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Desolation Wilderness tips
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Dennis Park
(dpark) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Desolation Wilderness tips on 08/02/2012 08:38:20 MDT Print View

I'm going to DW over Labor Day weekend. My friend and I will be bouncing around the northern shore of Lake Aloha, Susie, Gilmore depending on the mood. We may also do a dayhike to the peak of Mt. Tallac.

What would you all recommend for food protection?
1. put a bear bag system together: cheapest but not the lightest around
2. buy a bear bag system: definitely more money but lighter materials and likely better quality rope
3. Ursak: 7-ish ounces, $$, but I suspect the easiest and most convenient

Also could someone hazard a guess on the whether the mosquito population at that time of the year is typically mild, mod, or HEAVY?


USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Desolation Wilderness tips on 08/02/2012 08:53:59 MDT Print View

Bugs should be lignt by then. Food protection, they would like you to use a canister, free use of one while visiting, I would use my original Ursack TKO if going.

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Desolation Wilderness tips on 08/02/2012 10:53:01 MDT Print View

Agree with Duane--bugs will be gone in all but a few wet places, and proper hanging trees can be hard to come by so an Ursack is my container of choice.

Just had a three-day there, and the wildflowers were just past peak but still spectacular. Bugs were relatively light.



Kiel Senninger
(Kiel.S.) - F

Locale: San Diego
cheap bear bag on 08/02/2012 23:34:48 MDT Print View

For a cheap a PCT style bear bag hang I've taken an old sleeping bag stuff sack, bought 50ft of thin cheapish nylon rope from REI, a cheap carabiner, saved the mesh-like bag that limes/lemons/avocados come in for a rock sack, and found a stick at my camp site. Lighter than a bear can, cheaper than an Ursack, and cheaper than the top of the line cuben sacks and aircore rope set ups, not to mention I'm not stressed about accidentally ruining any of my stuff. Look hard around there and I bet you'll find a tree. Maybe not right next you your primo campsite, but close enough.

Edited by Kiel.S. on 08/02/2012 23:36:11 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: cheap bear bag on 08/02/2012 23:48:19 MDT Print View

"I bet you'll find a tree."

That is part of the problem.

If you have to walk very far to find the perfect tree, you will just use the first tree that you find nearest to camp. That may be a tree, but it may not have good limbs, so the food hangs relatively close to the ground or close to the tree trunk. If you have stupid bears, that may hold them off. If the bears are any good at all, they will know which trees are poor, so they know which trees will have food easy to reach.

It seems to help to deploy a decoy system. I used to use empty brown paper bags with bright white cord, and I would tie them about six feet off the ground and put a noisemaker on each one. That would keep the bear busy long enough for me to jump up and drive him off before he got the real bag.


Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: cheap bear bag on 08/03/2012 11:20:09 MDT Print View

With a couple hundred nights in Desolation I've learned there are campsites with adequate trees for traditional hanging and many others without. That "perfect" tree with the big branch jutting clear, twenty feet off the ground in the typical illustration may exist, but I've yet to find it. Total bears I've had wander through camp to date: 0.