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Re: [pct-l] bear manners

On Tue, 1 Sep 1998, Tom Reynolds wrote:

> Why do I need to hike 2600 miles to understand what an extra 3 pounds
> means? Seriously, this is an insulting statement. Anyone who hikes 8-10 or
> more days without resupply knows the pain of each extra pound once you're
> at the limit.
> The PCT is a series of 8-10 day hikes between resupplies. True, as your fat
> goes away the need for calories increases but then you carrying ability
> will typically increase correspondingly.
> That said, the current, non-Garcia, Bear Can weighs 2# 3 oz. Properly
> loaded it weighs 20.5 pounds. That's 18 pounds of food or 10-12 days for
> the average backpacker.

I'm afraid here's where your not having thru-hiked alters your
perspective. 18# of food may well be enough for a single 10-12 day
trip but it's nowhere near enough while thru-hiking. That's more on
the order of a 6-8 day supply. 

>  I have a real problem understanding why you don't agree that this the
> absolutely best solution today to keeping food from bears!

I think the trouble is that you're presenting this as an absolute
without any room for alternative opinions. Bear boxes are a viable
alternative solution. They may even be better as even the idiot fringe
is likely to use them since they're such a no-brainer. On the other
hand, these folks aren't going to have the wherewithal to understand
why they should go out and purchase/rent a bear canister. Stealth
camping will work for a limited number of people. Make some room for
alternative opinions and folks will be more willing to agree with your

> Even if you can expertly hang food every time and are willing to take the
> energy to do so, I'd question why you'd want to. Hanging food is a pain,
> almost as bad as camping near a bear box. For 2 pounds you can camp where
> and when you want without hassel. Instead of walking 16 miles a day for 10
> days, walk 18 miles for 9 days. You can save an extra two pounds of food
> for the last day and easily walk the extra two miles per day in the time it
> takes to hang your food! You can pick up the canister at Kennedy Meadows,
> refill it at Mammoth and dump it at Kennedy Meadows north of Yosemite.
> Whats the big deal?

The big deal is that we don't want to have canisters forced upon us. I
would urge folks to carry them and will the next time I'm in the JMT
area. But yet more rules/regulations about carrying canisters is in
fact taking something away from the wildness of the wilderness. It's
just as bad as the taming of bears by poor food storage.


Karl "Birdman" Brandt PCT97 LT98                       (650) 725-3686

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