2013 trip, West Coast

Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Four straight days of sunshine at Mt. Hood and Mt. Rainier was quite a treat! I don’t think we’ll ever realize how lucky we were to get such incredible views of the awesome mountains! Made for great hiking weather, too! Nick Mock, if you ever go to Mt. Rainier, avoid the wildflower meadows—they’re full of bees that will chase you, crawl into your pants, and sting you! Clyde got really sick of laughing at me swatting at and running from the bees during our 3 hour hike. The bees wouldn’t leave me alone, but that’s what happens when you’re so sweet. :) (The bees definitely weren’t attracted to me because of my sweet scent. After a few days of not showering, Clyde said my hair smelled like porta potty.)

We met an Australian couple at Glacier Vista on Mt. Rainier—they come to the US every year to visit different national parks. We swapped bear horror stories (none of which happened to us) and they really enjoyed our bear spray/bear bomb buying experiences, which is something I failed to share on the blog:

Back in Wyoming, before entering bear country, I really wanted to get the famed “BEAR SPRAY” everyone was talking about. But it was $40, and we’re on a budget. So while I was off looking for a small shovel (for, um, burying stuff…) Clyde perused our bear attack defense options. We came away with a $12 “bear bomb”—Clyde said it’s a can of spray that smells like bacon. So if a bear comes, you spray it down wind and throw the can so the bear will sniff that out instead of attacking you. It sounded funny to me, but hey, $12 sure beats $40. So we get to the Tetons and I take the lid off of this “bear bomb” and our entire car immediately smells like hickory smoked bacon. This freaked me out after reading all the NPS advice of keeping your scent down, not ever for any reason leaving anything with a scent (even an empty water bottle) out at any time of day or night. They also don’t advise ever having even a water bottle or a chapstick in your tent ever because it’s a scent bears could be attracted to. So I read the directions on this “bear bomb” and they go something like this:

1. Spray can away from you on ground.
2. Do not get it on your clothes.
3. Set can on ground.
4. Set up as quickly as possible.
5. PREPARE FOR A GOOD HUNT!

That’s when we realized this “bear bomb” is not AT ALL a defense AGAINST bears, but a bomb to attract them so you can shoot them. Needless to say, we disposed of the can of hickory smoked bacon immediately and bought a $50 can of bear spray in the Tetons. (Yes, the price increased $10 in the park. So we basically spent $62 on bear defense instead of $40. Lesson learned.)

Speaking of bears, we saw our second black bear at Mt. Rainier! We spooked him real good—just saw him leap into the bushes as we drove around the bend.

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