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673Re: [John Muir Trail] lockers

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  • thomas taylor
    May 7, 2004
      The problem with the bear can is that you can only get
      about 6-days of rations smashed into it and it feels
      and carries like a boulder of granite in your pack.
      Having said that, I have always packed one during
      extended trips, but never more than one. On trips that
      will last more than 6 days, I carry the balance in a
      water-proof bag which I hang. However, I have never
      had a bear enter my camp-site nor have I ever heard of
      bears stealing food from PCT hikers for whom carrying
      a bear can is compleyely out of the question. Most of
      the trail can be construed 'remote' with few hikers
      even during mid-season and, except for yourself, have
      only encountered one hiker who told me that his and
      his brothers food was stolen by a bear near Onion
      Valley, I believe. Most of the bear thefts occur
      where there are concentrations of campers, like around
      Catherdal Lakes in Yosemite, and Onion Valley which is
      a popular camping spot for day hikers. I'm not
      advocating not using a bear can by any means, but for
      extended trips beyond 6-days into the Sierra they are
      simply not practical. In that case, you will need to
      carry more than one or, like me, hang the difference.
      But one does come in handy for showering with: Fill
      it with water and place it in the sun for 30-45
      minutes and you're a new person again!

      --- Ed Lulofs <elulofs@...> wrote:
      > While I agree that the bears are a worst problem at
      > the trailheads &
      > campgrounds,
      > in my experience, bears cruise the JMT.
      > I see lots of bear signs, and I see people get their
      > food attacked when
      > they don't use cans.
      > In the dozen times i have camped on the JMT without
      > a can,
      > I have been hit 80% of the time.
      > When I use the can(always now!), i never get
      > bothered.
      > When the bears get food even once, it is bad and the
      > bears are on the
      > path to get shot.
      > It is just a fact of life in the sierras now:
      > use bear cannisters, filter water, rarely is there
      > enough wood for a
      > fire.
      > There are a lots of places in the sierras where the
      > bears are not a
      > problem. North of Yosemite on the PCT, for example,
      > they hunt bears and
      > people don't even hang food. Remote areas with few
      > people have no
      > bears.
      > But the JMT has heavy and regular bear patrols in my
      > experience.
      > Bear lockers are going out of favor:
      > 1) they concentrate camping in that area,
      > 2) they are expensive to install and maintain,
      > 3) people cache food in them,
      > 4) people leave trash in them. The burden is on the
      > rangers.
      > Bear canisters on the other hand have none of these
      > disadvantages for
      > the rangers, the burden is on the hiker.
      > As hikers we may not like that, but I consider it a
      > fact of life in the
      > sierras now.
      > Ed
      > Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 07:41:48 -0700 (PDT)
      > From: thomas taylor <tgtaylor7@...>
      > Subject: Re: Re: Bear canisters
      > Bear lockers are located on the far southern portion
      > of the trail around Onion Valley where the bears are
      > "bad bears." Personally I have never seen a bear on
      > the JMT above the tree-line. Most of the trail runs
      > above the tree line where there is not much food for
      > bears to forage for and I've never seen a bear yet
      > that's doin' the JMT. Where you will run into bears
      > is in the campgrounds along the trail, like Tuolumne
      > Mdws, and where the trail drops down below the tree
      > line.

      Best regards,


      Thomas Taylor
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