A Unique BD Present | High Sierra Topix  

A Unique BD Present

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

A Unique BD Present

Postby Ranboze » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:07 pm

Work was long and tiring last week and I just didn't feel like putting in the effort for a big peak or marathon hike this weekend, so I just headed to Mammoth and played it by ear. I was a little bummed I wasn't doing a "big peak" or some such thing. I hiked to Cottonwood Pass on my drive northward, and did some nano hikes and offroading in the Jordan Basin yesterday. I hadn't been back to the Red Cones since coming through there on the JMT in 1990, so I did decided to head out from Horseshoe Lake. It was to be an out and back hike, with a little loop at the far end between Crater and Upper Crater Meadows.

The corroboration between signs, maps and trails is just horrible back in the area, and no sooner did I get started, I went off in the wrong direction. I headed on to the Mammoth Pass trail, even though it doesn't really go over the point labeled as Mammoth Pass on my map. Finally found my way back to McCloud Lake and on my way to Upper Crater Meadow. I was unable to find the trail heading along the eastern side of Crater Meadow (which is the JMT) so continued on down the PCT to Crater Meadow. I was on the ascent out of Crater Meadow and had stopped to look at my map to try to figure out where that dang trail junction was. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move... something huge, semi-truck size (as compared to all the other critters that we frequently see scamper across our field of vision). OMG, this was the moment I had anticipated and feared. I wondered how I would react?

I have fished alongside grizzlies in Alaska, seen them from a great distance while hiking, admired them from the somewhat-safety of my vehicle, but this was my first close encounter with Mr. Boo-Boo while hiking. It's a whole new ballgame. And Mr. Boo-Boo was HUGE - at least 600 lbs. OK, I know the mantra "they're more afraid of you than you are of them"... well ok, but why wasn't Mr. Bear moving after spotting me? It's been a dry year, maybe food has been a little lean. Would I look like a nice brunch snack? My destiny was completely in the hands, or paws, of this powerful animal. I was no more than 75 feet away from him. I did a quick scan for cubs. None spotted. Phew. What's my next move? Do I turn on my camera (which has a long delay to turn it on), or do I fold up my map and back away? Back to the question... why didn't Mr. Bear just keep movin' along? I figured I had better fold up the map instead of putting my camera lens into his sight. So, I folded up my map and slowly backed away, prepared to assume the fetal position if necessary. As soon as he heard the crinkling of the map folding, he scampered off, heading up the trail. The massive power that moved up the trail was more than impressive. Now, all this took place in 5 seconds - but it's amazing the number of things that went through my mind.

I continued up the trail (which was also the direction he took off) but never saw him again. I finally found the trail I was looking for, it had a log across it. As I completed my end-loop and trip back to Horseshoe Lake I reflected on the experience, as well as the sightings of deer and a coyote. Although I didn't add a peak to my history, I did add a new trail, and the animal world gave me a very special birthday present with their sightings.
Last edited by Ranboze on Tue Sep 04, 2007 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Walking outside is where I find what's inside.



User avatar
Ranboze
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:35 pm
Location: Long Beach, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Snow Nymph » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:31 pm

Happy Birthday! :birthday I thought it was tomorrow!

Cool seeing the :bear: on the trail! I think my camera would have been going off, whether I get a photo or not! :D The last :bear:I saw moved so fast I didn't get a chance to grab the camera.

We'll celebrate with you end of this month! :partyman:
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


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Ranboze » Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:35 pm

Thanx Snowy... yes the actual day is tomorrow, which will be a rather boring day driving home with a short detour to Lone Pine Lake. Now that the "first time" is outta the way... maybe next time I'll be able to get off a couple shots.
Walking outside is where I find what's inside.
User avatar
Ranboze
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:35 pm
Location: Long Beach, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby mountaineer » Mon Sep 03, 2007 10:20 pm

That is a cool story. I have been face to face with Black Bears in the backountry a few times and it is always exciting.

Once, at Graveyard Lakes, I was sleeping under the stars and I woke up to find Wiley Coyote licking the back of my hand. I froze and after a few seconds he trotted off.
User avatar
mountaineer
Founding Member
 
Posts: 651
Joined: Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:35 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Snow Nymph » Mon Sep 03, 2007 10:31 pm

Traffic tonight wasn't as bad as I expected. With the Mojave section of the 14 open, it was a lot better than last year.


A few years ago in AZ: I heard what I thought was an elk running towards my bivy sack. I turned over and looked thru the netting and saw a black & white tail waving in front of my face. THAT was pretty exciting! I thought my heart pounding was going to cause the skunk to squirt in my face! :eek: It was only there a few seconds, but seemed like forever. It walked towards my bear canister, then my pack, then walked away. :lol:
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


http://snownymph.smugmug.com/
User avatar
Snow Nymph
Founding Member
 
Posts: 2041
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 6:43 pm
Location: Santa Barbara & Mammoth Lakes, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby Rosabella » Tue Sep 04, 2007 4:42 am

:lol: ! I have a healthy respect for bears, but feel comfortable in my ability to scare 'em off. But a skunk!..... Wow! What can you do but cross your fingers and hope they leave!!

Hey..... Happy Belated Birthday, Ranboze! :birthday
User avatar
Rosabella
Founding Member
 
Posts: 372
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2005 7:58 pm
Location: Washington State
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Postby BSquared » Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:45 am

Next time I meet any of you guys around a campfire (fat chance!), remind me to tell you the tale of my friend's father, the "skunk whisperer! " :lol:
User avatar
BSquared
Founding Member
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Jericho, VT
Experience: Level 3 Backpacker


Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests