Latest from The Spokesman-Review
CAMPING — My Sunday Outdoors feature story focuses on bear-proof food canisters — where they are being required for campers and which one to buy.
The video above looks at the story from the bear's point of view.
This bear is very determined, but it doesn't get a reward for trying to steal a camper's food out of a BearVault brand container.
ENVIRONMENT — If you are a camper, backpacker, paddler or angler, you're probably looking back, as I am, with fond memories of October's fall color spectacle against blue skies.
It was fantastic, with perhaps a record dearth of rainfall to spoil the experience.
Not great for everyone, but we take the lemonaide when it comes.
We were sleeping under stars and an brilliant full moon without need for a tent in the middle of the month
Like all seasons, October glory is finally waning into something else, as this photo suggests from Montana outdoor photographer Jaime Johnson.
TRAILS — Do you shy away from hiking trails in the beautiful season of autumn because the hunting seasons are underway?
Here's a query I received from area hiker Randy Gosline:
I'm looking for some advice from a hunter. I hike and backpack a lot of miles during the Spring and Summer. Fall is probably the prettiest time of the year to hike with all the trees and foliage changing colors. Here in lies the problem. Hiking during hunting season scares the “Bajeepers” out of me. Even though I always wear bright colors and make lots of noise along the way I can't help but be very nervous about hiking this time of year. Do you have any advice for those of us who want to continue to enjoy hiking during hunting season? I hate to put my backpack away when we are having beautiful fall weather to hike in.
First, if you're genuinely afraid, you can hike in state and national parks and wildlife refuges where hunting is prohibited.
My best advice for you is to stay on trails and to continue what you're already doing: Wear bright colors, (avoid black, which looks too much like a bear) make noise — and keep hiking!
I've hiked or hunted virtually every week during the fall for decades and I've never had a problem.I've hiked or hunted virtually every week during the fall for decades and I've never had a problem.
Here are six choice fall hikes in Eastern Washington.
PUBLIC LANDS — I've seen their embarrassing display of leadership in the home video (above) from the field as they toppled an ancient rock feature on Utah's Goblin Valley State Park.
I've also seen their lame attempts to justify their vandalism as ensuring the safety of visitors.
But the bottom line is that these two Boy Scout leaders are stupid thugs who have no business being role models for our youth.
If you see an issue that needs attention on public lands, contact the management authorities. It's illegal to destroy natural features.
Boy Scouts remove leaders who toppled rock formation in Utah park
The Boy Scout leaders who toppled a rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park in Utah, and captured their actions on video that went viral online, have been removed from their leadership positions.
—Salt Lake Tribune;
HIKING — I'm not the only one who's noticed that October often is a premium month for backpacking.
The weather is clear and crisp and the autumn colors are brilliant.
Check out this photo by Ken Vanden Heuvel from his recent trek into Little Ibex Lake in the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness of Western Montana. There's no official trail to the little lake, which is snug in a notch of broken granite.
So many places to find your autumn niche.
UPDATED at 5:10 p.m.
IKING — A 23-year-old woman reported missing for six days while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in southwest Washington was found safe this weekend.
Alejandra Wilson was located Saturday afternoon, authorities told the Associated Press. She was cold and tired but otherwise OK.
A search team spotted the Oregon woman walking in the Crest trail area as she started hiking out. She was reported missing after becoming overdue for a trail check Sept. 30.
Sgt. George Town of the Yakima County sheriff’s office said Wilson reported that she got stranded by a snow storm about a week ago and waited until conditions improved before walking out.
“She said the snow was almost waist deep and she was pretty well stuck. She wasn’t lost, she was just stuck,” Town said in an interview Sunday.
Wilson told authorities she hunkered down and set up camp under some trees to wait out the storm, he said. From there, she said she spotted the Coast Guard helicopters that went up in search of her. The helicopters flew overhead but she wasn’t able to flag them down in time, Town said.
“The Coast Guard guys were right on track. They did a good job. She wasn’t able to make herself visible,” but their presence “gave her real confidence,” Town said.
He noted that she still had food when she was located Saturday. She was reunited with her dad, grandparents and friends Saturday.
Some of the volunteer searchers included hiking companions who had been on the trail with her earlier in her trip, Town said Sunday.
The Oregonian caught up to Wilson for a first-hand account and the “chilling” details. Click “continue reading” to read the account from the AP Wire.
HIKING — Fall is a stunning time to walk through the region's wildlands, from the scablands to the national forests.
Here are three of my many “favorite” fall walks, all of which are detailed in my latest co-authored guide book, Day Hiking Eastern Washington.
1. Abercrombie Mountain (west of Ione) – The trail to the summit of Eastern Washington’s second-highest peak leads to sweeping views of fall colors, especially the larch that are in the prime of their “goldness” in the Pend Oreille River Valley by the third week of October.
Note: Road improvements are planned on the Abercrombie access roads this fall. Contact the Colville National forest Three Rivers District for updates on restrictions.
2. Hall Mountain (east of Metaline)– The rigorous hike to the former site of a forest fire lookout overlooking Sullivan Lake and the Salmo-Priest Wilderness passes a variety of fall color scenery with a brilliant red bonus. Near the trailhead, visit the bridge over Harvey Creek next to Sullivan Lake to see thousands of spawning kokanee for their run that peaks in early November.
3. Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (south of Cheney)– An easy stroll along the refuge’s Pine Lakes rewards hikers with colorful fall scenery worth the trip in itself. But bring binoculars to appreciate the even more vivid wild art of migrating waterfowl. The hike leads past waters frequented by trumpeter swans that produced two hatches of cygnets this year that will be fledging this fall.
BACKPACKING — My blog posts subsided to a trickle last week while I was saying goodby to summer by exploring the mountains, lakes, wildlife and fly-fishing opportunities in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness of Montana.
It was a trip of extremes, from the weather to the lung-searing altitude.
Details and photos to come.
HIKING – Reed “Sunshine” Gjonnes, 13, hiking with her father, Eric “Balls” Gjonnes, has become the youngest person to complete the triple crown of long-distance hiking.
The pair from Salem, Ore., through-hiked the 2,652 mile Pacific Crest Trail in 2011, the 2,181 mile Appalachian Trail in 2012, and this month they finished the 3,100 mile Continental Divide Trail.
Sunshine turned 13 years old one month into this year’s trek.
They finished the CDT on Sept. 6 with what Sunshine blogged was “an easy” 27 miles” in Glacier National Park to the U.S.-Canada border at Waterton Lakes National Park.
She said their pace picked up a bit with the sight of a grizzly bear, and she mentioned that:
“Our tent smelled so bad last night from three days of wet socks (mostly Dad's). I could hardly breathe it was so bad.
MOUNTAIN STORMS — If you haven’t read Norman Maclean’s “USFS 1919: The Ranger, the Cook and a Hole in the Sky,” Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune recommends it, and so do I.
It is one of the “other stories” in his book “A River Runs Through It and Other Stories.”
Recently I wrote a story about a backpacking trek in the Glacier Peak Wilderness during which thunder storms pounded my camp with the shock and awe of the bombing of Bahgdad.
Maclean says this about thunderstorms from the perspective of a forest fire lookout staffer at Elk Summit near Powell, Idaho:
“In the late afternoon, of course, the mountains meant all business for the lookouts. The big winds were veering from the valleys toward the peaks, and smoke from little fires that had been secretly burning for several days might show up for the first time. New fires sprang out of thunder before it sounded. By three-thirty or four, the lightning would be flexing itself on the distant ridges like a fancy prizefighter, skipping sideways, ducking, showing off but not hitting anything. But four-thirty or five, it was another game. You could feel the difference in the air that had become hard to breath. The lightning now came walking into you, delivering short smashing punches.”
TRAILS – Idaho state Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, hasn’t given up his plan to travel the length of Idaho this fall by muscle power to promote trails, experience rural areas and raise funds for the Redside Foundation that supports the health of Idaho guides.
But he said a leg injury has forced him to change his plan from hiking the 950-mile Idaho Centennial Trail to continuing on a bicycle.
He’d hiked 220 miles in 10 days from Upper Priest River Falls to Mullan, but a few days later on the stateline trail along the Bitterroot Mountains, the leg injury got too him.
His Facebook posts show him biking down the old Lewiston Grade and advancing to Riggins and the Mountain Time Zone.
On Wednesday, the outdoor educator and climbing guide said, “Left the bike up north, caught a ride Boise, put on a suit and am headed to interim Energy, Technology and Environment Committee meeting.
“However,” he added, vowing to finish his Idaho end-to-ender, “I am not shaving my face until I get to Nevada!”
HIKING — Holly Weiler of the Spokane Mountaineers led a 20-mile day hike on the Salmo Loop in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness on Saturday to bring her August Hike-A-Thon mileage close to 300 miles as she raised donations for the Washinton Trails Association.
Photo shows Holly and Ed Bowers about 12 miles into their day hiking down off Little Snowy Top Mountain. In the background is Crowell Ridge and Gypsy Peak, highest point in Eastern Washington.
Why is Holly carrying such a big pack for a day hike, you ask?
Because, as usual, she's been picking up garbage along the way as she cruised through the wilderness, including lots of plastic stuff, plus empty butane fuel canisters and full freeze-dried food packages that were being chewed through by rodents in the Little Snowy Top lookout.
Note to the uninformed:
- Fire pits are not garbage disposals.
- Aluminum does not burn in a campfire.
- If you can pack it in, pack it out.
Wilderness found: The Salmo-Priest is getting plenty of attention. We counted 36 hikers including our group of three had signed in on 8-31-13 at the two Salmo Basin Trailsheads at the end of Colville National Forest Road 2220.
PUBLIC LANDS — Forest Road 2030000 (Albian Hill Road) will be temporarily closed in various sections starting Sept. 3 to replace two culverts in two locations that are currently blocking fish passage.
The Lower Albian Hill culvert, located just past the junction of Hwy 20 at MP 0.3, will be closed Sept. 3 through Sept. 21.
The Upper Albian Hill culvert is located just before the Wapaloosie Trailhead at MP 3.2 and will be closed from Sept. 16 through Oct. 8, 2013.
Access to the Albian Hill road is still available by way of Forest Road 9565000 (Deadman Creek Road).
Info: Three Rivers Ranger Station, (509) 738-7700.
TRAILS — State Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, who was elected to the Idaho House of Representatives in November, is attempting to hike a 950-mile route the length of Idaho in about 40 days.
“Why did you run?” we asked the mountain climbing guide and outdoor educator who teaches college-level physical education and leadership courses.
“Tom Luna, mainly,” he said referring to the resentment many educators have for Idaho's controversial state schools superintendent.
“More important, why are you hiking the Idaho Centennial Trail?”
“To raise awareness of trails in Idaho and as a fundraiser for the Redside Foundation, which promotes health programs for guides. Outfitters have their own association, but there’s not much support for the guides who work for them.”
Erpelding, who started at Upper Priest River Falls, barely had 100 miles under his belt Saturday when we caught him in Clark Fork poring over maps and protein-loading at a barbecue hosted by Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.
“This is a bi-partisan effort,” he said, noting that Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, hosted him for a night at his lake place.
The route is a network of trails, roads and bushwhacking through at least 10 national forests and three wilderness areas.
“I’m getting insights on rural areas and exploring ways people can work together for Idaho,” he said.
The trail isn’t for sissies. “The Upper Priest River trail is amazing through the cedars,” he said. “But in other places the Centennial Trail is poorly marked or nonexistent. Road-walking isn’t fun, and you can go more than 20 miles on ridges without water.”
Despite devoting 10 hours to a 13-mile navigation error over White Mountain, Erpelding, 38, had covered 220 miles in 10 days as of Wednesday.
“Crossed the Selkirks, Cabinets, and some of the Bitterroots,” he posted on Facebook. “Only had to get my bear spray out once and realized that I needed a much bigger can. Bad news: I hurt my left calf; gonna take a rest in Mullan and see if I can get it up to speed.”
Erpending guided climbers in Colorado and on Rainier this summer. He’s also guided five climbs on Denali, although he had to back out of an expedition last summer: “It conflicted with the Idaho primaries,” he said.
Beyond his priorities for education and equality, he wants to spotlight the value of trails for local economies.
“But it does not good to overstate the problems,” he said. “About the same time Hurricane Sandy was trashing the East Coast, Idaho legislators were calling trail neglect in the Frank (Church Wilderness) a ‘national disaster.’ We’re not going to get much credibility with that perspective.”
Trail conditions in the Frank aren’t his top concern for this trek: “Right now the route in the wilderness is closed because of fires.”
His deadline is Oct. 4 – he’s the keynote speaker for the Idaho School Counselors convention in Boise.
“I’ll do the best I can to finish the trail,” he said.
Last question: Is that blood all over your sleeping ground cloth?
“Huckleberries,” he said. “The North Idaho woods are full of them; and the bears know it.”
HIKING — Watch the sky if your heading for camping or hiking in the North Cascades near Leavenworth. The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning with a forecast for storms and heavy rain today.
HIKING — Little Wenatchee Road, (Forest Service Road No. 6500), has been re-opened for the first time since winter to public access above the intersection with Smithbrook Road No. 6700, the Wenatchee River Ranger District says today.
This area, and its popular trailhead for Heather Lake and other alpine destinations, has been inaccessible to motor vehicles since a December storm felled hundreds of trees throughout the area.
The upper portion of Little Wenatchee Road No. 6500 is accessible by taking Smithbrook Road No. 6700 off Highway 2, located about four miles east of Stevens Pass Ski Area, north to the Little Wenatchee Road intersection north of Lake Wenatchee. The lower portion of the Little Wenatchee Road, from a gate up to the intersection with Smithbrook Road, is still closed due to trees over the roadway from last winter’s storm.
Trailheads that continue to be open include Little Wenatchee Ford and Irving Pass to Poe Mountain, in addition to trailheads leading to Minotaur Lake, Theseus Lake, Heather Lake, and Top Lake.
Soda Springs and Lake Creek Campgrounds remain closed due to many down trees and standing dead trees in these campgrounds that can cause safety hazards.
Reconstruction work continues at Heather Lake Trailhead located on Forest Service Road No. 6701-400 in the upper Little Wenatchee drainage. For those planning to visit Heather Lake, the trailhead will remain open during trailhead reconstruction work. Trail users will need to park their vehicles about a half mile down the road from the current trailhead but will be able to walk around construction activities to access the trail. I
Info: Wenatchee River Ranger District, 509-548-2550.
- Should Image Lake be reopened to crowds of hikers?
- Local Trail Angel: Holly Weiler walks the talk
- Slide show of classic Glacier Peak Wilderness hike
Field Reports: Idaho tiger musky record smashed… Snake River chinook fishing opens Sept. 1… Bass-fishing derby proposed for Badger Lake… Clinics, hunts for youth waterfowlers… Traditional bowhunting clinic… Lake Roosevelt Trout Fishing Derby
WILDERNESS — I'm just back from four electrifying days of backpacking in the Glacier Peak Wilderness, catching up old news for which I had a front row seat.
Mudslides bury North Cascades Highway — Hikers stranded Monday as storms leave the vital summer passage closed over the mountains between Mazama and the Skagit Valley. The Washington State Department of Transportation says eight mudslides have buried SR 20.
Lightning pounds North Cascades — Lightning maps showed more than 7,400 strikes occurred from 9 a.m. Saturday until 9 a.m. Sunday along the eastern slope of the Cascade Range and in Southeastern Washington, including the Glacier Peak Wilderness where I was hunkered three nights in a row wishing I had ear plugs. Much of the thunder was concentrated in Okanogan, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Franklin counties, Forest Service officials say.
UPDATE at Aug. 8, 10:30 a.m. — Unconfirmed reports have Heather “Anish” Anderson finishing the Pacific Crest Trail at 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 7, 2013. That would break the speed record of 64 days by 3-4 days. Reports from Josh Garrett’s friends indicate he will finish this afternoon in a time that would break Anderson’s new record by about two days.
HIKING — Heather “Anish” Anderson is likely to inspire people, including bookworms, daydreamers and overweight people. Today she is likely to set the world record for through-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail unsupported.
SIDE ISSUE: The debate is likely to continue on whether a record-breaking trek can be called “unsupported” when a hiker posts progress updates on social media and draws a following that shows up at trailheads to offer food and encouragement. Here's an observation by Karen Dawn, who resents my description of Josh Garrett's record PCT trek as “supported.”
Jennifer Phar Davis does not have the “supported” record for the Appalachian Trail.
When Heather/Anish reached Rainy Pass, 60 miles from the finish, she was greeted by throngs, who knew from her facebook updates that she was coming, and was photographed eating pizza. When Josh got to Rainy Pass, after hiking
120 miles utterly alone, his single support person Tish, who had not had reception, had gone into town to check messages. So Josh stood there all alone, no people, no food. Compare that to Anish's “unsupported” experience….
I am sorry you chose to propogate the unsupported myth — a hike is not unsupported when you are blogging your location and people are showering you with food. She didn't even have to go pick up her last resupply package.
Meanwhile, here's Heather Anderson's background in an inspiring vignette from a Facebook entry she posted on Aug. 2 before virtually disappearing in her final push through the north Cascades to end her 2,655-mile odyssey at the U.S.-Canada border:
I imagine people may think I am a natural athlete, the girl who played sports all through school. The exact opposite is true. I was an overweight child, a bookworm who sat with her nose in an adventure book and daydreamed. I never exercised and couldn't make it around the track without walking. When I graduated high school I weighed 200lbs.
I daydreamed of adventure, but the thing I daydreamed th…e most was that I would someday set a record. Not just any record though, an athletic record. I wanted so desperately to not be what I was. I hated my body and myself. I consoled myself by eating a bowls full of oreos and milk as though they were cereal. But somewhere deep inside I knew I was capable of doing something more.
When I was 20 I met something that would forever change my life. A Trail. Though my first few hikes were miserable as I forced my body to work, I was enthralled. Trails took me on the adventures I craved and to beautiful, wondrous, wild places. I lost my heart and soul…and eventually 70 lbs…to the trails.
Now, I am a few short days away from fulfilling my oldest daydream: setting an athletic record. I cry when I think about all the things I have overcome to get here, both on this hike and off. It makes me ever so grateful to that chubby girl who dared to dream big, audacious dreams. I am even more thankful that she grew up to be a woman courageous enough to make those dreams reality.
HIKING — Regarding my story today about record-setting hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail, I've received several notes regarding the other hikers on the trail. For example:
Laura Talaga, and assistant veterinarian from Chewelah, started in at
Campo on April 23rd. She's doing it for the adventure and the beauty,
not records, though she's also raising money for the Colville Valley
Animal Sanctuary, which she works with. Her support is resupply boxes
mailed to strategic locations along the trail. She's north of Bend at
last report on her blog http://www.traildog4cvas.blogspot.com/.
Not all hikers do it for publicity.
Eric Johnson, Spokane
HUNTING/HIKING — August is a prime month for backpacking in the Inland Northwest and it's also the month in which some hunting seasons open, luring sportsmen with bows or rifles into the same mountains.
Danger levels are very low, but safety-minded hikers wear some bright clothing this time of year.
Black bear hunting seasons opened Aug. 1 in Western Washington and much of the Casdades and Columbia Basin zones. The Northeastern B and Okanogan zones will open Aug. 15.
More seasons, including forest grouse and morning dove, will open Sept. 1.
Archery seasons for mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk open Aug. 30 and run through September.
In the warm weather of summer, hunters should consider hunting in the higher country. Hunters have an ethical and legal obligation to salvage the edible portions of their kill. But meat spoilage is an important concern during hot weather.
The key to preserving meat is starting the cooling process quickly. Game animals should be skinned immediately and quartered in most cases and transported quickly to cold storage facilities. Early season hunters may consider using large ice chests to keep game meat cool and clean. Removing meat from the bones also helps speed cooling.
PUBLIC LANDS — The 30 acre lightning-caused Granite Mountain Fire, burning 19 miles west of Leavenworth, as prompted trail and area closures around Klonaqua Lakes in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, U.S. Forest Service officials said today in a media release.
These closures have been enacted for public and firefighter safety.
An area of about 7 square miles is closed to public entry around the fire zone.
Trail closures in this area include Klonaqua Lakes Trail No. 1563 and French Creek Trail No. 1595 from its intersection with Snowall Creek Trail No. 1560 to its intersection with Paddy-Go-Easy Trail.
Signs advising recreationists of the fire and area and trail closures will be posted at trailheads leading into the closed area.
The smell and haze of smoke may be noticeable in the Icicle drainage and also in the town of Leavenworth depending upon weather conditions and wind direction. Fire managers do not anticipate that smoke will affect any tourism activities in and around Leavenworth.
The fire was started by a lightning storm that passed through North Central Washington on Sunday, August 4.
TRAILS — Saturday is Washington Trails Day, with groups organizing to give a little TLC to popular paths across the state.
But Sunday is another enticing day to hit a trail especially in Riverside and Mount Spokane state parks, since Aug. 4 is one of the 12 days a year designated for fee-free access to Washington State Parks. Vehicles will not be required to have a Discover Pass for access to state parks on Sunday.
The Washington Trails Association has organized volunteers to repair and improve 140 trails across the state this year, including a backpacking group that will be out this weekend on the Shedroof Divide Trail in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness of northeastern Washington.
The association's website offers a hiking guide and trip reports about current conditions that are submitted by hikers – more than 4,500 submitted in 2013 alone. WTA also offers many hiking suggestions for hikers of all abilities.
CAMPING — “Bear spray left in car. Becomes bomb. Very impressive.”
That's a post with the photo above from Hal Herring in Montana, who performed an unintentional science experiment by leaving a canister of bear spray in the back of his Subaru open to direct exposure to the hot summer sun.
Manufacturers say aerosol cans can burst above temps of 120-130 degrees. But the main thing is that the canisters should always be covered — in a duffle, in an uncooled cooler, wraped in a towel under the seat of a car, but NEVER left to the full intensity of the summer sun in an enclosed vehicle.
“Check out the super shred on that bear spray holster…reckon there was a little force there?” Herring notes.
HIKING — With the wildfire season kicking into high gear, be sure to call ahead before leaving on a backcountry trip — and have an alternate plan even if you get a green light.
Jim Czirr of Spokane sent in this report after returning from a trek in the Bob Marshall Wilderness:
I just got back from the Bob Marshalls where I was hiking the last several days. My brother in law and I were the last ones to slip down Red Shale Meadows trail before they closed it due to the forest fires up there.
The attached photos were taken Saturday PM around 3 or 4 PM Mountain time near the Red Shale fire. The fire was a few hundred yards from the trail.
We did the section of the CDT from Lake Levale to Red Shale. Went in Route Pass and out Headquarters, a nice 50 mile loop or so entering the wilderness outside of Choteau.
HIKING — Thunder storms throughout the West this week took a heavy toll, setting fires and raising havoc in several ways.
The strangest detail: Hikers in three national parks were injured or killed within a 30-hour period.
See the stories about this week's lightning strike victims in:
Read this story about the serious threat lightning poses and precautions hikers and campers can take.
HIKING — The greeting party was there, as usual on top of Scotchman Peak on Thursday, rewarding my daughter and me for our steep 7-mile-round-trip hike from the northeast corner of Lake Pend Oreille.
Mountain goats that live on the Idaho peak towering above Clark Fork, Idaho, have become an attraction in themselves. They can almost make you overlook the killer view of Lake Pend Oreille, the Selkirk Mountains to the west, the Cabinet Mountains to the east and the expanse of backcountry to the north proposed for wilderness.
If you go:
— Expect a hike that's vigorous going up and punishing on the way down.
—Prepare for bugs on the summit if winds are calm.
—Urinate off the trail well before reaching the rocky summit area to avoid conditioning the goats to following people. Mountain goats crave the salt in urine and it's thought to make them aggressive, as in the case of the hiker who was gored to death in Olympic National Park.
—Heed the warning signs and please don't feed the goats — for their own good and yours. They've been fed before and they'll come looking for food and salt to lick. Guard your packs. They may try to nibble at your pack straps.
I fear for the mountain goats' future if they continue to be spoiled and set up to hurt somebody one day.
After posting the blog info above on Facebook, I received this reply to consider from FB friend Nick Delavan:
My friend Cody Evans and I made our yearly pilgrimage to the summit (of Scotchman Peak) a month ago. We were greeted by 7 goats one of which was extremely aggressive and at one point he charged, stopping only ten feet from us. We almost turned his white coat orange! Thankfully a well placed rock via fast pitch sent him on his way. I believe that particular goat was sick, injured or both. It was a good reminder that these animals are wild and have the potential to be dangerous. At no point should people forget that. Leave no trace applies even on a day hike!
HIKING — Bear activity has prompted the Idaho Panhandle National Forests today to temporarily close popular trails to Beehive and Harrison Lakes in the upper Pack River drainage of the Selkirk Mountains.
The two trails and the surrounding area are closed to the public until further notice to ensure public safety, said Jason Kirchner, Forest Service spokesman in Coeur d'Alene.
A bear recently entered a camp site near the Beehive Lakes Trail and was able to remove camping equipment and human food, he said.
Campers have to step up and follow simple bear-wise rules to protect campers who come after them as well as public access to these coveted backcountry areas.
This bear — the people involved couldn't verify whether it was a black bear or grizzly — likely had been lured by food previously.
One group's sloppy camping can unnecessarily screw up the outdoor experience for everybody, as this instance proves.
And neglecting to hang or protect food usually brings a bitter end for the bears, as it did this month for bears that had become food-conditioned in Montana's Smith River State Park (see story).
Here are the rules from the Panhandle National Forests
There is a mandatory food storage order in effect from April 1 through December annually. All food and beverages including canned food, soda and beer, garbage, grease, processed livestock or pet food and scented flavored toiletries must be unavailable to bears and stored in bear resistant containers at night and when unattended. For more information on proper food storage, members of the public are encouraged to visit the Idaho Panhandle National Forest’s food storage web site.
Temporary closures are the first step in ensuring public and bear safety when problematic encounters occur.
For more information please contact the Sandpoint Ranger District at (208) 263-5111 or visit the Idaho Panhandle National Forests Website.
PUBLIC LANDS — Pat Hart, who manages maintenance of recreation sites and trails in the Bonner Ferry Ranger District, has become an expert of attracting and accommodating volunteers, from youths to seniors, to get seasonal jobs done on a slim Forest Service budget.
It takes more thought that you might think.
Every year, Camp Thunderbird, a Minnesota youth outdoor summer camp, buses out about 20 teenage boys and another group of 20 girls, a lot of them from cities like Chicago, for outdoor adventure in the West, including a couple weeks of service work on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.
“The girls arrive on a different day than the boys,” Hart said.
“The camp promises to do a ton of work while they’re here. We promise to keep the boys and girls groups at least three drainages apart for the entire time.”