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Going west and bears
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Dutch Anderson
(Silveradodutchman) - F

Locale: Central Florida
Going west and bears on 03/08/2010 20:23:34 MST Print View

Eastern couple looking to take a western backpacking trip. We've seen a lot of the southwest, Zion, etc.

I'm looking for Mountains! Problem is the wife is NOT going to accompany me on any trip where there is going to be any issue with bears. Eastern Black bears aren't a problem but Western bears are! To her anyway, and therefore to me.

Suggestions on an area we could visit?


Greg Lewis
(gpl916) - F

Locale: PNW
re; bears on 03/08/2010 20:41:19 MST Print View

Hi Dutch,

WA (cascades, Olympics), OR, or CA would be ok. I am not sure about ID, or CO. MT and parts of WY have grizzly bears. Even those states probably have areas w/o bears.


Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Going west and bears on 03/08/2010 20:51:23 MST Print View

Define "issue." The only problem you will have with California black bears will be the ones in the central Sierras, most often Yosemite, that will sneak up and steal an unattended food item. Or a bag out of an open bear locker, or possibly they might roll around your (mandatory) bear canister. If you have a voice, and hands to toss rocks, you are okay 99.9999999% of the time. Never been a fatality due to bears in Yosemite, and the handful of injuries was directly related to people being dumb about food storage - putting food in the tent and so forth.

Have not heard of problems similar to this in the northern Sierras, or OR, or WA. They require canisters around Tahoe but the bears there aren't nearly so habituated as in Yosemite.

Edited by lori999 on 03/08/2010 20:52:24 MST.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Bears in the West on 03/08/2010 20:59:56 MST Print View

Lori is right--No issues--After almost 25 years of hiking in the West-- I have been so lucky as to see only 3 Black Bears in Nor Cal. Don't let the Bear factor scare you at all.

Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
Re: Re: Going west and bears on 03/08/2010 21:08:04 MST Print View

And by the way... there are NO bears other than black bears in California. There may be a few small teeny tiny populations of brown/grizz in WA, but OR and CA - none. Our state flag has a grizz on it, but the last one was killed in the early 1900s and while some suspect blacks may have interbred, any bear you see here regardless of coloration (many black bears are blond, brown or some combo of the two) are going to be the smaller, less deadly, more cowardly black bear.

I am far more afraid of raccoons - and the vicious ones are mostly on the coast. Never even seen a coon in the Sierras, just tracks here and there.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
bears on 03/08/2010 22:14:31 MST Print View

It's funny, but the stories that have come out of the Smokies worry me much more than GRIZ in Montana. The only bears I worry about are habituated ones.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Going west and bears on 03/09/2010 08:08:44 MST Print View

While there are a few suspected grizzlies in Washington state they are confined to the remotest section of the North Cascades, up by the Canadian border. You have about zero chance of seeing them.
The bears on the Olympic Peninsula are large dog size when on all 4's. And run away. The bears in the Cascades don't stick around much either. Bear hunting is allowed at certain times of the year so in a way this has helped keep them wild - as does say Rainier's policy of 3 strikes and dead bear. Habituated bears don't last up here like they do in other areas.
I'd agree with Lori though...raccoons are horrid in comparison! Those weasels will get into anything and shred it.

While I have seen a number of black bears in Washington over the years it was often them running away like a big scaredy cat. I have been within 3 feet of a bear, when I walked around a bend in a trail. The bear was more scared of me - it was scary then, but hilarious now....the bear tried to hide in huckleberry bushes on the side of the trail "You don't see me!"
I have yet to see a bear in Oregon.

I did see a grizzly outside of Glacier NP on the eastern side. On the side of the road, it was down in an old burn having lunch. But in Glacier? Sigh, no! Grizzlies just need extra precautions and you will be OK. Common sense goes far.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Going west and bears on 03/09/2010 13:18:03 MST Print View

The smartest black bears are in Yosemite National Park.

A buddy and I had flopped our sleeping bags down in Little Yosemite Valley. I think we had covered 50 miles in two days of trail, so we were dead tired as we saw this unfold. Some other backpackers had erected a dome tent about 100 feet away, but they were stupid. They didn't have any bear canister (as required), so they took their food bag into the tent with them for the night. After a half-hour of quiet, a black bear came sniffing around. It came right up to the tent, and the people inside became scared. Finally, the three people came running out of the tent to harrass the bear away. The bear ran and the people chased. After about two seconds, a second bear appeared and ducked into the tent to grab the food bag. Nobody had even known that the second bear was around. The food bag was taken, the bears got away, and the people went hungry. It was one of the best-coordinated bear attacks that I had ever witnessed.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Going west and bears on 03/09/2010 13:25:21 MST Print View


Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Overblown in Sierras on 03/09/2010 14:32:40 MST Print View

Unless you are:
1) Stupid
2) Careless
3) In a populated area are not only unlikely to have problems with bears in the Sierras but you probably won't see one. Unfortunately I have only seen one out "in the wild." (Maybe my experience is unique) Many of the more popular areas require bear canisters and if you use these then bears will be the least of your problems. Now those skeeters in June, that's the menace.

Edited by gg-man on 03/09/2010 14:34:23 MST.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Going west and bears on 03/09/2010 15:00:03 MST Print View

We get bears in our local parks(in town) from time to time. They always run away when the see us. Those raccoons on the otherhand..... Don't worry about it. Just be smart with what smells.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
"Going west and bears" on 03/09/2010 15:17:30 MST Print View

David U. - I think you're a little TOO far west there.......

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Going west and bears on 03/09/2010 15:27:03 MST Print View

David L . He just wants his lucky shirt back.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
the photo on 03/09/2010 15:35:50 MST Print View

David, that is a good photo.

I just wonder what the man is going to do if he gets in a good hit on that Grizzly.


Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Bears in Olympic NP on 03/09/2010 15:37:47 MST Print View

In 2003, I did a 6-day loop in eastern Olympic NP. We saw seven black bears on that trip and not one had any interest in any of the humans. High slopes full of blueberries kept their attention. This with the group of three hikers who packed in bacon (!) and glass jars of olives and various sauces, blocks of cheese, glass bottles of beer, etc. It was . . . something else.

We were too late to rent a bear cannister in Hoodsport at the ranger station and I do not think they were mandatory (just encouraged). Each designated campsite had a steel pole and pulley system, however, and we used that.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
No brown bears in Colorado. on 03/09/2010 16:14:29 MST Print View

I have read that there are no brown bears in Colorado, only black bears.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Bears in Olympic NP on 03/09/2010 16:19:01 MST Print View

Steven, you were legal back then :-) Only recently has Olympic changed the rules and have taken the bear wires out. It was a good run while they were there....still you are quite right - the bears have plenty of food and leave humans alone for the most part.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: the photo on 03/09/2010 17:25:03 MST Print View

"I just wonder what the man is going to do if he gets in a good hit on that Grizzly."

Bend over, try to stretch his neck enough to get his head over his paunch, put his head between his knees, and kiss his a$$ goodbye. ;}

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Pic on 03/09/2010 17:31:30 MST Print View

That picture is actually from eastern Russia. Tough dudes....

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Pic on 03/09/2010 19:20:35 MST Print View

I'm not sure which one of them I'd rather run into in the backcountry....