Yosemite bear experience
Roy j. Regalado (rjr@CTS.COM)
Mon, 19 Aug 1996 14:21:36 -0700
At 05:46 AM 8/19/96 -0500, you wrote:
>For those of you who live near & are familiar with this area - do they
>really say in pamphlets to throw rocks at the bears?
Our troop was in Little Yosemite Valley on the night of August 1, 1996 and
we experienced first hand what the troop from Huntington Beach went through.
During the night we were hasseled by bears three or four times which made
for a really bad nights sleep. Our food was carefully put away in the metal
bear lockers and the bears still went through some of our backpacks.
Our backcountry use permit was attached to a pamphlet which listed lots of
do's and don'ts to protect the quality of the Yosemite wilderness. The
pamphlet advised "keeping some rocks available to throw", and to "act
immediately to scare it away. Yell and make as much noise as possible. Throw
rocks toward the bear (don't hit other campers!). Make more noise." and "The
counter-balanced method of food storage is only a delaying tactic." The
previous are direct quotes from the pamphlet. It is a good list of items
which I would be happy to send to anyone who would like one.
The key thing to remember is that Yosemite has only black bears which are
basically timid. We were in Yosemite for a week and had bears in our camp
every night! We were very careful to store all of our food including
deodorants and toothpaste in the bear boxes. In most cases yelling at the
bears was enough to send them on their way. At no time did we feel our lives
were in danger. They still smelled food and were curious enough to try and
find it. We lost some storage boxes they smacked around but they seemed to
leave all the tents alone. My wife even had a close encounter with a mother
and two cubs while she was taking a short walk. My wife was not more than
200 feet from basecamp in the middle of the afternoon when she startled the
mom and her cubs. I had instructed everyone in camp not to panic if they
came across a bear but to stay still and let the bear find a way to retreat.
Well... My wife said she remembered my words as her feet took over and she
ran one way while the momma bear and cubs ran the other way.
I would hope all of our scouts are instructed well enough to never, never,
never put food in a tent. Two of our scouts who new better (first class and
a star scout) left a bag of trail mix in their tent at base camp while we
went backpacking up into Little Yosemite. When we got back to base camp they
had a nice 12" hole in the tent, a tent full of squirrels, and some real
life concerns for their forgetfulness.
We found that having a few adults on bear watch through the night was enough
to keep an eye on things. Our only real concern was the possibility of a
bear trying to get into a tent. Losing some equipment is the price we pay
for being in the bears livingroom. Yelling, whistling and clapping kept them
moving, but nothing short of getting rid of all the bears will solve the
"problem" of bears in camp.
We must always remember we are the visitors and it is up to us to adapt to
the wilderness. I have a bad habit of telling all my parents that we go
camping where people have died and that is why we train and prepare
ourselves. I would rather they understand the seriousness of going into the
wild than to think we're just going to a really large theme park.
YIS, and I hope to see you and the bears on the trail,
Roy J. Regalado - Architect & Scouter
I used to be a Fox......and a good old Fox too!
e-mail:email@example.com -or- tele/fax:619.942.2078
* /\ /~~\ } " The way to travel the farthest in the
*/~~\/ \/\ * shortest distance, is to go afoot. "
/\/ \ /~~\ Henry David Thoreau
/ / \ / \
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