RE: [John Muir Trail] Bears
- In areas that require a canister, the bags are not legal. Also, some of the
experienced hoodlum bears are able to get into them after much effort.
Unfortunately, you have to get the trash back into the canister.
As far as what to do with the canister at night, no you do not need to hang
it. Take it at least 50-100 feet out of camp, and put it between logs or
somewhere that prevents Mr. B from rolling it off in a futile effort to get
inside. Hikers have reported having to hunt down a can that had been batted
about and rolled down a hill.
Having said that, the experienced bears have learned they can't get in a
can, and will just walk by looking for easier pickings.
Some people take bear spray, but the incidents of attack of a human by
black bear are almost non-existent. I don't think its worth the weight.
They only come around for your food, and if its handled correctly they
should leave you alone.
On soap, I don't take any. The easiest way to avoid getting soap in surface
water is not to have any soap. I do take a hand sanitizer for hygene. Camp
dishes get a "mountain wash" and we call it good.
From: tiffrowe00 email@example.com
Date: Tue, 02 Jun 2009 17:08:01 -0000
Subject: [John Muir Trail] Bears
I don't have much experience with bear canisters and all practices to keep
the bears away. Any tips would be appreciated.
Are bear bags good to have? I was thinking of keeping trash in a bear bag.
Does anyone recommend a good environment-friendly soap? I assume that
scented soap is a no no.
At night do we need to keep our bear canisters away from our site or up in
a tree as well?
Should we bring bear mace spray?
Some friends who did JMT a couple years back never saw any bears. They
also carried baking soda for all their cleaning, seems like to much extra
weight to me.
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- I don't know how high the density of bears is in SNP, but, living in the area myself and having hiked there many times, I was disappointed for several years at not having encountered any there. I finally had my first sighting last year, followed by another one 5 minutes later, then a mother and cub shortly after that. So, I saw 4 bears just in the one hike, all within about 20 minutes. That was really exciting.
Shenandoah National Park, where the black bear density is very high, also permits the use of spray although I cannot imagine why anyone would feel the need to use it. All of the bears that I've seen are more timid than deer. After hiking the JMT without a bear sighting, I had a bear encounter at Shenandoah at few weeks later and another one in April. Both times the bears ran as soon as they detected my presence.