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PCT thru-hikers and bear canisters

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Postby BSquared » Tue Feb 14, 2006 7:57 am

PhilB wrote:And Bearlover, only 9 days food in a Garcia? Try a 17 day JMT trip, although I did top up the can with power bars at VVR. Probably not the most appetising selection of food and I will not eat couscous again but I got it all in the can.

Whoa, philB, I wanna see your food list! (Or maybe I don't ;) ). I had a helluva time getting 1.5 weeks in an expedition-size Bearikade! (But I've been told I'm not good at repacking...)



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Postby PhilB » Wed Feb 15, 2006 8:57 am

BSquared wrote:Whoa, philB, I wanna see your food list! (Or maybe I don't ;)


The main meals were couscous, soup mix and powdered instant potato. After that it was pretty much all power bars/clif bars. Not the greatest food but it did the job and fitted in the can.

That was a few years ago now but I can't remember being hungry on the trip. Don't know if that means I had enough food or just couldn't face the food I was carrying!
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Bearlover

Postby Bearlover » Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:26 pm

Ya.. I know.. I'm kinda nice.
There is a Bear.. Where? Over there!
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Postby Wanderer » Sun Feb 26, 2006 3:29 pm

markskor wrote:Bear,
Have to agree with all except the very last: No BS excuses part. Once again, on the first day out, not all things fit. No matter how I try, not every piece that is supposed to be in there - in my Bearikade, can be in there. For a day or two, in trail segments that are long, (for example -VVR to the Portal), I still either hang some food, sleep with it, or make a cairn. I wish this was not the case but...I am not gonna carry 2 bear cans.

So, my adamant and wise friend...if hanging is illegal ($5000 fine), what am I supposed to do?


Sorry, I'm really with BearLover on this one. To give you a specific answer, what you're supposed to do is pack / plan more effectively, period. Laws are laws, if everyone decided on their own which ones they were, or were not, going to adhere to we'd have even more chaos than we do now.

That's the answer, like it or not. If we're supposed to make you feel better about breaking the law by giving you feel-good answers, then maybe you should consider that those first days that you mention are probably the days when you're in the areas most frequented by habituated bears and therefore, arguably, the most inmportant aeas for you to properly store your food!
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Postby markskor » Sun Feb 26, 2006 4:28 pm

Wanderer wrote:That's the answer, like it or not. If we're supposed to make you feel better about breaking the law by giving you feel-good answers, then maybe you should consider that those first days that you mention are probably the days when you're in the areas most frequented by habituated bears and therefore, arguably, the most inmportant aeas for you to properly store your food!


First off, I do not really care about your validation or whether I get a "feel good" answer.
Second, I feel that I am as conscious as the next about being ultra safe and protecting the life of the bear - in all instances. Everything than can go into the biggest can I can find (repacked of course) does go into the can - crammed in tight.
Who elected you god anyway? Nobody came down rudely on you or your opinions...until now. The fact remains that today there are giant loopholes in the laws...whether or not you are on one ridge (inside YNP) or outside - 1/8 mile away, can make all the difference in a $5000 fine or not - and whether you can hang or not. Even the origional poster admits that his uncle puts a flask in a crook of the tree - never bothered but still illegal. Do you always put everything inside of your canister? Always? Is there a loose chapstick or other small item that you keep out, in your pocket or tent? - thus are you deserving of a fine? How about while preparing food...Is there food out...for how long? Can you justify that...period? How about uneaten leftover meals...where does that food go? What about those items that do not fit when you are outside a bear can required area? Is it right then to keep stuff down? or do you hang food in those areas? Does that make that legal? If you spill food on your jacket, does the jacket then have to go in the can? How about spilling on a tent...or on a thermarest? Where do you draw the line on this? How about your stove? Is there food on the outside thus making it necessary to put it in the can too? I hear stories about critters eating clothes (salt) or treking pole handles...boot laces too...and what about trash?
At some point, common sense must enter into the equation somewhere. I am not advocating blatent disregard of the law here, I firmly advocate that all overnighters must carry a can - always - in all parts of the the Sierra. It should not matter where in the Sierra...How about you? Do you always carry one? I do.... period, but at some point, a honest attempt must also be recognized...period.
What about if those first few days if you are not in a high habituated bear area...does that then make storage less important?
That is my answer...like it or not.
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Postby BSquared » Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:43 pm

While I think Markskor and Wanderer could both be a little more diplomatic (Please, Gentlemen! :unibrow: ), I find myself agreeing with both of them: we need to keep the food from the bears, absolutely, but there's a matter of practicality.

So: howcome there aren't a lot more bear boxes in Yosemite, especially where people are likely to spend the first night or two of a long trip? I think I saw another thread where George Durkee suggested that rangers had placed bear boxes in SEKI at just such places (e.g., Charlotte Lake ... although there are just generally a LOT of bear boxes in SEKI and -- as far as I know -- not very many at all in Yosemite). But places where I'd expect them in Yosemite, they're not (e.g., Lyell base camp, Forsythe junction). Any idea why not?
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Postby caddis » Sun Feb 26, 2006 8:24 pm

BSquared wrote:I find myself agreeing with both of them
I don't. To be brief , since mark seems to have laid out most of it, this is an example of a regulation (not a law) that punishes those that try hardest. It is the city-slicker-car-camping idiots or the foolish 3 miles-or-less, trash-hauling weekend backslackers that create most of the problems with bears yet the hardcore backpacker pays the price.


markskor wrote:At some point, common sense must enter into the equation somewhere.
This is the ultimate solution. Punish hard, those people that feed bears, whether purposely or through inept practices. Give some leeway to those that are doing their best to comply to the essence of the regulation..if they can't fit everything into a canister but properly hang their food at night then leave them be.


Side question here...do they still 'relocate' problem bears?
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Postby AldeFarte » Sun Feb 26, 2006 10:20 pm

I agree w/Mark and Caddis. I don't have a stupid canister yet, but I can see the writin' on the wall for me. Around my neigborhood a problem bear usually has a tag and a buddy or two. Just like punk kids, they hang out and create havoc. Taste good, tho. Why, just tonight I had a most excellant crocked up venison/bear stew. jls
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Bears, bears, bears

Postby gdurkee » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:16 pm

Well, although guilty of it occasionally myself, we do need to play well together. Let's all have a group hug... .

OK. In no particular order:

Yosemite does not have boxes because they don't think they're compatible with wilderness esthetics. Cables between trees are OK, but not boxes (except in Little Yosemite Valley). Trade-off, of course, is that bears get more food up there. Sequoia Kings seems to feel that the boxes are so effective, they justify the esthetic intrusion on wilderness experience.

The regulation (which is, incidentally, a law) is the beginning of an attempt to apply a solution equally. Unfortunately, it's not equally applied -- that is, some areas require canisters, some don't. However, I don't really see where it punishes those who try the hardest. Your food either goes into a canister or it doesn't. Now, the good news is that the rangers I know are fully aware of how much food you can squish into a canister and are sympathetic to having overflow the first couple of days.

The bad news is, that overflow, as far as I'm concerned, has to go into a box -- which means you have to get to one. I no longer have any sympathy for hanging food anywhere canisters are required. You, individually, may get away with it on a trip or two. But I see the cumulative effects of bears always -- always -- getting food that's hung when they find it. There's just no way of "properly" hanging it anymore (in areas where hanging is no longer allowed; more importantly, it just doesn't work. I speak here as the <ahem> co-inventor of "counterbalancing."). Also, since the USFS doesn't seem to be fans of boxes in the backcountry, it means at the Lone Pine/Independence trailheads, you've got to get into the park and find a box.

So as long as you get to a box (when you're in the park) I'm OK with it even though, technically, you've got to have all your food in a canister unless you're a through hiker (JMT or PCT or something).

Maybe I shouldn't tell you this, but the fine is not $5,000. I can't quite remember, but it's either $50 or $100.

OK. Hope that helps,

g.
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Postby BSquared » Mon Feb 27, 2006 1:33 pm

There's an apparently up-to-date (and occasionally field-checked) list of bear boxes at Climber.org: http://www.climber.org/data/BearBoxes.html.
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Postby StumbleBum » Mon Feb 27, 2006 4:50 pm

For anyone who uses the Topo! software package, you can download a map of box locations:

http://maps.nationalgeographic.com/topo/file.cfm?fileid=28

I think it may have been put together by the same group as BSquared's reference.
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Postby Wanderer » Mon Feb 27, 2006 7:26 pm

"Who elected you god anyway? Nobody came down rudely on you or your opinions...until now. The fact remains that today there are giant loopholes in the laws"

First of all, let me apologize if I came across as a jerk... that wasn't my intention, as I REALLY don't want to see this site turned into another TT where all flamer-type comments are acceptable! A little common courtesy is a good thing, and if I didn't exhibit it, then shame on me & I truly am sorry!

Having said that... I HATE anti-comon-sense laws and am the first to rebel against them! BUT, there are productive, and non-productive ways to do so. Blatently ignoring a law isn't ever the answer, but working to CHANGE the law CAN be a part of the answer!

It drives me crazy when I walk my dog in my neighborhood, ON HIS LEASH, with all the signs posted about "leash your dog" being the law, yet every night we encounter one or more folks walking their dog off-leash, because, in their mind (and I've asked them" "that doesn't apply to my dog, he obeys" BS. Well, in the last two years my dog (an older, arthritic guy), had been attacked, bitten, etc. 3 times by so-called "well obeyed" dogs. BS!

So... when I see someone say "I know what I'm doing, the laws don't apply to me", I immediately think of the trips to the VET to sew up my dog from the other dogs, off-leash, who chewed him up while he was leashed & couldn't properly defend himself (not that he should have had to... that's why there's a LAW about leashing!)

So.. Sorry to have ruffled your feathers Markskor, but the laws apply to everyone. If you don't like them or think they're unfair, (and I agree with you that corrections need to be made), then pursue, with all your vigor, changing those laws! Don't just ignore them & self-rationalize that they don't apply to you, that doesn't help change anything in the bigger picture!
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