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food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

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food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby frozenintime » Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:35 pm

my wife, 3 month old daughter, and i spent a few nice days on the west side of tahoe lake earlier this month.

it got us thinking about doing a few day backpacking trip next summer in the desolation area with our (then) one year old.

we couldn't help but notice the intense care that tahoe communities go through to avoid attracting bears. but i understand that desolation wilderness (and the entire region?) doesn't require bear cans.

i'm perfectly happy carrying a can, but we would be toting a lot more stuff in general with the kid (both weight and volume wise). if we could skip the can and hang our food that would be nice and possibly avoid buying as much new gear as we'll already need.

but with a kid in tow we are naturally even less interested in bear encounters than usual.

i think what i'm asking is: what are your experiences with bears, food storage, etc. in the area?

i've read as many trip reports and the like as i can find, but it's been hard to get an overall sense about experiences and attitudes on this topic. the bear lockers in front of every house make me think the bears must be predator-level and able to open tuna cans with a can opener by now. but the lack of can regulations in the backcountry makes me think otherwise.

thanks!



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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby balzaccom » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:20 pm

We've always just used the bear can there. After you get used to it, it is so much easier than hanging your food---especially after you have to re-hang it a couple of times because you forget the toothpaste. And then you forgot your lip balm. And then....you get the idea.

Besides, we've stopped looking at trees that way now...!
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby frozenintime » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:34 pm

yeah, i have fully accepted the bear can into my life. i agree, so easy, given an acceptable pack.

just trying to balance the added weight/volume requirements we'd have, plus get a sense of what folks experience critter & bear-wise in this area. :)
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 29, 2016 3:37 pm

Unless you have a very good bear hanging technique, bears have gotten very smart, they will get your food. To keep your food safe and the bears alive get used to using the canisters. :)
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby longri » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:30 pm

I'm also curious to know the likelihood of bear encounters in Desolation. Generally speaking bear canisters are required where bears are more likely to be an issue and hanging where they are less likely.

The thing about hanging food is that in order to make it 100% effective you need to be willing to defend it if necessary. That is, if a bear does try to get your food you need to be near enough to hear it in the first place and then you might have to stay up all night to protect your food. With a 3 month old child along maybe you'd be awake anyway. :-)
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby maverick » Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:40 pm

8/30/16 Glen Alpine Trail:
Dry late-summer conditions. Backpackers reported that while camping at Gilmore Lake, their campsite, tents, all food, etc. had been torn apart by bears; another campsite nearby had the same experience.

8/30/16 Mt. Tallac Trail:
Trail clear, dry, and dusty. Bear and cub sighted near Tallac Trailhead. Wasp population has grown significantly and they are aggressive.

http://desowv.org/trail-conditions
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Sep 29, 2016 6:40 pm

Biologists in the parks who've been looking at the bear situation in Yosemite, SEKI, etc for decades have gone on record as saying bears can get properly hung food pretty darn easy, if they really want to. I just take the canister everywhere. Easy to rent by mail from Wild Ideas, if you don't want to buy yet.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby longri » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:14 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Biologists in the parks who've been looking at the bear situation in Yosemite, SEKI, etc for decades have gone on record as saying bears can get properly hung food pretty darn easy, if they really want to. I just take the canister everywhere. Easy to rent by mail from Wild Ideas, if you don't want to buy yet.

They may say that but it's an overgeneralization. I know for a fact that it's not true in general.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Sep 29, 2016 7:16 pm

Just because a bear doesn't do something, doesn't mean he can't. It's a proven fact that bears get properly hung food in Yosemite, have for years, and that's why you can't hang food there any more. Any bear has the capacity to learn how to do it.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby Wandering Daisy » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:14 pm

I have done tons of backpacking in Desolation. Bears are not a problem. I use an Ursack. That does not mean no bears, but not enough to warrant bear can regulations. And the PCT runs through it. Desolation seems very "civilized" to me. It gets a ton of use, particularly day-hikers. I have never seen a bear in Desolation. Still, practice good housekeeping. Do not cook right next to your tent. Wash hands and faces before going to bed. Put food (hang, Ursack or bear can) 50 feet or more from the tent.

If fires were not allowed (depending on season and where you camp) I would take wag-bags with kitty litter for the dirty diapers. When I took my babies backpacking we always had fires and burned the diapers. You can scrape off the poo and burry it in the same cat hole that you use, but please, carry out the paper diapers.

With kids of any age, do not go where there are mosquitoes. Late August or September would be better. Water will be warmer too- you can even swim in some of the lakes.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby Vaca Russ » Fri Sep 30, 2016 7:14 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:I have done tons of backpacking in Desolation. Bears are not a problem... I have never seen a bear in Desolation. Still, practice good housekeeping. Do not cook right next to your tent. Wash hands and faces before going to bed. Put food (hang, Ursack or bear can) 50 feet or more from the tent.


I too have spent a lot of time in Deso and have never had a problem with bears. I have also spent a lot of time in the human infested Lake Tahoe region and the bear problem is real. I do believe these bears can open tuna cans with a can opener. They are quite civilized. Somewhat like the bears of Yose were in the eighties.

I can remember encountering cigarette smoking, tattooed motorcycle gangs of bears in the eighties in Yose. :nod: HMMMM....or was that what I was told by the federal rangers during my permit briefings? :-k

The bears in the Tahoe region are too prissy to go all the way up to Deso to hang out. Besides, there is no food up there for them.

JMHO,

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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby TahoeJeff » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:15 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:I have done tons of backpacking in Desolation. Bears are not a problem.

X2
Vaca Russ wrote:The bears in the Tahoe region are too prissy to go all the way up to Deso to hang out. Besides, there is no food up there for them.

X2
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