state for several reasons. I won't try to talk you into it, don't try to talk me out of it. It's a personal issue with each individual.
I've traveled extensively in a Grizzly Central - west central British Columbia and have seen many Grizzlies. See some of my stories at Big Lar's Picture Stories
. You couldn't put me in a tent in that country at gunpoint, tho' many do camp out there with pleasure and success. Haha.....that's up to them. In fact, the campground at Stewart, B.C. doesn't permit any kind of tent or soft-sided pop up camper on their property due to Bear danger. Chilko Lake is one of the most beautiful areas I know of and is loaded with them. Yes, I love to visit - No, I don't hike there.
I also, to this day, hike alone extensively in the wilderness areas of the south-western states and have done so for many years, tho' there are many Black Bear and Cougar thru all of it. They almost never cause any problem - they are very rarely even seen or heard. I don't worry about them. I have been accosted on a trail - just once - by humans in Olympic National Park in Washington. Other hikers appearing at that point saved me from a very bad situation. That's very rare.
Biggest problem I've seen and have been on the spot with on several occasions in several states is Dogs. Yup, someone's happy, loving ol' Fido running loose in the woods. When dogs form packs in the wilderness, behavior changes. If a dog comes at me snapping and snarling with fur standing on end, don't try to tell me what a wonderful pet it is - at that point I'm not interested. I AM interested in saving my skin. So far, I've succeeded in scaring them off by grabbing a handful of gravel, charging them while screaming at the top of my lungs and throwing the gravel at them.
When that ceases to work, some one is going to be minus a pet. Dogs shouldn't be allowed to run loose without their human being very near by. I have a medium sized dog (45#) myself and she loves to hike with me. She does run loose on the trail, but I also have a leash in my pocket, ready to restrain her if other hikers come along. With her, the main danger people have would be her loving them to death, but you just don't know and I don't take chances.