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[pct-l] Metal bear cans

After reading the story about the bear being able to get food from a bear can, I
thought that I would share this story from my recent hike from Echo Lake to
Toulumne Meadows.

After using my new metal bear can a couple of times, I too had noticed that it
didn't seem quite as sturdy when partially empty. The metal is pretty flexible
and I was thinking that the lid could pop off if enough pressure was applied so
I started stuffing one of my ditty bags of cold weather clothing into the empty
space as I used up the food. This seemed to give it more structural stability.
All in all, I think that the plastic cans are stronger and easier to pack (the
metal can has an internal ring for strength that gets in the way sometimes).  

My hike went great and I didn't lose any food to the bears, but I did have some
fun at their expense though. I had left Tahoe with about 15 days worth of food
so I used a bear can and two food bags which I counter balanced each night. By
the time I entered Yosemite, I was down to just the food in the can....Since my
two  bags still smelled of food, I didn't want them inside my tent with me, so I
decided to conduct some experiments in "negative reinforcement". I filled the
bags with pine cones and rocks and counter balanced them in a tree about 30-40
yards from my camp to act as decoys for the bears.

Sure enough, on the second night a bear with her cub took the bait. The mother
sent the cub up the tree and it jumped from a branch above my bags and tried to
snag them on the way down. The cub had to jump 3 times before it successfully
pulled the bags down ( I had purposely tangled the bags and rope so that it was
very difficult to pull them down). Momma quickly grabbed the bags and ran about
30 yards or so and proceeded to rip them open....I wish that I had a picture of
the expression on her face as she nosed through the ill-gotten "booty". She kept
pawing through the contents and circling the bags with a most puzzled look on
her face. After a time, she and the cub gave up and departed the area. I saw
that the poor cub had a noticible limp as it ambled off after it's mother....I
wonder if it will be so quick to "take the fall" the next time...

I retrieved the two bags, they were destroyed but the entertainment value was
worth it.....Maybe that cub will stick to grubs and berries when it grows up....

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