Aug 6, 2006 at 5:47 pm #1219219
I’m getting ready to hike the PCT from Stevens Pass to Snoqualmie Pass and am wondering if anyone has info on bear hassles with food. I am from the Seattle area but most of my experience is on very lightly travelled routes where bears are not a problem. This is my first time on a route as heavily travelled as the PCT and I’d like to be prepared. Any info greatly appreciated.Aug 7, 2006 at 11:13 am #1360643
Tom, I’ve done parts of the PCT between Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass and in late July was at Surprise and Trap Lakes and off trail to Thunder Mountain Lakes which is between Trap and Square Lakes. There are black bears in the central cascades and God knows there may even be a lost brown bear somewhere, but I haven’t read of any reported “problems” on nwhikers.net, (well there was one but that was in a different part of the state and campers just left their food out all night and the following morning a bear walked into camp and helped himself.) Despite that and especially with precautions, and I’m not talking a bear canister here, regarding food storage and preparation which I’m sure you are very familiar with, I can’t imagine any problems. Virtually all bear sightings on nwhikers.net are hikers going this-a-way and bears going that-a-way. That has been my personal experience as well in Washington State. However should you or any of your party be eaten or injured by bears I warned you to carry a 12 gauge shotgun. PS, You could go to Seattle REI and pick up some Counter Assault for some peace of mind. Have a great trip!Aug 7, 2006 at 4:53 pm #1360657
Many thanks for the beta, Scott. Sounds like there’s not too much to stress about, especially given that my meals are add hot water, wait 5, and slurp it down. Not a lot of sizzle and stink involved. I’ve got one of the new Aloksack OP bags for my food, too, so I’m inclined now to relax and enjoy the scenery. I think my wariness is due to what I have to prepare for down in the Sierra.Aug 7, 2006 at 11:42 pm #1360674
Your more likely to find your black bear down on the golf course in Leavenworth then between the passes, have a good trip, and consider measures if you are heading into the North Cascades.Aug 8, 2006 at 4:43 pm #1360718
If he makes it into Leavenworth, my guess is he’d head straight to Gustav’s for a double order of fries and a “Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwich” washed down with a couple pints of Leavenworth IPA.Aug 8, 2006 at 8:28 pm #1360731
At least the bear doesn’t have to fight for parking…[ I work up there one week a month..]Aug 11, 2006 at 3:31 pm #1360955
I’m finishing up my workday Friday when…a mother black bear and three cubs trucked across Icicle Rd in front of me in Leavenworth about a half mile from Gustav’s. I could not tell if they had burger stains…Aug 11, 2006 at 5:50 pm #1360964
There seems to be a lot of bears in the area this year. I was camped south of Tonga Ridge near Burn Creek and we had a bear or bears coming into our camp several times on Saturday night. This was off trail and in thick brush, with no humans around, however. Hunting season is on and we ran into some hunters who had shot a black bear high on Tonga Ridge, and they mentioned there were a lot of bears around. The open season may be moving the bruins around, too. This area is a few canyons west of the PCT, but fairly close as a crow flies. Two years ago I saw a large one between Surprise Lake and Trapper Lake, near the PCT.
From what I hear I don’t think these bears are anything like the bears in the Sierras.Aug 12, 2006 at 9:48 am #1361005
The Tonga Ridge area because of its’ large blueberry or mountain huckleberry crop is one spot where I have always heard of a lot of bear reports and talked to some hikers on the trail who have seen them. I also spooked a mother and her cub there as I was dropping down to Fisher Lake several years ago.Aug 14, 2006 at 7:23 pm #1361126
I was up at trap,hope, and suprise lakes this weekend and way off in the distance there be a black bear nowhere near the trail system…this would make 6 bears sighted in a week.Aug 15, 2006 at 5:04 pm #1361161
Just finisher the trip that initiated this thread. Nary a bear in sight. Sounds like they’re all either getting their thrill on blueberry hill or diving Gustav’s dumpster.Sep 13, 2006 at 10:52 am #1362950
I use Bonner peppermint soap when on the trail. Now I am starting to think that I may be cleaning up with something that could make me smell like food to a bear. Anyone had any problems with this?Sep 13, 2006 at 11:29 am #1362954
@david_bonnLocale: North Cascades
You use soap? In the backcountry? Handi-wipes are probably heavier but way more minimum impact, because there’s no risk of polluting water when you rinse off, or take a dip in a lake later on.
Seriously, your risk is probably pretty minor. Compared to rotting garbage, beef jerky, or your food bag you probably won’t smell that interesting, even with peppermint soap. If the risk is that bad you shouldn’t be brushing your teeth, either.
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