Re: [John Muir Trail] bear lockers
- My thoughts on this quite common probem:
The best thing to do if you decide *you are oversupplied* with food, and are
tempted to leave it in a bear box: start asking other hikers: "Could you use
any extra food?" If you are hiking SpBo in an area with NoBo PCT
thru-hikers (June and early July) you are 100% certain to get rid of it
within 10 hikers. The rest of the year, you probably will get rid of it
either to someone who is truly hungry or someone who has gotten bored with
his food, and yours looks better to him/her, though you may have to ask more
than 10 people..
Second best thing (a distant second): put it in a bear box VERY clearly
labeled as abandoned food that can be taken by anyone who can use it. Also
place a note under a rock adjacent to the trail itself reading "free food in
bear box - PLEASE remove this note if your remove the food." This is
probably NOT the best practice, but I consider it a very minor sin,
particularly in the season with the PCT thru-hikers (June and early July).
Very late in the hiking season, when the danger increases that the rangers
will have to pack this out, it becomes a more major sin.
Never leave food that might spoil -- only things that can sit in a hot
bearbox for several weeks. And if it is not obvious how to cook it, leave
instructions on how to cook.
Best thing to do *if you are hungry*. Ask the next ten hikers you see "Do
you happen to have any extra food. I made a big mistake and brought too
little." There is a very good chance that you will find someone who had
realized that he oversupplied himself and would like to get rid of some
weight. I gave away food twice to hikers on my last trip who were honest
enough to admit a mistake and to ask. People WANT to be nice to others on
Best thing *if you are caching food* in a bearbox -- even during a day trip:
Clearly mark the food with your name and when you left it and when you plan
to return. If there is a possibility that you won't return, add "If found
after [date], feel free to take this food if you can use it." This protects
you against someone thinking it was abandoned and also protects the poor
ranger who might otherwise have to pack it out at the end of the season.
Including your name "personalizes" the cache and makes it less likely that
someone will just steal it -- it's easier to steal from an unnamed person
than a named one. (This does not suggest that I think that it's a great
idea to cache food in bearboxes -- it just means that I know people do, and
they might as well do it in a way that minimizes the problem).
Best thing to do *if you see food in a bearbox that is unlabelled*. Don't
take it. John is correct in saying that it may have been left by a
dayhiker. But label it so that poeple following you will know whether it
has been there for a substantial time. Write something like "This food was
left here on or before [date] by a person who failed to label it. If found
after [date + 10 days], presumably the food has been abandoned and a hungry
hiker should take it. Otherwise the rangers will have to pack it out."
That way the food won't satisfy your hunger, but it will satisfy the hunger
of a later hiker. And it may protect the ranger from the pack-out problem
John Curran Ladd
1616 Castro Street
San Francisco, CA 94114-3707
On Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 9:08 AM, sierra_marmot <sierra_marmot@...>wrote:
> It's really NOT ok to plan on leaving food in the bear lockers or to
> re-supply yourself at one where there is food. What if someone is out on a
> day hike? Our park rangers are paid a terribly low salary and do their jobs
> because they love where they are and what they're doing; but at the end of
> the season they have to haul out all the junk left in the lockers; which are
> there primarily for the safety of the bears and for our convenience.
> john randall
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