Author Topic: Australian Thinking Great Divide  (Read 2313 times)

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Offline Macbeth

Australian Thinking Great Divide
« on: January 01, 2010, 06:01:41 am »

 Hi Everyone,

 This is my first post on this forum, but I have done quite a lot of touring here in Australia, and work in the bicycle industry, so am not a total newb.....

 I have a question, regarding the Great Divide Trail. I have been doing quite a lot of research, and the only thing that I can't really find any information about is the Wildlife..... I am used to all kind of spiders and snakes her, but have no experience whatsoever with large carnivorous animals, and they bother me....

 Are bears and mountain lions something I actually need to worry about, or are they super few and far between???

 Thanks in advance for any help, and I look forward to being a part of this community.

 Adam

Offline JimF

Re: Australian Thinking Great Divide
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2010, 10:52:28 am »
Hi, Adam:
Always great to hear from an Aussie. I rode the TransAm with a countryman from Sydney; it was a hoot. Anyhow, I don't have experience on the GD, but you may hear from other ACA'ers. Have you searched on www.crazyguyonabike.com ? There are a number of relevant journals. As to animal attacks, take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America#2000s
It will give you some perspective.
Good luck and enjoy.

Offline geegee

Re: Australian Thinking Great Divide
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2010, 01:50:04 pm »
After you've had a few bear encounters, you'll quickly realize they are a far overrated danger. I went on the Kettle Valley trail last year and came across at least one bear a day. While bear spray is OK to have as insurance, a more useful thing would be an air horn. A quick harmless horn blast would be enough to get a bear on the path ahead of you scrambling into the bush. If you follow recommended procedures when camping (hang your food, keep a clean site, etc.) you should not have any problems.

Cougar/Mountain Lion attacks are extremely rare, and they usually target children smaller than their size. Cougars are reclusive and stalk their prey from behind, and like most cats, hate the idea that they are being stalked themselves. When I stop for a break in cougar country, I make a habit of doing a 360˚ turn acting as if I were stalking something in the woods, making loud noises. I've been told that this illusion of being aware and aggressive can foil a cougar's plan of stalking you. If anything, it's fun and silly thing to do in the middle of the wild :)

Offline tonythomson

Re: Australian Thinking Great Divide
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2010, 05:54:07 pm »
My first encounter with a bear was so unexpected I had just ridden up a fairly steep hill at the end of the day - already knackered, when this big bear step out a few yards in front of me.  1/2  of me wanted to turn round and head down the hill, 1/2 of me knew I would never get back up and couldn't face going down, 1/2 of me tried to get the camera out as so excited.  (amazing how many 1/2 there are in this situation)  The bear didn't even look at me he just wandered across the road and disappeared into the woods on the other side.   

I have met many other riders and hikers who have no trouble with these fantastic animals - just follow the simple rules
oh and coming from UK it's ok for Aussies to get eaten now and then LOL

You'll have a great time good luck
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Cyclesafe

Re: Australian Thinking Great Divide
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2010, 06:58:27 pm »
  I have a question, regarding the Great Divide Trail. I have been doing quite a lot of research, and the only thing that I can't really find any information about is the Wildlife..... I am used to all kind of spiders and snakes her, but have no experience whatsoever with large carnivorous animals, and they bother me....

 Are bears and mountain lions something I actually need to worry about, or are they super few and far between???
 

"Worry" is too strong, "aware" is a better description. The GDMBR has grizzlies for some of its length and black bears for nearly all of it.  You should follow good practice which includes properly caching your food, scented toiletries, food trash, and cooking, eating, and doing the dishes away from where you sleep.  Bear spray is nice to have in that it will keep you from running away (and getting caught) in the unlikely event of a charge.  If you follow best practices and retire from chance encounters rather than stick around to take pictures, you will not likely be attacked.

BTW, bears in BC just look towards you when they hear an air horn.  I wouldn't bother.

Mountain lions are another matter entirely.  From time to time they will attack cyclists.  The only proactive thing I've heard of is to mimic what some villagers do in India to avoid tiger attacks: paint some eyes on the back of your helmet.  I don't think there's really anything else you can do.  Very rare, so not something a rational person would much worry about.
 







Hoping to do the North Star with ACA in 2014.

Offline Macbeth

Re: Australian Thinking Great Divide
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2010, 07:31:51 pm »
Thanks very much everyone.....

I'm guessing that travelling with a partner or group makes encounters way less likely too, would I be right?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Australian Thinking Great Divide
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2010, 07:34:26 pm »
Most bears (excluding grizzlies) will only bother you for one of a very few reasons:

(1) You come upon them by surprise. You can counter this threat by not moving too quietly--feel free to make noise as you travel, either by conversation, bells, etc. Traveling with a group helps here.

(2) You get between a mother and its cub. Don't do this! Ever! This is the most dangerous situation possible.

(3) They are hungry and you have food. Counter this by following the basic principles of the "Bearmuda Triangle" (google it).

If you are aware of these dangers, you are pretty safe from all non-grizzly bears. Nevertheless, if you do encounter a non-grizzly bear, follow the "look large" strategy, and yell at them. Do not run away.

Grizzlies follow no rules. They are completely unpredictable. You should of course follow the strategies above, but that's no guarantee of protection. Essentially, you just need to get lucky. You can do everything right and still get killed. Fortunately, there are very few grizzlies in the United States, and they are even rarer outside of Yellowstone National Park.

I wouldn't worry too much. The incidence of attacks by bears and lions is very low.