Monday, November 13, 2006

Packing heat on 14ers....

Whoa, you think you know people.

A hilarious, and a little unnerving, thread on has hundreds of people chiming in about whether one needs to hike with a side arm. A surprising number of people apparently do.
In all our nights in the wilderness, we've never been confronted by a bear or lion, though we've seen a few. I'd be more worried about a twisted ankle than a wild beastie. Or, I guess, now I'm worried about accidental discharge of fire arms too.

1 comment:

UltraRob said...

I've done up to 2 week trips in the backcountry and never felt it necessary to even carry mace. On a 10 day trip in Alaska, there were grizzly tracks everywhere in the snow including the area where we set up base camp. For the 8 days we had base camp set up there were never any fresh tracks within 1/2 mile of camp.

Unless an animal has become used to people or a mother is protecting her young, I think there's very little chance of being attacked. Maybe the crazy people out there are the reason to carry a weapon. When I was training for Montezuma's Revenge one year, I had some guys deliberatly shoot at me. According the the sheriff, they were from Denver.

One time in Arizona, there was a mountain lion snarling outside the tent in the middle of the night. My wife woke up before I did and was lying on top of our dog to keep him from tearing out of the tent. He was snarling back at the mountain lion.

I think the most scared I've been with wildlife was in Williams Canyon above Cave of the Winds. I was hiking with a friend one spring when I throught I heard a grunt but my friend had just stepped over a log and I thought maybe it had shifted and made the sound. I asked her if she had hear anything. She said "you mean that grunt?" We stood still and it sounded like a mother bear calling and 3 cubs came down from a tree and went up the hillside in the direction of the grunting.

But that wasn't even the scary part. I decided we should turn around so wouldn't have to come by them on the way back. We hiked back a ways and then started up the connecting trail to Wald Canyon. There was so much bear scat we decided to continue heading back toward Cave of the Winds. We heard something in the bushes and saw another bear cub. It kept moving along the base of some cliffs trying to find a way to get away from us. It disappeared into some brush and there was a big noise. My heart stopped. I was relieved when a turkey came flying out of the bushes.