Saturday, June 7, 2008

People Pictures from the Pacific Crest Trail: May-June 2008

All the pictures are only up to Tehachapi. When Donovan sends us the next memory card we will be able to post from Tehachapi on. We will continue to post more great pictures in the near future. Enjoy!

People Pictures from the Pacific Crest Trail:

This series is dedicated to the hikers that Donovan “Wizz Kid” has met along the trail.

He left Kennedy Meadows June 6th, and would have left sooner except for the fact that he was stuck there due to the “shoe ‘ blow-out’ problem.” He finally received his emergency shoe package, and is well on his way towards Kings Canyon.

Thought I would share some camping stories from Donovan’s family since he is now hiking in my old camping territory.

My earliest memories were camping in Sequoia with my parents and my grandmother Grace. Having a bear in camp is nothing new. I can remember my father sitting on one of our army cots with his rifle, while the rest of us were in his 1945 something with the suicide doors. I was standing on the funny little pull down rail seat in the back looking out the window and listening to the dogs parking, people yelling, and a bear snarling in the camp next to ours. Bears and dogs usually don’t mix. Any way, this rogue bear completely tore up their camp and injured one of the dogs. He then proceeded to come over into our camp, where my dad stood up shouting. The bear climbed up the tree right next to our car. It was not a happy bear, and slapped at the bark on the tree and kept crawling. The sounds are something I cannot describe. The rangers finally came and the bear had to be put down. This is one of my first memories, and I think from what I was told I was only two years old.
Every year until grown, I spent summers with my grandmother in Sequoia, and then she decided Sequoia was too crowded, if you can imagine that. So from then on we stayed in Kings Canyon and sometimes up in Yosemite. I was about seven the first time I really remember being in Kings. My grandmother, Donovan’s great grandmother could chase any bear out of any camp. She was only 5 ft tall, but a power house. She had her arsenal of rocks, flashlight, cow bell, and was pretty good at banging on pots and pans. She would yell out, “ Go Bear, go away bear!” We always hung our old ice box up in a tree, a good 50 feet from our tent, etc.. She tied bells on to the rope and the ice box. The bears did their darnest to ride that ice box down to the ground, but never did. They would sit up in the tree, and swing at the ice box. Back then you could hear the bears coming along, going on their nightly feed fest to each garbage can, and if you didn’t have a clean camp, look out. Grace would tell other campers not to leave things in the stream at night. That is how we kept things cold. She taught me well, concerning the bears, never to feed them, etc.., and to stay clear of “mother bear and her brew” as she would call them. Over the years she chased many a bear out of camp, along with me trying to follow her lead. Of course these days the bears are not afraid of us, and it is best to stay clear.

My favorite story, which my sons always liked to hear was the time in Kings, while camped next to Sheep Creek, a bear decided to make the end of my sleeping bag a place to sit and enjoy his snack of a watermelon someone had left in the stream. My grandmother, Grace, crawled up on her knees and whispered in my ear. I always slept outside under the stars on a pine needle mattress. Any way, she said to me very softly, “Annie, wake up.” I did, and was trying to figure out why my grandmother was on the ground and why she had her arms hooked under me, and why she was trying to pull me out of my bag. Then to my surprise I saw this huge shadow at the end of my sleeping bag. I managed to scoot my way up and out of my bag with my grandmother’s help and we crawled a few feet away, before the bear even noticed us. He really didn’t care about us, just the watermelon. Grace started banging two pots together, and yelling “Go Bear!” He finally went on his way.

The moral which I have never forgotten; be careful where you decide to sleep, and never have your food any where near you. We always had a very clean camp, but the times were different. In that case it was food from another camper, and I always like to think that the bear just wanted a nice soft place to sit and rest and eat his snack. I was nine years old!

Thanks for reading, and more pictures from the P.C.T. will be posted in a few days!

Donovan’s (Wizz Kid)



Anonymous said...

Our memory of Kings Canyon and the bears still sits in my basement. We had a bear visit our camp site one night about 25 years ago. It had started snowing, so we had moved into the car. My stepson had left a bag of sandwiches on the bench even though we'd told him to make sure all the food was packed away. The bear ate it and proceeded to try to open our Igloo (sliding lid) ice chest. He never got it open, but left claw marks in the side of it.

The next morning we got up and had to caravan down the mountain side with about 6 other camping families that had gotten stuck in the snow storm, too.

Amity said...

People should read this.