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Bears and Mountain Lions

A place to explore the natural setting (geology, flora & fauna), people, constructed infrastructure and historical events that play and have played a part in shaping the Sierra Nevada as we know it today.
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby Jimr » Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:55 am

I encountered 4 bears in Tehipite Valley in July. In 35 years of hiking the Sierra, this was my first bear encounter. I guess because I like the high country above 11K. I've only seen mountain Lion tracks. The most notable was Reinstein pass in 1985. The tracks were fairly fresh, so I figure the cat probably crossed the pass somewhere around daybreak that morning when we were at Hell-For-Sure lk.
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby The hermit » Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:49 am

Ive only seen bears either driving or in established camps in the sierra.Closer to home ive seen a couple lions in the santa cruz mountains. I did see a mama bear and cubs up in ahjumawi state park lots of wildlife up there!
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby mokelumnekid » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:34 pm

Seen plenty of bears, but only one mountain lion and that was in the upper foothills area (about 3,000' elevation), at night. It jumped across the road in full stride in my headlights. I don't expect to see them in the high alpine country, not enough food. Maybe more likely between 1,000 - 5,000' ?
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:40 pm

As many days I've spent in the backcountry I have seen relatively few bears there, in contrast to many seen in and around campgrounds. I think it's something like 3 bear sightings in 47 years in the backcountry for me: a mother and cub near Ebbetts Pass, one near Dinkey Lakes trailhead and an enormous and beautiful jet black one in a trailless drainage near Bench Lake (Taboose pass area). The latter is the most physically impressive wild animal I've seen.

As for mountain lions I've seen a mess of tracks, including some amazingly large ones three weeks ago near the Waterhouse Lake trailhead in Emigrant Wilderness, but the closest thing I've come an actual sighting was at night getting up to pee at Tower Lake (Hoover Wilderness) in 1987. I saw a large shadowy form beneath a tree and didn't know what it was. Out of curiosity I charged it so I could see it run and figure out what it was. It didn't budge, so I walked backwards slowly to my tent. The tracks there in the morning showed that it was a mountain lion.

I've seen many bobcats where I lead geologic mapping classes in Sunol Regional Wilderness of the eastern SF Bay Area and one of my students reported seeing a mountain lion there. The bobcats are entertaining. One year we saw one catch a squirrel and eat it. The cat completely ate the squirrel in about 5 minutes and left behind only the tail and an amazingly clean and neatly arranged little pile of squirrel entrails.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby riverwalker » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:40 pm

Image

This is along Bishop Creek a few years ago. You can see there are 4 bears in the image and there is another one just out of frame. I was fly fishing at dusk and these guys came down. I have come across quite a few bears but usually one or two at the most. Seeing five was pretty surreal.
No mountain lions for me, but quite a few bobcats.
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby OwensKid » Mon Jan 07, 2013 12:02 am

I spent a lot of days backpacking the high country between Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon NP in the 70's and early 80's and saw more bears and bobcats then anything else. Mountain Lion's was another story only saw one and I was on the trail down low that runs from Millerton to Squaw Leap along the San Joaquin.

My 2 favorite bear encounters happened in Yosemite.

The first was in 1968 when I was 9 and we were moving from Bishop to Fresno and going over Tioga Pass when we saw a cub hit a tree. My mother decided she wanted a closer look and stopped the car and got out. Mama bear never appeared but I would have hated to see what would have happened had she of. I was only 9 but even I knew you do not mess with a cub.

The second was in like 1974 or 75 we were camped with a group of people my mom worked with on Labor Day weekend at Wawona Campground when a bear decided to stroll through camp. Of course a bunch of idiots decided to chase said bruin and it headed down to the stream that flows pass the camp where my brother was fishing and minding his own business. While I am trying to discourage the group from chasing the bear all of the sudden I hear my brother yell and he's in the water trying to get away from it. The pack of idiots had chased it right to where my brother was fishing.

Not funny then but when I think about it now it is hilarious.
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby sekihiker » Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:50 am

I have seen more bears than I can count. As a matter of fact, my earliest memory (age 2) is of a bear cub in a tent cabin campground (since removed) in Giant Forest. Mom let my brother and cousin (ages 5 and 6) go exploring for bears. I cried because I couldn't go with them. A little while later, I walked around outside the tent cabin and to my delight found a bear cub. I rushed back into the tent and told my mother I'd found a "lidda bear." She didn't believe me at first but eventually went outside. As soon as she saw it, she swept me into her arms. In later tellings of the story, Mom said she was worried the cub's mother was nearby and might go after us to defend her cub. I'm sure this would not be my first memory unless my Mom had made sure to retell the story a number of times. By the way, my brother and cousin didn't see any bears that day.

I've been stalked by a cougar. At least that's what it felt like. See a report at:
http://sierrahiker.home.comcast.net/~si ... index.html
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby oldhikerQ » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:57 am

I've seen bears occasionally throughout my travels in the Sierra. Have only seen one mountain lion. It was early AM in Crabtree Meadows near the completion of my '74 JMT trip. Too dark for a photo.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby sparky » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:19 pm

I have never seen a mountain lion in the sierra, but I saw one in the San Mateo Wilderness, and while I didn't see it I am pretty sure I was being stalked one other time in the San Jacinto wilderness. Something large was following me for about a mile right after a bunch of deer ran right past me at full speed.

I have seen large and very fresh mountain lion tracks in snow in Jack Main canyon, and decent sized tracks @ 11,000ft on University Peak, it was probably using the same pass I was.
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby Snowtrout » Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:23 pm

I have never seen a mountain lion (seen a bob cat though) but have had two times where I felt something was watching me as I walked a trail. Spooky feeling.

As for bears, seen plenty, with some good stories. Back in the late 80's at Stoney Creek campground, a bear bent open my parents plastic turtle trailer to get the chocolate cake mix in it at about 3 am. My dad was yelling "get away" while my mom yelled for him to "shut up." Luckily all he did was stretch the plastic, scare my parents, and play with my wiffle ball (chocolate all over it). Next night, we learned to put our food in the car but our neighbors who came in the next day, had their ice chest thrown at a tree that next morning. Guessing same bear.

Another time, some friends and I did a short overnight backpacking trip up Peppermint Creek. The next day when we returned to our car, I found bear prints, nose prints and droul all over the hood and side of my car. No major damage but he was after the empty Windys Frosty cup in the back seat. #-o

Have seen bears in the backcountry while on/off trail but have been lucky that none so far has come into my camp after my food.
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby markskor » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:11 pm

An old story - fits here:

As usual the Yosemite Valley BP site was completely packed that AM…tents and bodies everywhere… (The late stragglers had filled in all the holes). It was just that time when the early-morning risers, the actual backpackers, begin thinking about their day’s journey ahead, and what trail beckons. I heard a noise; a bear was 10 feet away playing with my stocked Bearikade Weekender. Much like a trained seal, he was lying on his back, all four legs in the air, my Bearikade somehow balanced on his nose…comical.

Someone yelled out “Bear!”… (You all have heard this before)…others/everybody immediately got up and came on over – (BTW, a typical scene played out probably every night somewhere in Yosemite Valley). This bear here was small to mid-sized…maybe 150 - 200 pounds, and, unfortunately, already sporting a heavy collar and a numbered ear tag, indicative of his recent jaded past being problematic. He was obviously unafraid of man and more than accustom to all the typical noise tactics - the usual banging of pots, yelling, etc.

Walking over, searching for a few granite chunks – persuaders... something substantial to bounce off the bear’s ass but, just as soon as good-sized ammo was located, my aim was thwarted by the fast-arriving curious masses. Most brought along their cell phone cameras; many approaching/most now situated between me and the bear. The camera users (frickin’ technology meets wilderness) actually formed a close circle around the bear, and because of this crowding/ lack of view, the German bike riders (a dozen or so had camped over, heading SF – NY, – BTW they did not speak any English but drank like fish), unable to watch the bear clearly but nonetheless intrigued, decided to climb up on their bicycles and form a moving outer-circle around the bear.

So there we all were: the bear in the center of Yosemite BP playing with my Bearikade, a close choreographed circle of cell phone, photo-takers gathered around the bear, an outer ring of moving bicyclists trying to see the bear, another ring of campers content with merely standing far away but still convinced that continually banging pots was a good idea…and the “seen-this-all-before” backpackers who sat by and did nothing. I honestly thought this was one of those old Hollywood musicals where they show the overhead shots, like the ones directed by Busby Berkley.

Just when I thought that it couldn't get any stranger, another bear ambled into the picture…the crowd hushed. Reacting to this new presence we temporarily parted, allowing the two bears enough room to come together. The first bear took a big (audible) sniff of this new arriving bear. Turns out, this new bear was a female, and the first one a male. How could I tell? Guess? Now it was time for act two.

Yes my friends, this was a real nature lesson. My Bearikade forgotten, the first bear quickly demonstrated what bears also do in the springtime woods. I had never seen bears mating… (Just like dogs but with much bigger smiles)…all happening in the center of the Yosemite campground. Everybody started hooping and laughing. The camera folk momentarily paused then took more pictures; the German’s, still riding and obviously up for anything, broke out in song, and the pot-bangers…well they did stop banging their pots…thank God.

After a good 20 minute show, replete with bear-moanings and some sort of screeching sounds, the two separated. The crowd started to applaud…a standing ovation…(that male bear was impressively endowed). The sun up and the day starting, I packed up – no damage, and moseyed over to the Curry cafeteria.


…by markskor
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Bears and Mountain Lions

Postby sparky » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:26 pm

Women just can't resist a famous man :lol:
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