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Animal Annoyances

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby Dave_Ayers » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:00 pm

But those who have been heading to the Sierra for a few decades will recall that before bear boxes, the small mammals were far more prevalent and pesty in the frequented camping spots. I've too many stories to mention all, but here's a few tidbits.
- Pops had his soup pot cooking on the stove tipped over by a Marmot when Dad was about 2 feet away.
- Our old packs all have gnawed spots. My buddy had the heel of his brand new rock climbing shoes chewed through in the night.
- One time squirrels bombed our sleeping group by gnawing off green pine cones that dropped like missiles. A one-pound hard green cone dropping from 100 feet up is no joke. Got us up and moving pretty fast.
- At White Wolf many years ago, a yearling bear was rummaging around camp when folks scared it up a tree. There were so many folks banging and hollering, the poor little guy was visibly shaking in fear. After a minute or so of this, he lost bowel control and sprayed all over. Finally the jerks, er, campers, backed off and after a while the little guy was able to scamper off.

Besides mammals, Dad and I got swarmed by wasps while hiking in Kings when I was a boy. Perhaps we stepped on their nest. Each of us got stung about 25 times before we were able to run far enough away. Dad ended up with bad diarrhea, possibly a reaction, and the next few days were a search for relief for him by trying every folk remedy our group could come up with. (Mtn Aster root tea, etc.) It was a happy discovery years later when they finally came out with Immodium.

OK, the last 2 stories are pretty crappy ...



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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby neil d » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:58 pm

Great thread!

All of my bear encounters have been pretty cool, except having my car opened like a sardine can by a bear in Yosemite Valley in 1994. I was sleeping on the ground 15 feet away, and slept through the whole thing! Worst part was the car was a primo 1968 VW Type 3, all original with pristine paint. I loved that car.

One memorable critter moment occurred at geologic field camp in 1997, in the Roberts Mountains in central NV. As I emerged from my tent one morning, I put my foot into my boot, right on top of a large lizard! Feeling that guy thrashing around under my foot scared the bejeezus out of me! To make matters worse, I ejected the boot into my tent, and the lizard was now free-range inside the tent. I was living in this tent for 7 weeks through some inclement weather, so had it pretty well built out with a cot, small book case, writing and drafting supplies, small chair, etc. Took me forever to find him and herd him out of there. I lost track of him, and he crawled underneath my tent floor, and I later crushed him, not realizing what happened until I packed up the tent at the end of camp. Damn lizards...

Another experience that comes to mind, pretty cool but still an annoyance because it put a damper on the fishing, was being accosted by a Kodiak brown bear while I was hip-deep in the Buskin River on Kodiak Island. He was checking me out from 30 feet away, and was very interested in the dolly varden thrashing around on the end of my line. He was an adolescent, but still over 6' when he stood up. I very quietly dropped the rod tip, gave the fish some slack, and slowly backed up onto the bank. He dropped to all fours, sniffed a few times, and wandered back into the willows. I released the fish, cleaned out my shorts, and called it quits for the day.
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby rlown » Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:53 pm

Ok.. I actually know how to do this as I've read the Tom Brown books and have tried it (note I do not condone it but if you're in a situation where you need to eat, it works.) If you don't like to see rodents crushed, don't watch. With a friend, we set up a deadfall for things the size of deer. I was young. :o

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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby Cross Country » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:59 pm

I hung my food. I was a Sphinx Creek Junction.
A bear went round and round my tent rolling rocks and snapping it jaws.
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby Harlen » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:12 pm

Surly Teenagers, no doubt about it. They are the only animal that has ever made us cut short a backpacking trip! (Well, once a swarm of Mosquitos did too.)

Human animals of various sorts have raised my ire more than any other species, but I've never lost my cool and thrown my boots at one. I have however, thrown my boots at Keas and Quokkas- New Z'land and Oz respectively.

Keas are the giant mountain parrot of the Southern Alps, which has a beak like an eagle, and they will shred your backpack- and HAVE shredded mine more than once! The first time was during a 10 day solo backpacking trip in which I reached the base of the Darran Peaks I wanted to climb, at the same time as a week-long storm. I was all alone with one or two Keas for 7 of those days, and soon learned that I couldn't day-hike for 30 minutes without the Kea ransacking my gear. (I was using an open rock bivouac). So every time the weather slightly improved- meaning it rained less hard, and I wanted to amble, or try a climb, I would have to gather up all my gear and cover it with good-sized rocks before leaving. Often I would return to find the Kea trying to pull the rocks off. They are so strong that they have been known to ruin climber's trips by flying off with a boot! I chucked mine at them.

Quokkas are simply over-friendly little marsupials that look like giant, fat brown rats. On an island off the west coast of Australia, they have been over-fed, by humans, and can be extremely persistent and insistent beggars! Our sons (2 an 4 at the time) loved them, but when they weren't looking, I threw my shoes at them to get some sleep.

I'm not sure I can go so far afield from the Sierra Nevada, so I'll stop there.
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby Harlen » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:46 pm

Giantbrookie writes:

on a dayhike to Mt Hoffman my family stopped for lunch and had a marmot run off with our salame which it munched within view in crevice in the rocks. We figured the poor chap would have a rather upset stomach from eating that but the marmot didn't look at all distressed as it ate.


This is good evidence of the sometime "carnivory " of our Yellow-bellied marmot. I was amazed last spring when the brazen marmot pictured below took two tentative bites at my bare heel while camped up in Miter Basin. I wasn't annoyed at all- just fascinated. A marmot that once destroyed my salty T-shirt, and a pair of gaitors did annoy me.

marmot miter basin-108.jpg

"Guess who's coming for dinner?"
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby tomba » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:32 pm

balzaccom wrote:Tomba: You were hassled by a rattlesnake? What's the story?


Coming back along Bubbs Creek on a hot, late August day, somewhere before Sphinx junction I stopped for lunch where the trail is near the creek. My bear can was at the bottom of the pack, under almost all of my clothes (it was hot), and other stuff. I put down the pack, took out the pad, sat on it, took out most of the stuff out of my pack, spreading it around me. I opened the bear can, and took out all the little zip lock bags that contained chocolates, various nuts, seeds, dry fruit, etc. - my typical calorie-dense backpacking food. I started eating them one by one. I heard a new sound: "psssss, psssss". I thought that perhaps one of my water bottles was not completely closed and was equalizing pressure with the surrounding air. "Psssss, PSSSS". It seemed a little louder. Where was the sound coming from? Was it from the deep shade under a nearby overhanging rock in front of me? Yikes! It's a rattlesnake! Coiled up, within striking distance! I sprung out of there, while at the same time trying not to trigger an attack. All my stuff was strewn around the snake. I carefully went back, and gingerly retrieved my the items one by one. Then I went back once more, to take a photo of the snake. It turned out very poorly, partly because I didn't want to get too close, and the snake was in deep shade.

IMG10343-rattlesnake.jpeg
(click to enlarge)

For the rest of the trip I heard many sudden rustles in nearby bushes. Lizards. They kept me on edge.

I think that wherever there are lizards, there are snakes.

Some other animals - orange water fleas that are in some high lakes. They get into the filter and clog it if not pre-filtering. Also, it is hard to see them if filtering with little light, which happens all too often for me, after I reach a location suitable for camping at the end of the day.
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-- Found trash? Please pack it out. Thank you.
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby kursavwilage » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:43 pm

Well, reading all these other great posts reminded me of a couple of other annoyances.
Hiking on the Copper Creek trail we decided to make one of our stops Lake of the Fallen Moon because for some reason that name made me want to see that lake. After arriving we decided to go for a little cool water therapy by soaking our legs and feet in the lake. We stood in the water up to about mid thigh for about an hour enjoying the view and smoking some stogies. I got out of the water and while toweling dry I discovered, to my shock and disgust, what looked like dozens of little brownish leeches attached to my feet and ankles. My friend jumped out of the water and then we both quickly scraped the the vile things away. I figure that they must have been in the mud because when we stood in the water the mud came up to just around the ankles. I'm sure glad that neither one of sat in the water because inspecting each others backsides for leeches would have been more than a little awkward.
The other one was when camping at Flemming Lake we were chewed up by biting flies during the daytime. My only defense against those painful monsters, other than staying in my tent all day, was to dress like a ninja with my top and bottom thermals on and my Under Armour lightweight balaclava, leaving just my eyes and hands exposed.
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby SSSdave » Sat Jan 13, 2018 8:59 am

Its a warm morning as you slowly sweat your way up through forest on a wide popular trail. After crossing a seep stream in willow thickets, the trail abruptly climbs briefly more steeply and then you see it. Dark wet brownish apples scattered about the trail rocks that you deftly avoid stepping on. As you pass, a small cloud of disturbed dark insects take to the air. Just then too an unwanted aroma enters your nostrils leaving aerosol micro horse turds onto your sinus tissues causing you to pick up your pace just to get past and beyond this trail unpleasantness. Up you go a bit more breathing heavily now reaching the top of the terrain step where the trail levels off on a brief slope bench where you see a convenient log in the shade to sit on for a brief break.

Into your pocket, you grab a Ziplock bag with a cinnamon roll you bought at the gas station fast food market on the drive in. Still smells fresh as you temporarily place it down on the log beside you in order to also grab your water bottle! And then suddenly a couple of those insects you just saw below on the trail that had decided to follow you, house flies, musca domestica linnaeus, are dining on your breakfast!

Image

You instantly move your hand that way shooing them off. Then consider how they had likely only a minute before been crawling all around on those steaming juicy horse turds? And making a grimace on your face, maybe just earlier on the body of some 2-day old dead squirrel's body full of other flies, squirming with dirty white maggots, a disgusting putrid pie of oozing bacteria. You lingeringly look at the delicious sweet cinnamon roll as you feel one of the turd fresh determined flies land on the skin of your sweaty forehead then you instantly raise your arm and it takes off undeterred to circle above your head with a slight buzzing sound waiting for another chance to enjoy your tasty skin chemicals. Not hungry this morning anyway, you whack the cinnamon roll off the log to feed ants and rise up getting back on the trail.
Last edited by SSSdave on Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:14 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Animal Annoyances

Postby markskor » Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:11 am

"... aerosol micro horse turds onto your sinus tissues...turd fresh determined flies...squirming with dirty white maggots, a disgusting pie of oozing bacteria."
Nicely written imagery there Dave! Kudos!
3 seasons of insects -
First the mosquitoes -
Then the biting flies -
Lastly the dreaded meat bees.
All increasingly annoying.
Mountainman who swims with trout
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