5 Comments

  1. boba
    boba March 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    Interesting blog – book. I hiked the JMT a couple of 4 or five times so I thought I should chime in. (I’ll respond in the appropriate posts.)
    Bears: you are guaranteed to see bears around Vidette Meadow. I think I’ve been through there a dozen times and saw a bear every time. If you leave your food unattended in Vidette you will lose it, in about a minute. Can’t remember which Ranger told me (Dave or Rick) that a sow taught her cubs how to raid the bear boxes there.
    Round about Island Pass as well as the adjoining areas you noted. Lyell, Thousand Island, Garnett are all prime spots for fishing, which brings fishermen, and some are not as careful as your average hiker.
    Now I am going to depart from the gospel according to the NPS/USFS… Anything with a scent will attract a bear, but the bear isn’t going to eat everything. I have left toothpaste, bug spray, and sunscreen out of my bearikade and never had a bear bother with them. Bears remember the stomach ache they had eating those items, and rarely will ingest them. (You may run into the bear that has not eaten them before.)
    What is not often discussed is the danger marmots pose to your food, pack, boots, or hiking staff. They like salt, and they like it quite a bit. If you leave your pack on a rock to walk off to take pictures, you are asking for it. Marmots will gnaw and chew on the belt and back, and if they get into the pocket with your day time food, well kiss it good bye. While on the HST at Bearpaw, I left my hiking staff, complete with foam grip, by a rock and wandered off to “water the vegetation.” I came back and the marmot just about stripped the foam off. I met a guy who had his boots damaged in a similar manner, took them off, put them behind him, a didn’t realize that the bugger was chewing on them until it was too late.They are bold and brazen and will come right up to you. And watch out for the chipmunks, they are as voracious and undaunted.

    1. Ray
      Ray March 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Good points, all, especially about the marmots and chipmunks. I might also include the pikas. I’ve had good luck hanging my backpack from a tree, although I don’t know exactly why. Thanks for the comment!

  2. Stuff Happens!
    Stuff Happens! May 27, 2014 at 3:31 am

    […] Although you certainly expect to have encounters with wildlife, they often come as a surprise, when you least expect it, like the time I turned a corner to find three bears straddling the trail. […]

  3. What Surprised Me About My JMT Thru-Hike
    What Surprised Me About My JMT Thru-Hike December 23, 2014 at 3:32 am

    […] Every day of a JMT thru-hike brings surprises, mostly in regards to fauna.  You’ll turn a corner and discover a gang of deer (often right on the trail), a coyote (prowling for lunch) or a friendly marmot (hoping to trade the perfect pose on a rock for a hunk of human food).  Sometimes the animals are quite a bit bigger. […]

  4. Wildlife on the Trail
    Wildlife on the Trail February 24, 2015 at 10:41 am

    […] Three bears. This occurred on the first day of my first thru-hike of the JMT. What a way to start! Although we all carry bear canisters to secure our food, bear sightings are […]

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