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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Cross Country
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by Cross Country » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:39 pm

I was at a stream where I caught a lot of small fish, but big enough for dinner. I caught dinner and ate it. Afterward I caught tomorrow's dinner and hung them on a line not high enough off the ground. It was REALLY cold. I laid down for the night then heard a noise. It was a ferret and it was stealing one of my fish. It came back and stole another and on and on until I had just 2 fish left. I got up and secured them. Why did I wait so late? It was REALLY cold. Why did I get up after waiting so long? I"m not sure.
PS: the next I easily caught enough fish for dinner.








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balzaccom
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by balzaccom » Thu Jan 11, 2018 9:05 pm

Now? Mosquitoes. We've had at least three trips that were truly epic mosquito encounters. I mean, walking, hopping, slapping, and spitting with bug dope all over, long sleeves, and headnets. I did learn that it is a bad idea to try and eat your oatmeal through a headnet.

Before? Yosemite in the early 1970's, lots of bear problems, even with the packs correctly hanging in the tree--until the bear followed the rope and slashed it.

Also have had an odd encounter or two with cows...where grazing is allowed.
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tomba
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by tomba » Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:41 pm

For me in Sierra: mosquitos, bears, rattlesnakes, cows (Emigrant Wilderness), marmots, ... What hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread?

Birds on a day hike in Washington state. I was eating some snack bar and a bird swooped down and took it from me, in flight.

Little black "face" flies near Roads End.

Wasps (yellow jackets). The worst time was when I was coming up on Taboose trail in September. Stopped to take a photo. Felt a sting on my leg. Swatted the wasp away. Then a sting in a different spot on my leg. Did the wasp come back? I looked down again. There were many wasps. A third sting. I took off running uphill with a pack.

Another time, late August, I put my hand in a glove - a wasp was inside and it stung me.

A nicer wasp encounter was on a sunny September morning when I was camping near headwaters of the little no-name creek south of Mt. Florence in Yosemite. I left the tent (unzipped) to explore the valley up. Occasional curious wasps with big eyes (a different species) were often hovering nearby investigating the strange intrusion into their environment. When I got back to my tent there were about twenty wasps trapped, unable to find the exit. I was finally able to free the them all by putting my tent inside out. I kept my tent zipped up after that.
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kursavwilage
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by kursavwilage » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:32 pm

I had a night once when some unknown little critter, probably a mouse, wanted inside my tent and kept waking me up by trying to scratch his way in through the floor of my tent. Finally, I scared it away by swatting where it was scratching and making a lot of noise...
My usual backpacking partner had his water bladder bite valve gnawed by some little critter a couple of trips until he figured out that the reason that it was getting gnawed on was because he would rinse his mouth after brushing his teeth for the night by drinking from the bite valve and he was probably leaving a minty tasting residue from the tooth paste on the bite valve...
At Lake Reflection another friend of mine had his prized trout stolen by possibly a King Fisher while he was a short distance away trying catch more trout.
The worst episode happened while climbing Mt Sill via the Swiss Arete. Three of us were camped at 12000 ft east of Mt Sill and thought that we could leave our gear and food at camp without protecting it because nothing would bother our gear at that altitude. As we climbed we could see the camp site from the route most of the day. After a long day of climbing we strolled into camp tired and hungry only to find that the pesky marmots and maybe some crows raided our camp and helped themselves to most of our food. We must have caught them in the act because when we got to camp a marmot was perched on a rock a short distance away chirping at us as a crow was sitting on another rock checking us out. All that was left was a can of chicken, one Top Rammen, a power bar and 3 Jolly Ranchers for 3 hungry climbers. We split the Rammen and chicken 3 ways for dinner and went to bed with growling stomachs. The next day we split the power bar 3 ways for breakfast and each had a Jolly Rancher for our snack on the way out. I have to admit that I was a little miffed at the marmots and most of the hungry hike out I kept thinking how tasty a fire roasted marmot would be.... To this day every marmot I see reminds me of the that day and our dumb decision to not protect our food.

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Tom_H
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by Tom_H » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:23 am

kursavwilage wrote:...I kept thinking how tasty a fire roasted marmot would be...
ROTFL, I just had a vision of Kevin Kostner in Dances with Wolves eating one of those roasted little vermin in front of all the others! Hilarious!

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balzaccom
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by balzaccom » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:00 am

Tomba: You were hassled by a rattlesnake? What's the story? I've never seen one that did anything but get out of the way...
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sekihiker
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by sekihiker » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:31 am

Other than mosquitoes, marmots have bothered me the most. In a few places marmots have been successful enough at scoring treats that they have become very agressive. It's hard to convince them to stay away. Only losses to marmots so far have been part of a zipper in a bivy sack and the edge of the soles of my zories. I've been stalked by a cougar, but that was exhilarating. I was a awakened by a pika running across my sleeping bag several times one night, but that was kinda fun, too. At a camp on Lone Pine Creek, a tiny mouse refused let me cook dinner by myself.
Overall, except for the mosquitoes, the experiences have not been entirely negative. In a way, I enjoyed the company.

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jeremiahkim
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by jeremiahkim » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:31 am

Wandering Daisy wrote:Fish. I spotted a huge fish on one end of Davis Lake and tried to catch it. He know exactly what I was trying to do. He would swim close, taunt me, then act like he was going to get my fly, just to back off, laughing at me I suppose.
When I first read the post my mind went straight to animals I didn't necessarily want to be around, but Daisy's post reminded me that my most common annoyance have been uncooperative fish. :lol:

Not Sierra, but we shared the trail with a momma goat and two kids in Olympic for the better part of a day. Cute at first but once we set up camp would not leave us alone. Didn't seem bothered by our yelling or rock throwing until a rock rattled the mom's horns. I felt badly about hitting the mom (tried not to hit the kids) but that is what the rangers encourage. Not a lot of goodwill toward non-native species, I suppose.

A more humorous instance (of someone else's annoyance) was watching a marmot dragging a full banana on Half Dome at full speed with a hiker running after it yelling, "Hey, that's my banana!"

Apart from the common annoyances previously mentioned (those face flies out of Roads End are no joke), I've been pretty fortunate (no loss of food, or extremely dangerous situations) and try to take the attitude that I'm a guest in these animals' environments. I like this quote from Annie Dillard: "The great hurrah about wild animals is that they exist at all, and the greater hurrah is the actual moment of seeing them. Because they have a nice dignity, and prefer to have nothing to do with me, not even as the simple objects of my vision. They show me by their very wariness what a prize it is simply to open my eyes and behold."

Granted, most of us wouldn't mind beholding less mosquitos. :wink:

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sekihiker
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by sekihiker » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:39 am

tomba wrote: Little black "face" flies near Roads End.
Oh yeaaaah. I forgot about those pesky devils.

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sekihiker
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Post by sekihiker » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:46 am

I forgot one of my best stories about pesky varmints. Our family camped at Pear Lake and we were unmercifully harassed by a dozen or so marmots morning, noon, and night. As we prepared to leave, I asked my family if they needed anything before we left. "Yes", my daughter Annie said, "A marmot skin."

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