My son and his wife decided to hike in Oregon…

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26 Jan

My son and his wife decided to hike in Oregon…

when they were living there.  So they went to one of the National Parks in the beautiful mountain ranges of the State.  The park ranger gave them some pointers before their trek.

“This is bear country,” he said, “so it’s important to be aware of your surroundings.  Also, I recommend you buy two items at the Park store before you set out: a bell necklace and a can of mace.

“The necklace is so that you don’t surprise any bears–they can hear you coming when they hear the bells jingle.  Most bears will avoid human contact if they can.

“However, if the bells do not deter them, that’s what the mace is for.  A bear’s nose is very sensitive–so if they appear aggressive, even a short spray of mace in their direction will cause most of them to turn away.

“Bears are very territorial.  And in this area, there are two kinds of bears: Brown bears and Grizzly bears.  If you run across any bear droppings, you can usually tell which type of bear is in that area.

“Brown bears love berries–especially blue-berries.  So their droppings will have berry seeds in them.

“Grizzly bear droppings, on the other hand, contain little bells and smell like mace.”

One Response to My son and his wife decided to hike in Oregon…

  1. Thanks, CP. Yes, there’s some small dgenar of bears coming into camp, but usually they are looking for food. So we hang all foodstuff (and anything with a distinctive odor — even toothpaste and sunscreen) from a high branch when we bed down for the night. Most of the bears in the North Cascades are black bears — quite afraid of humans. The ones we saw ran away as soon as they saw us. They’re amazingly fast runners, even on steep, rocky slopes. I’ve never had to do this, but apparently if a black bear comes into your camp, you can easily scare it away by making lots of noise and shining flashlights in its face.Grizzlies are another matter entirely, and now there are reports of 20 or so living in the North Cascades (most live in Canada and Alaska). Grizzlies can become aggressive when confronted, so your best defense is to make sure you never get close to them. They don’t want to take on anything as large as a human, but if they have to, they will. Typical advice is to make lots of noise while you’re hiking, and again, to hang up your food so they can’t reach it.Last year in Kings Canyon, we had to carry food in bear-proof boxes. While there are only black bears that far south, they have apparently learned how to defeat every food-hanging trick hikers can devise.

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