Pacific Crest Trail: Bears!

This weeks blogs is all about bears! Not going to spoil more, just read on.

The last week in the high Sierra’s

It was bittersweet. On the one hand, I loved the high mountains, the most beautiful views every day. On the other hand, my body was getting tired after so many days of high attitude and climbing. I definitely lost weight and started to feel it in my energy level (need more Nutella!) Also, I’m very ready to get rid of the bear canister! Coming down from Senora pass I took my time and kept looking over my shoulder. The last views of the majestic peaks. I hiked through it all! Suddenly I feel goosebumps all over my skin and I’m not even cold. Definitely will miss the high Sierra!

Bye bye bear canister

At Kennedy Meadows north we return the rented bear canister. However, the rules have changed now. Read on to learn why. No bear canister doesn’t mean that there are no bears (sorry dad). From now on we have to hang our food in trees, a so called bear hang, or sleep with it. The first night trying to do a bear hang was hilarious, you need a bit of technique when throwing. So it works like this; you tie a rock to a sturdy rope, throw it over a tree branch (high enough & away from the trunk so the bear can’t reach it), remove the rock and clip the food bags on the rope, then pull the bags up up up, tie the rope & pray that the bears won’t get it.

Bear hang!

South Lake Tahoe

A well deserved zero (no miles) in South Lake Tahoe. Miso and I skipped the hostel to treat ourselves to a room all to ourselves. A shower! First in 2 weeks, the longest I’ve been without a shower in my life. The bed was too soft, real beds are always too soft now. There was a lot of hiker talk about ‘problem bears’, bears who got a taste of human food and are now addicted to it. We talk strategy for the coming stretch; do a big day so we can go straight through the Desolation Wildernis. Content with our plan I continue watching Greys Anatomy. I don’t know why I love it so much, probably because I start to miss my best friend Marianne, who is a doctor 😉 The episode starts with 3 people coming in to the ER all bloody. Severe injuries from?… a bear attack. I laugh nervously. Is the universe trying to tell me something? Miso and I have dinner with some friends and as we walk back to the motel we see a bear! Big, brown and beautiful but a BEAR! In the middle of town! It casually strolls over a fence and slips over to the other side. We are speechless and that doesn’t happen very often.

Plans failed

As per usual our plans change. Town days are hard, so many chores to do. Resupply, laundry, FaceTime, fixing holes in gear, eating, staring in the distance, eating again, staring at our beat up feet and writing blogs. When we finally leave town it’s already late and we set up camp at Aloha Lake, right where the problem bear lives. We meet a bunch of guys and enjoy the beauty that is around us. We swim and it’s like we are in Hawaï! So beautiful. As hiker midnight approaches reality sinks in and Miso and I decide to share a tent. Not because we’re scared, no of course not. Wild turkey (look! Your honorable mention!) calms our not scared minds down. He slept here two weeks earlier too, no problem. He even cowboy camps right next to us.

Aloha Lake

Bear hang failed

We learn from the boys (and heard it from more people) that the bears are smart, they climb trees! So we squeeze our food bags in the tent. A few other hikers come in later and although we warn them they still hang their food in a tree that is only 20 meter away from our then. Right. This could be an interesting night. Miso is a deep sleeper so she asks Wild Turkey and me to wake her up if something happens. We tell each other it was nice meeting each-other for jokes and fall asleep.


Spot the food bags

Empty wrappers

We sleep like bear baby’s. I don’t even wake up to pee. As I leave camp I see hikers come out of the tree line with arms full of ripped plastic. What? So the bear did come to camp! The bear was just very quiet. Smart enough to not wake us so we would chase it off, no one heard a thing. The bear took two food bags, went to the woods and ate everything except ramen, I guess bear also het sick of noodles every day.

One week after this incident and probably more just like these the rules changed. A bear canister is required now in the Desolation Wilderness. Poor bear, it has to work now to get his food. I wonder how many more bear encounters I will get. Hopefully next time I am awake!

Biggest Bear hug!

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Comments 4

  • thecynner : Jul 22nd

    Looks like you’re doing your best to follow best practices in bear country. In addition might I suggest a really good portable electric that weighs only 2.4 lbs. You can find different models at . All are packable and very powerful. Adventure on!

  • Johny : Jul 23rd

    “ONLY” 2.4 POUNDS. :-0

  • Deborah Stewart : Jul 23rd

    I’m enjoying reading your blog and seeing how far you have come.We met in Bishop at the bakery and I was so excited for you and Miso. I’m not sure how I bumbled across your blog but I’m glad I have!
    South Lake Tahoe is only a couple hours from where I live and is certainly a beautiful area. I wish both of you safe travels and continued health on your amazing journey.

  • Kathy : Jul 28th

    I get so angry when people fail and bears get food. That bear will most likely have to be killed; a fed bear is a dead bear. Why do people care so little about these animals?


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