Author Topic: Is a Bear Vault needed on Western Express between Jackson, CA & Pueblo, CO ?  (Read 3704 times)

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Offline kd_ca

Considering a trip starting in the next few weeks, east bound on the Western Express. 

Or can food be put in a stuff sack on a tree?

If you've done this route, what would you suggest?


Offline zzzz

I did the WE but I was CC touring so I did not need to worry about campsite issues.

That said, you may want to be cautious and hang your food if you're wild camping from when you first head west from Pueblo till you get to Delores by the Utah border. I don't think you'll need to worry about it again until the Carson Pass area. I say that just from looking at bear range maps. I do not recall seeing any signage about being "Bear Aware" at anyplace along the route. Even in someplace like Sargent (below Monarch Pass) which is very rural and and wooded, or around Telluride, I do not recall seeing any bear signs.

Actually the only time on that route I worried about the .0000001% chance of an ugly wildlife encounter was when I was on the alternate route (722) between Middlegate Station and Austin. Sixty something miles and I wasn't passed by a car the entire time. As I climbed up the passes on that road the surrounding rocks looked like perfect mountain lion territory and I assumed if one saw me I would look like slow & easy pickings!  :(

I think you'll love the route, I certainly did. A detour to Zion NP is certainly worthwhile but a pretty big detour. Make sure you at least go the extra 10 miles to include Bryce Canyon.


Offline jamawani

Do you really know how to hang food properly in bear country?
Because Sierra black bears are some of the most acclimated to hanging food.
That's why Yosemite and some national forests now require containers.
Bears have learned to chew thru the down cord and drop the pack.

I've joked that soon Yosemite's bears will be asking hikers for quarters - -
so they can turn the catch on the bear-proof container.

If you are leaving west-to-east in the next few weeks,
Remember that bears are just coming out of hibernation over a difficult winter.
They will be ravenous and searching everywhere for food - which is still very limited.

Offline kd_ca

Thanks for the input.

As to hanging food, what do you think of the PCT style of hanging food. 

Example YT:

Offline jamawani

Yeah - -
The diagonal line tied to the tree trunk can be chewed thru.
Sierra bears - and especially raccoons - have learned how to do this.
Bears are relatively solitary - but raccoons teach everybody else..

Ravens, bears, gray jays, raccoons have all learned
that backpacks have amazing food rewards.
So, it's a challenge - and an important one.