Thursday, November 5, 2009

Camping and bears. A lot of bears.

Very Big Bag.

Boy in Hammock.

I love my E.

Imagine Big Black Bear head poking up right at the edge. About twenty feet away.

Campsite number two. No very unhappy children.

Bear Patrol.

See where Kinley is gazing off? He'd just come back from disappearing after the deer, waaaaay back there.

We just got back from Big Meadows. We saw a LOT of bears. The first night we stayed in A loop in our fav place and a mother and two cubs came walking along the end of the site.

This is when I learned that my city dog (Baxter) and my rural stray (Kinley) truly are from two different worlds. Kinley, apparently knows what bears are and is of the firm belief, as am I, that they need to stay a respectable distance away.

He was the one that alerted me to the bears. In fact, he bounded out of the car (we were tucking in) and made these low growling noises I'd not hear before. This told me it was serious.

Then he ran forward several feet and put on quite the show. Not the barking to scare the hikers who are idiots and walked through our site, this was a totally different sort of thing. The bears stopped, looked at Kinley, he looked at them.

Baxter stayed in the car sleeping. Either because he has no idea what a bear is (he learned later) or because he hopes Kinley will perhaps be eaten by one.

I called Kinley back and he reluctantly came after I got Gabriel in the car. The bears kept going. A stupid dog would have run up to the bears or made a commotion. He is not a stupid dog. I was a little short of breath. I'm not used to half domesticated bears, I'm used to Alaska bears.

The next morning as we were waking up I went to tether the dogs and Kinley saw a group of deer. Yep, you guessed it.

He was off and it was both beautiful and panic inducing. See, Kinley is a runner and a very competitive one. He didn't want to catch the deer, he never made a sound. He wanted to race the deer.

You can see in the pic with both of them the back is wide open so you could see all this unfolding. he was leaping with the deer and then *poof* they were all gone.

As in ALL gone. I blew my ER whistle, waited....and he came bounding back. it was like, a movie moment, I tell you. he was all 'Did you SEE what I did?!" and I was all "OMG you came back!!"

Baxter is just looking at Kinley like "Whatever."

So....we have breakfast and for some reason, even though the campground is almost empty a family with two very unhappy small children move next to us.

Very, unhappy small children.

So we moved over to E loop and scored 187. This was easy as we had no tent. Although the small children were audibly miserable enough I would have moved a brick and mortar condo need be.

We spent the day hiking and eating .

It's very tiring with two dogs because you pretty much have to keep going through out the day. Went to the lodge, played checkers.

Next morning I'm making coffee and I hear Kinley make the 'bear noise'. I can’t see anything. The E loop is on the edge of a drop off to the Appalachian Trail, you can see it in the pics here.

I'm looking, Baxter is looking, I go down a few feet, no bear. Kinley is still making the bear noise. I turn around, pour my coffee, turn back and there is this HUGE black bear sticking it's head up right over the edge.

To see what he could see.

Kinley and Baxter and now getting serious, I'm yelling at Gabriel to stay in the car and here is this bear.

Bear decides the dogs are a PIA and moves along. Now according to the rangers the bears are no big deal you just make noise and they go away. But I was happy to have my boys.

Kinley remained very serious the rest of the day. You can see in one of the pics where he is basically on bear look out.

The E stuff, well, I found this tri folds martial arts mat we had and used that. it was fantastic as it went all the way under the steering wheel. used the cushions to level it.

The bag, the BAG, I love this bag. I have never loved a bag before. It's HUGE. It has pockets, its flannel lined and has a big top cushy extra part you can drawstring to make a mummy type hood and another drawstring along the top. Zippers one BOTH sides and it's warm. It made me HAPPY.

It's the Teton Mammoth bag. Supposed to sleep two adult and a kid, we are one fat adult and a big nine year old and had plenty of room. It was a dreamy bag.

The secret to putting it back in is to fold in lengthwise and the cram the bottom end in first. Don't even bother trying to roll this sucker up. I am so happy with this damn bag.


  1. Well, sounds like you had quite the adventure...I too would take the ranger at face value, always good to have the pups about as, if nothing else, a signaling device..

  2. JD,

    If you are ever in the area, we'll take you along. I think they are closed up there over Thanksgiving but we are looking for camping closer to home over the break.

    I mean, we are three people who don't really like turkey that much anyhow.

  3. After a bear got into my van I am always very wary when we camp. I have my dog now and I wonder if she would be good at warding off a bear. I hear most bears stay away from dogs.

  4. Most bears stay away from anything that makes a racket. An ER whistle is great, although it hurts your own ears,lol.

    It depends on the dog. Mine are... let's just say they are confident animals and leave it at that.
    I will say that neither bark at the deer who are like six feet away, so there but some some kinda bad animal mojo going on there.

  5. awesome story. very good dogs!

    the last time we went camping Patrick (8yo at the time) and Grandpa went to the bathroom together... PJ was waiting outside of the outhouse for grandpa, when grandpa opened the door PJ says "shhhhhhh grandpa, there's a bear" It was a small (for that type of bear) old lady grizzly less than 20 feet away, just across the road... just looking at PJ. and PJ was just looking at her. So grandpa pulled PJ into the outhouse in a panic and was like, "PJ you should have come in here right away! "

    and PJ's all, "she wasn't coming any closer"

    so we asked him later if he was scared and he was like "not really, she wasn't going to hurt me"

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I was paranoid the rest of the camping trip.... the bear walked right past our campsite a little while later, of course that's right when my camera ran out of batteries!

    no kids went anywhere without an adult for the rest of the trip