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Question on bears

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Question on bears

Postby Quandary » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:57 am

In September I'll be flying to Vegas, then driving to a trailhead out of Owens Valley, leaving my car and heading into the backcountry for several days. I know that in campgrounds you're supposed to move everything with an odor from your car to the bear box.

But what if you're leaving your car at the trailhead for several days? I can't possibly carry all the food I'll have with me, or toothpaste etc. that I travel with. What do other backpackers usually do in this situation?



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Postby Snow Nymph » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:36 am

Put everything in the bear box, and keep your car looking "clean". If you have clothes, packs, etc, cover it with a blanket. Don't leave anything showing that a bear might think is food. A box of kleenex or empty bottles of water could tempt a bear. :bear: :bear: :bear:
Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free . . . . Jim Morrison


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Postby Quandary » Wed Aug 01, 2007 8:01 am

Oh, I didn't realize there were boxes at trailheads for backpackers. Are these safe? I know there are no guarantees, but do people generally leave stuff alone in them? Don't want my stuff to be stolen!
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Postby Jack Straw » Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:37 am

I've never had anything swiped from trail head boxes but I've never left anything in them other than an ice chest with food and drink.
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Postby SPeacock » Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:54 pm

If no bear box at your trail head, double bag all the stuff in zip lock bags, hide them out of sight in the trunk.

Other option is to ask a motel owner on US-395 if they would keep stuff safe for you until your return. A 'tip' would be a nice gesture, if they don't charge you for the inconvenience to them
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Postby Steve Bearman » Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:22 pm

Here's one of the stories you inevitably hear:

I have a friend who left food in her car when she went out for a week or so. The food was an unopened can of tuna inside a cooler invisibly in her trunk.

A bear peeled back the top of the backseat door and tore open the area above the backseat to get into the trunk and get to the cooler. Bears have legendary noses.

You might want to check with the park service in advance to find out if there is a bear box at your trailhead. Also make sure to remove anything with a scent from your car (food, toiletries, trash, etc.).
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Postby Baffman » Thu Aug 02, 2007 7:20 pm

Quandary,

Only a few of the trailheads have bearboxes. Onion Valley & Whitney Portal are the only two I can think of unless you go to the Bishop area. I was just at Onion Valley this last week and it was a very busy place. Your stuff would "probably" be OK, but I have to agree with SPeacock, go to one of the motels in town and ask them to hold a box for you. I'm sure you wouldn't have a problem finding one. Just make them an offer up front. I would go to the Courthouse Motel in Independence as a first try. Which trailhead are you thinking about?

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Postby Quandary » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:58 am

Baff, Onion Valley is one I'm considering. Also Big Pine Creek and the trailhead into Cottonwood Lakes.

I've see the pics of bears basically tearing cars apart. Luckily, I'm vegetarian and won't be carrying any tuna!

I hadn't thought of asking a motel, but that's an excellent suggestion. I've stayed at the Mt. Williamson motel in Independence, owned by a very nice German couple, so maybe they'd keep a few things for me.

On a related note.... We were in Onion Valley the day the Inyo fire started last month (me and my kids). We came down to Independence to get dinner, and by the time we left the road was closed and the whole side of the mountain was on fire. That's when we stayed at the motel. Next morning the road was still closed but I drove around the sign and went up to the campground to get my gear. There were rocks all over the road and flames blowing across the road. But I'm glad I did because later that day the whole valley went up and 395 was completely closed.
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Postby Baffman » Fri Aug 03, 2007 5:20 pm

Yeah, that was some fire. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe there are bear boxes at the Cottonwood Trailhead too. I made a trip out of there about 3 years ago. I have no clue about Big Pine Creek.

The Mt. Williamson motel left me hanging for a bit, but that's the old Cottage Motel. It used to be a real dive and druggy hangout, but it's good to see it was cleaned up.
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Postby dpmach » Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:14 am

Anyone know/remember if there are bear boxes at pine creek trailhead? I've seen pictures of marmot and/or bears damaging cars to get the food. Any reports on bear activities at this trail?
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Postby rightstar76 » Sat Sep 08, 2007 12:36 am

This might help. Go to SEKI web site. Click on "Wilderness Information" and then "Wilderness Food Storage" and then "Dusy Basin/Palisades Basin, and Rae Lakes Loop". Then click on "Click here for a Sierra Nevada map showing all canister requirement areas from Sonora Pass to Kennedy Meadows (of Inyo National Forest)."

This map might show bear boxes at the trailheads. Otherwise I would call. I would not leave anything that smells inside your car. I know someone whose trunk was torn off because a candy wrapper was accidentally left inside. Toothpaste will do the same thing.

http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/u ... torage.pdf
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Postby dpmach » Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:08 am

Thanks so much on the info. will make sure everything is clear out.
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