Our bear story
On the trail it is obligated to use a bearcanister from Kennedy meadows (mile 700) up till Sonora pass, 200 miles further on the trail. A bear can play around with this canister, but it cannot open it, so it gets disencouraged after a while to try to get his hungry belly (up to 20.000 Cal a day) filled with trail-junk-food. By using a bear canister the bear doesn't get the food he wants so bad, and he doesn't get shot, because here they say: "a fed bear is a dead bear". If a bear does get to the food of hikers, he will try it again and again and again till he becomes a "problem" bear.
Yosemite for example is a region where there are more of these problem (black)bears, because there are a lot of people (day)hiking in this area and with that comes more inappropriate food storage.
The thing about the bearcanister is, that it is heavy and difficult to pack, so a lot of hikers want to get rid of it as soon as possible. So did we.
After we sold and shipped them, we changed our food storage into the ursack. This sack is made of bulletproof material, which you knot in a tree. Bears can chew on it, but they cannot get the food.
We were walking around with our lite-no bearcanister packs for two days, as we came nearby shower lake. Just before Echo lake. We stopped to set up camp earlier than planed, because some other hikers told us, that they heard stories about a problem bear around the lake. We fell a sleep pretty quick, but I woke up in the middle of the night, because the tent on my side came down and touched my head. A few minutes later I heard Mr. problem bear trying to get a party dinner for one, out of our ursacks. "Eh... Felix.. A bear is chewing on our sacks..." I searched for my glasses, flashlight, headlamp, jumped out of the tent and crapped some sticks. With my shoes half on, standing in my underwear I started to do what I learned to do. I started to shout, hit sticks and tried to look like some scary dominant crazy monkey. After a few seconds of my one man show, the bear stopped chewing, raised his head and just looked at me. The look could have said: " Is that all you got lady?..." As the bear looked at me and I looked in the nice sweet eyes that were lit up by the light, a wave of fear went through my whole body. Suddenly I was very conscious of the fact that I was standing just 30 feet from an animal that could make rice paper of me with one handshake. The bear looked back at his party sack and started the chewing procedure again. "Uh...Felix....the bear is not moving away." Felix had taken his time to put on his shoes properly, a long johns and even took the camera with him. As he was coming to join me, he gave me the camera and said: " Here, tape this." I took the camera and looked at Felix as he was preparing himself for the food fight. He inhaled very deeply, widens his chest, got into his gorilla posture and said: "WRAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!WHRAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!" The bear was more impressed by this performance. So I started to join him with shouting, roaring, hiding sticks, throwing rocks (near him). The bear stopped chewing and went away. That was a relief, because the bear seem to be a bit persistent. We checked on our ursacks and saw that he had pierced through the sacks. "What shall we do?.." I then noticed the hundred mosquitos who did get their food party on my legs and ran back to the tent. As we were sitting inside and just started to get our bodies out of adrenaline mode, I heard the very deep breathing and heavy footsteps of our partypooper, just next to our tent. Geesebumps crawled back on my skin and I realized we had to go out again. As he was chewing again, we started our crazy animal dance. And also this time, a bit faster, he went away. We realized that there was no other option than to pack our stuff, and move on. So we did, at 1.30 am in the morning. We walked till the sun came up and set up the tent 4 hours later to get back some sleep. From echo lake, we went back to South Lake Tahoe, where we just came from two days earlier. There we checked our food and sorted out more than the half of our food. The bear had pierced through the ursack and into some of our ziplocs. He also pierced through a salmon packet, which had probably caused him to try a bit(e) longer. He didn't got the food, but most of our food was destroyed. This was the 3th of July. On this day Tutone came to Lake Tahoe too, so we decided to stay one more day to see and meet some 4th of July celebration here. We saw the HUGH firework at the lake and a day later we hiked on.
A bit traumatized though, at least I was. Joe Cocker....eh Felix is quite relaxed about it. Though I prefer not to meet a bear like this again, the situation was pretty interesting, because we experienced something very rural. We basically fought for our food. And in a way it was also good to see that were able to scare this bear away (maybe it was the underwear?..), and in way we were lucky to meet a bear at all, because normally they are already gone before you can even see them. In the end the bear wanted nothing else but a conflict free eve with a fancy trashy dinner of clifbars mixed with some salmon, ramen and idahoan mashed potatoes.
Fischtailing to Ashland
After we left South Lake Tahoe (again;) the wheater got a bit worse. There were often big "thunderstormclouds" drifting over us. We were lucky that we often could see the thunderstorm from a distance raining down on a close by mountain rather than on us. Especially because we often had to hike on exposed ridgelines of mountains (where you do not want to be when a thunderstorm is hitting. )
Felix / Susanne
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