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Re: [pct-l] Hitching and Yosemite bears

>From: charliethorpe@worldnet.att.net (Charlie Thorpe)
>Subject: [pct-l] Hitching and Yosemite bears
>out and they can easily and safely pull off the road.  Make sure that your
>pack can be seen and that you are dressed like a hiker (shorts!).  Smile a
>lot, make eye contact, and DON'T flip off the jerk that just snubbed
>you...the next car is watching!  If our experience is any guide, you won't
>be getting a ride from many Americans...but, thank heaven for those foreign
>tourists!  We got rides from Irish, English, Germans, New Zelanders,
>Canadians, and Hispanic migrant workers...got passed by a LOT of old folks
>in their RV's.

Actually rather than making a general sweeping statement regarding
hitchhiking, it really depends on how comfortable you are at doing
it. I've been making loops, heading back on 395, for over 20
years. With the exception of long waits on the passes north of
Yosemite (Sonora and Ebbetts) I've never had a problem...and, like
hitchhiking anywhere else in the world, you get the opportunity to
meet some interesting locals. In and around the National Parks it's
true that your chances of being picked up by a foreigner is pretty
good, although I've never been fortunate enough to have been picked up
by someone from Ireland :-). A lot of climbers come up from Lee Vining
heading to Tuolumne Meadows. They will typically give you a ride. By
the way, I always wear shorts or running tights.

Also, if you're one of those people who flip off anyone for any reason
take a bus. Hitchhiking requires patients and a lot of smiling.

>If you wind up having to spend the night near the Meadows...watch out for
>the bears!  The Yosemite bear population has been WELL trained to come to
>campers for food.  I would hike as far north as possible before camping and
>would avoid established campgrounds like the plague.  I certainly would
>either bear bag or at least set my pack well away from my sleeping area.

Something else I can comment on since I do most of my backpacking in
Yosemite in the late spring and fall (I don't backpack in Yosemite in
July and August anymore). Lyell Canyon is notorious for flying
bears. If you want to see quite a spectacle come watch the bears in
Lyell Canyon frantically look for food in order to meet their caloric
intake in late Sept. and October. Sleeping with your food is not a
good idea from Deer Creek south of Devils Postpile until about Return
Creek (north of Tuolumne Meadows), but if you happen through this area
early the well trained human food consuming bears will not be that
hungry. A simple counterbalance method of hanging your food in this
area should suffice. Don't pay heed to the rangers attempt to "advise"
you to carry a bear container. Yosemite rangers have been threatening
to make bear containers mandatory.

Happy trails!

        Dave Encisco
        AF Division (650) 604-1381
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