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Bears In Yosemite?

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Bears In Yosemite?

Postby InsaneBoost » Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:02 pm

Okay, what's the secret to bears in Yosemite? When do they come out? What meadows do they like? I've followed my 'rule of thumb' in a sense in Sequoia that has helped me see roughly 30+ bears over the past year and a half. The same rule of thumb hasn't helped me find ONE bear in Yosemite.

That's not to say I haven't found bears, I have, it's just what I do in Sequoia, which is normally hit the meadows around 4ish, doesn't work the same in Yosemite, and I can't figure out why. Of course I believe from random chats with rangers, is that there are just a lot more in Sequoia, but certainly there has to be a fair amount in Yosemite, as well as the Valley?

So far in Yosemite/Yosemite Valley I have seen a total of five, and one just outside the park in El Portal getting in the river. That's obviously 6x less than in Sequoia. And it seems that people see them at a much faster rate than I.

I typically like to do the shorter valley loop that goes from the North Pines campground to the Sentinel Bridge. I figured around 4-5 with people cooking they'd come out, but nope. Nothing. I randomly found one last week thanks to noticing a ranger with the antenna out and decided to follow him around.

Are there any specific places or meadows where they are known to roam more than others? Should I be looking more in the Tuolumne areas?

Thanks



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Re: Bears In Yosemite?

Postby SSSdave » Tue Jul 21, 2015 9:56 pm

Most people tend to see bears that frequent campgrounds and places where they find human food. Finding bears in the backcountry is a wholy different matter. I see more bears than average visitors because of the time of day I am often about and the places I ramble as a photographer. Most animals tend to come out early in the day unless the weather is an issue. I habitually get up during dawn both on my m-f 8-5 workdays and when out in our mountains.

Black bears hide out in places people don't usually go. They are secretive and obviously don't like people near them. In Yosemite Valley that is at the base of the big cliffs in forested areas where trees meet large talus. That is because there are lots of places in piles of large talus for bears to live. The further those are from trails and out of trail sight the better. I've seen plenty of bears at the base of The Rockslides because I'm probably one of the few people that know how to get up into that talus directly from the road without using the Rainbow Point Trail.

In the rest of the park out in the backcountry during summer they also hide out in places people rarely go. Just like at SEKI, they prefer areas with large trees because they climb trees when scared. Scared of larger bears or humans. Their favorite kind of trees in summer are the big shady cool red fir groves and no doubt the large bark plates are ideal for getting a grip on versus say smooth trunks like lodgepoles. For example in the Tuolumne Meadows area the gloomy forest with huge red firs between SR120 and the Whiz Domes. See cross hairs on map:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=37.86947,-119.43417&z=15&t=T

One reason is because rarely do people have a need to travel in that area. Lots of big down trunks to navigate around on the forest floor. I've occasionally climbed up on those domes because its a good view. Bears that see me in there usually are immediately freaked out because they don't expect anyone. Bears also like small pocket meadows near those big tree areas. There are many in the park people never have reason to cross through. Just look on Google Earth.

Bears also like to travel routes along permanent streams in heavy forest where there are no trails. Frog Creek is a prime example.
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Re: Bears In Yosemite?

Postby InsaneBoost » Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:35 pm

Great. Thanks for those tips. The bear I saw last week was exactly like you said, in the fallen rocks near the Ahwahnee Hotel. About parallel to where the trees separate Ahwahnee Meadow from the Ahwahnee hotel. I'll have to mess around a little bit and find some of those areas on Google Maps and give it a try some time.
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