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[pct-l] Bears in Southern CA ?

Howdy listers,
I live near Palm Springs and hike frequently on the side trails off the
Desert Divide south of Mount San Jacinto and in the southeastern portion
of the San Bernardino Mountains.  I have never seen any bear or bear
sign on or around the Desert Divide.  I'm not saying none are there but
they just aren't very abundant.  However, whenever I've hiked high
enough to get out of the sparse desert flora into the chaparral near a
water source in the above mentioned area of the San Bernardino's, I've
seen copious quantities of bear dung and have seen bears a number of
times.  I couldn't believe the quantity of bear poop and tracks I
encountered up in the Whitewater Canyon west of the PCT.  The San
Bernardino Mountains are a top rated area for bear hunting.  Within the
last several years, a woman shot the state record black bear near the
San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.  That bear was something like 650 lbs.
However, because the bears are hunted they fear people and pretty much
avoid them.  I've heard occasional stories of bear problems but nothing
compared to the stories coming out of National Parks in the Sierras.  So
I personally don't worry about bear precautions in that area.  Knock on
wood (creosote mostly around here).
      Jeff Jones
PS - for you non thru hikers, you should check out Whitewater Canyon.
The canyon is awe inspiring.  I'm sure it would be famous if not for the
near by Sierras and the most popular hiking season (summer) finds
temperatures over 100.

PPS - Had a hell of a storm last night in the Banning Pass.  Hail, rain,
wind, and snowflakes in Beaumont (elevation 2000+').  Reported snowfall
at the top of the Palm Springs Aerial Tram was 1/2".

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