3. OMG—Isn’t it scary? What do you do about bears/snakes/mountain lions, tigers and bears, OH MY!
Yes, we are courageous heroes who face down fierce and terrible animals at every turn in the trail. Why, I remember the time…
Actually, the photo at right is the only bear we have seen in the backcountry in the last ten years. And it was taken with a telephoto.
In most places in the wilderness, bears don’t see enough people to learn that we have food with us. In the last five years alone we have backpacked and hiked over seven hundred and fifty miles up and down the Sierra Nevada, and we have seen exactly one bear on the trail. It was 75 yards away at Rancheria Falls in Yosemite, and when it saw us, it slowly began to wander away.
Clearly, we smelled bad.
In fact, the worst experiences we have had with bears have all been in very developed campgrounds, not out in the wild. (Here is a link to those stories: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home/stories-and-fun/stories/bear-stories)
Snakes? In more than fifty years of hiking in the Sierra, P has seen a total of about seven rattlesnakes. That’s an average of one every seven years or so. Three of them were on a single off-trail hike near Yosemite Falls. And every one of them was trying hard to mind its own business and get out of the way. He let each one do that.
Mountain Lions? Tigers? Axe murderers? Sadly, we haven’t seen a single one. Sigh.
Would you tell us if you see one?
For things that you SHOULD worry about in the mountains, go to this section:
You might be surprised at what dangers there are, and how easy they are to avoid.
Welcome to Backpack the Sierra > About Us: About Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada > Isn't Backpacking Hard? >