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Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

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Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby sccollier » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:41 pm

Hi gang... I'm hiking with a party of 4 on the Rae Lakes Loop (clockwise) over 5 nights / 6 days. I've read a couple of stories on the internet of close bear encounters in that area. I know I need a bear canister and am 100% going to use one. We also all have bear whistles.

After reading those stories of close encounters, I all of a sudden became a little nervous (or a lot). I'm a fairly experienced backpacker - have done maybe 2 dozen trips all over the west half of the country - but I've never led a hike, which I'm doing this time around.

Does anyone have information (I'm going to call the ranger station tomorrow) about current bear activity in the area. AHH... what if one comes around the campsite at night while we're all sleeping?! I realize you have to put your bear canister FAR AWAY from you - how far? And do those need to be strung up in trees, I can't remember? I apologize for the lack of knowledge... just looking for the best advice.

If anyone has any knowledge of current bear activity in that area or tips on how to be the most prepared, that'd be awesome. Thanks in advance.



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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby cefire » Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:10 pm

I wouldn't worry about them too much (if possible) :) I'd recommend picking up a can of bear spray though because it 1) is incredibly effective and 2) is a nonlethal tool to prevent losing one's food!!

They won't be interested in anything but food so keep scents out of the tent, and you'll be good to go!
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby balance » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:13 am

Greetings sccollier

I'd suggest going with someone who runs slower than you.

Peace.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby balzaccom » Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:34 am

I believe that bear spray is illegal in National Parks in California. It certainly is in Yosemite. And if you have never used it, you should absolutely practice somewhere where the wind is blowing, so that you can see how quickly it gets blown back into your face.

Just keep your food in the can at all times, and be sensible. People backpack this route hundreds of times every summer.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby chulavista » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:53 am

I'm not sure what the official guidance is, but I always keep my can close enough so I can hear if something is messing with it. You don't need to hang it. You also don't want to store it near a cliff or water.

People will laugh at you or think you are weird if they see you carrying bear spray, a gun, bear bells, etc.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby balance » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:41 am

C'mon. They're cuddly little black bears. :bear:

In Yosemite, you can stop alongside the road and feed them by hand. I've seen the pictures.
Last edited by balance on Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:49 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby balance » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:44 am

Just don't do like this one couple did, who sprayed the bear spray on themselves to repel the bears.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby balance » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:54 am

Here's an organization called Bear Smart with a lot of information: http://www.bearsmart.com/
Last edited by balance on Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby rlown » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:57 am

https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_bc.htm

that should cover food storage..

Next, You don't need bear spray or whistles. This is a black bear and not a griz. I don't know anyone who carries spray in the Sierra.

Next, keep your can near your tent/sleeping area (not in it). You don't need to hang your bear can. Just set it about 10'-20' from your tent. You need to be close enough to it to throw rocks at the bear if it decided to play with the can. Rock throwing is effective. If the rock comes back, its probably a squatch and you should just go back to bed. :)
I'm not saying you can't put it far away, but i've just set it up about that distance away, or if in areas where it might be pushed downhill off a cliff or into the water, you can put it into a crack somewhere in the granite.

Next, quit worrying about leading. Explain that bears do what they do and they're not after you or anyone in your group. As long as your food is in a closed food can, There won't be any problems. If someone is that scared, give them a pacifier (er, whistle), and move on.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby balance » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:26 am

Greetings sccollier

Okay, with remarkable deductive reasoning I've figured out what this is all about.

Start with your name: sccollier. Sound that out and what do you get? Scholar.

Obviously, you're a very bright, college age male going on a backpacking trip with three coeds. And you want them to be apprehensive about bears, so they will all cuddle up with you at night so you can "protect" them from the ferocious, marauding black bears.

Pretty danged clever, I'd say. I'm kinda wondering who those coeds really need protection from, with a crafty guy like you on the prowl.

Peace.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby sccollier » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:49 am

Haha that's funny but pretty much 100% incorrect.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jul 31, 2016 11:40 am

Setting aside all the fun and games.. you ask the ranger when you pick up the permit what to do. Bears roam far and wide. There has been, at various times over the years, a bear that can get the lid off a Bear Vault. If he is hanging out in Paradise again this year, the ranger will tell you to put those canisters if you are using that brand into the lockers, if you stay in Paradise the first night.

If there is a bear stealing unattended packs, the ranger will tell you not to leave the pack unattended anywhere. If there is a bear bluff charging to get people to drop packs, the ranger will tell you to never let the bear drive you off -- stand your ground, wave arms, yell, throw rocks, NEVER let the bear chase you.

There have been no deaths -- NO DEATHS -- in California caused by black bears. The reason for this is -- even though some of the bears are very used to people, as they become more aggressive, rangers kill them. They have tried everything under the sun to not do that... used to be they would trap and relocate nuisance bears, in Yosemite where the worst bears live. But that doesn't work - the bear comes back.

You do not need a weapon, bear spray, bear bells or any of that junk. You need to know that these bears will leave, if you stand your ground and do exactly what the rangers say. It's worked for us for decades. The biologists and rangers in the parks are the first and last word on what to do -- they are there all the time and they know about all the reported incidents involving bears, so listen to them.
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