Animal Annoyances

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.
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Lumbergh21
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by Lumbergh21 » Wed Jan 10, 2018 11:57 pm

I'll go with humans as the most annoying: music playing through speakers, extremely improper to the point of complete uselessness food hangs, illegal and dangerous fires, garbage, and the list could go on. The most frightening is a close one, but probably a bear that came into camp on a completely overcast starless night at Emerald Lake in the Trinity Alps. He ran when I blew on my whistle, but I got no sleep that night as every time I heard a rustle in the brush around camp, I was sure it was the bear. A close second was a rattlesnake that I nearly stepped on near Castle Crags in Northern California. Every shadow across the trail and stick on the ground was suspect for the next 3 hours.








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John Harper
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by John Harper » Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:28 am

zacjust32 wrote:Chipmunk took my spoon at Rae Lakes one year.
Same thing happened to me up at Cottonwood Lakes. My buddy just happened to see him run by with something in his mouth. I realiized after I found it I should have brought a bright orange spoon, it would be easier to locate than the gray one.

Also had a Clark's nutcracker punch a few holes in my newly purchased Opsak bag within seconds of leaving it on a rock. I guess he could see the trail mix inside. I had no idea their beaks were so sharp, just pierced the thick plastic like nothing.

John
Last edited by John Harper on Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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SNOOOOW
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by SNOOOOW » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:38 am

Agree that by far mosquito's are the most annoying animal on the planet, and yes they are animals.

Fun Fact: The mosquito kills more humans than any other animal on this planet. :drinkers:
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oldranger
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by oldranger » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:02 am

Well I have experience all of the encounters described above that occur in the Sierra. Bear encounters in the 80s were mere annoyances and usually pretty humorous. I have only had one experience dealing with what I assumed was an animal that really terrified me. In the North Cascades I spent the night solo at a lake and was awoken with a sound that seemed like a combination of a cow and and an elk. Then I heard it scuffing around maybe 20 feet away from my tent for about 15 minutes. People had mentioned that a moose had been spotted a few miles away and my fear was that this was a frustrated bull moose with not a cow moose in the neighborhood (this was in the latter part of October). Obviously I survived the night. Spent the next day fishing and catching 10" cutthroats. But bailed in the afternoon for a more secure sleeping arrangement, only to be annoyed all night by the scurrying of mice in the old cabin (with the accompanying fear of contracting the hantivirus).
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by markskor » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:21 am

Not Sierra, but...
Living in Florida a long time ago, we wanted to spend a night out in the 'Glades. After dinner (almost dark) we took a short walk down to the water's edge just to check things out. My buddy decided to sit down on a big log there...until it moved. Turns out it was a 13' gator...made for a long night afterwards.
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kpeter
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by kpeter » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:53 am

So many to choose from.

1) Camping inadvertently amidst a mouse population explosion. July in the Idaho Sawtooths in the 1970s my father and I camped in a meadow not knowing that there was a population explosion of field mice. That night we had mice running in and out of our tent, across our bags, once over my face. Every moment we started to drift off we could hear chewing, which set in motion another mouse hunt. Finally my father retrieved some string cheese, crushed a valium and kneeded it into the cheese, and surrounded the tent entrance with a dozen of the sedative-laced cheese balls. We were unbothered after that. Whether he had just committed a horrible case of mouse extermination, or simply made a dozen of the critters drunk, I never knew. At the time it seemed more humane than attempting to smash them with our boots, which we had tried and occasionally succeeded in smashing each other instead.

2) Double bear raid at Charolotte Lake in the 1990s. This was just before the portable canisters became available. We stumbled into Charlotte after that exhausting first day hike of Kearsarge and set up camp near the bear box, only to discover that a group of plump executive types was camping nearby after having been delivered by horses. They were eating Omaha steaks for dinner, bacon and eggs for breakfast, etc., and putting out an aromatic call for bears that could no doubt be smelt 15 miles away. They also had completely crammed the bear box with their food, including ice chests, and refused to make any room at all for our poor little food duffles. We had to hang our food, and we did the best job we possibly could--knowing the dangers but having no alternative. Sure enough, that night a mother and a cub came by. The mother stayed under the hanging bags while she sent her cub up the tree and out onto the limb, where he patiently reached down and attempted to slice the bags with his claw. Eventually he succeeded and it was like opening up a pinata at a birthday party, as the food packages spilled all over the ground. We banged, flashed strobes, threw rocks, and eventually chased them away--but not before a half dozen food packages had opened.

3) Sock eating mountain goats on the Olympics. Again in the 1990s we camped deep in the Olympics where--at the time--there were many imported mountain goats. They were cute and not very aggressive, and let us get pretty close. I loved the photography. However, they craved salt, and even after washing out our socks and hanging them to dry, we came back to find holes chewed through each sock, with one or two missing completely.

4) Chased by a momma moose. This was not a backpacking experience, but as a teenager car camping with family in Glacier, I was hauling wood from a woodbin back to our camp when a mother moose who was protective of her calf came face to face with me in the road. She charged. I jumped into the wood bin and slammed the door shut behind me. She snorted and hung around for a few minutes while I waited for her to leave. Eventually she did. I eventually made my way back to camp but kept a wary eye out for large creatures the rest of our stay.

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oldhikerQ
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by oldhikerQ » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:50 pm

Most consistent annoyances have been from mosquitoes. The blood thirsty beasts seem to be everywhere that I go. In our group, there are two who are mosquito favorites, and I am one of them. I have set up my tent upon reaching camp, and dived in to avoid the winged demons many times.
On a larger scale, we met a mamma bear and her cub in Tuolumne Meadows at the start of our '74 JMT trip. They got one of our 4 stuff sacks of food hung in the trees early in the morning. Made for a lean 10 days before our resupply. Since then, bears have not got one morsel of food from me.
Been irritated by aggressive marmots, most recently atop Donahue Pass. Never lost any food to them, though.
Lastly, we saw a squirrel parade of sorts in Yosemite Valley. We were camping with the kids many years ago, using the bears boxes as directed. Late one morning, a family pulled up in a mini van and proceeded to unload boxes and bags onto their picnic table. After unloading, they got back into their van and left. When we returned from our walk, we saw squirrels running through our campsite at regular intervals. Upon closer inspection, we saw that the squirrels leaving the site next door had bread rolls in their mouths, while the incoming ones did not. Apparently, one of the cardboard boxes set out by our neighbors contained dinner rolls. The squirrels had chewed open the corner of the box and were in the process of putting the rolls to a higher use. We couldn't keep them from their plunder.
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by creekfeet » Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:22 pm

My quirkiest wildlife encounter in the Sierra occurred indoors of all places when I was working in Sequoia and living in the tent cabins in Lodgepole. I got home from work one day, and immediately heard someone loudly scurrying around. Initially I figured it was my roomie or a friend trying to steal my beer, but when I called out, no one replied. Not knowing exactly what was going on, I walked outside and grabbed the largest branch I could find, just in case. When I re-entered my cabin and went into my bedroom, branch in hand, the cutest little pine marten came dashing out from under my bed, and hopped on top of my dresser. I wound up spending a solid half hour chasing the little guy around the cabin before finally ushering him out, so that was a little annoying but awesome.

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oldranger
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by oldranger » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:13 pm

Actually the most annoying animal I have encountered is people--those that insist, when there are campsites scattered all over the place, to camp right next to me!
Mike

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by Cross Country » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:31 pm

First let me say I don't remember any problems with people. Backpackers are the best kind of people. Some want to be alone and they have problems with people. Maybe it's because I was never pompous about people following the rules. Following all the rules strictly make you a TINY bit better person, but no more. People who follow rules very strictly need to show themselves that they're superior BUT THEY'RE NOT superior.
I believe in trying to get along with people but I won't shut up easily to that end. I say what I think is the truth.

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