Author Topic: Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?  (Read 7335 times)

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Offline bobnmaggie

Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« on: May 16, 2006, 09:11:21 pm »
My wife and I are going to continue our next segment of a cross-
country ride this summer, heading west to east. We rode our tandem
and BOB trailder on the Lewis and Clark from Oregon to Missoula two
years ago, and will pick up the TransAmerica Trail in Missoula, heading
the thousand miles or so to Pueblo, Colorado.

Here's the dilemma: We're a bit nervous about having food in the
campground overnight. Last trip, we typically made dinner at the
campsite, ate all the food and cleaned up. The one night we had trail
mix in one of our panniers, a creature got into it and tore it up. It
wasn't a grizzly or a mountain lion, but it was a nuisance. And it's not
as though people haven't been bothered by the big bears and cats.

We usually wait until we're 15 or 20 miles down the road in the
morning before we grab breakfast, but I notice that there are very few
towns on this lonely stretch, so we might need to keep some food with
us to get us to the first town in the morning.

Any suggestions on carrying food on that stretch of the Rockies?


Bob H

Bob H

Offline mtnroads

Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2006, 01:39:00 am »
In remote areas with critters you should be following typical backpacking procedure and hang your food from a tree limb, downwind of camp, high enough to not be grabbed. This is especially true in bear country, although developed campgrounds may have bear-proof lockers for food.

Most experienced back-country tourists use the same pannier or panniers, usually the front, for their cooking gear, utensils, extra food, etc, and these get hung from the tree at night. No food or snacks in rear panniers, ever. And never bring food or clothes with food on them, into your tent when sleeping in remote areas.

This message was edited by mtnroads on 5-16-06 @ 9:40 PM

Offline adventurepete

Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2006, 10:55:38 am »
I do a lot of travel in bear and critter country and I have found that a separate waterproof bag for food that I secure on my rear bike rack works the best. I keep everything food related in this bag, stove/fuel, pots, utensils, snacks and trash. I have a bear bag which is a small bag with a cord attached that I use to throw over a branch and haul my food bag up in a tree. Waterproof bags are less expensive than panniers so if your setup fails your not out too much money. Be sure to keep your food bag five feet out from the trunk and under the branch if possible. Critters are very adept at the long reach method.  Another possibility is one of the bear proof containers. These you don't need to hang in a tree which is nice. Just toss it in a bush a couple hundred feet from camp.

Be careful not to keep food in your other bags or in your tent. The little buggers will chew their way through to get at the food, even if there is no food currently in there. If you have previously stored food in the bag just give it a good washing out with a non perfumed soap. If your soap is lemony fresh, that could be a problem right? If you dump dinner all over yourself, I wouldn't keep the clothes in the camp either. Most animals won't bother to snoop around unless they smell something tempting...

Most campgrounds have bear boxes to store your food. If they don't, you can usually talk the campground host, ranger or friendly neighbor into letting you put your bag in their vehicle.

My wife and I are going to do the Lewis and Clark form Oregon to Missoula next summer.  How was the ride? I would appreciate beta on the route.

Travel Safe.  Peter Campbell

Offline valygrl

Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2006, 12:45:19 pm »
good info you guys...

adventurepete - i did that part of the L&C, it was fabulous, i would highly recommend it.

Offline litespeed

Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2006, 12:29:55 am »
I've toured all over the country, including the west. I've never carried any food - extra water occasionally - but never any food. It's amazing the eating places you'll find in the dinkiest western towns. But one thing you might watch out for: On my last trip I fought strong E and SE headwinds from Grand Junction CO all the way across Colorado, through Pueblo and on to Dodge City KS. They were the worst sustained headwinds I'd ever faced. The people in Kansas didn't consider the SE winds unusual. It was very tough.

Offline adventurepete

Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2006, 01:03:40 pm »
I think that we may have crossed paths on your tour this summer. Didn't we meet in Madison Campground in Yellowstone? My wife and I were touring with two friends (the odd couple). We had plans to ride down to Old Faithful with you but the odd couple were moving too slow. I found a business card that I think is yours and wanted to say hello, so I sent an email to that address as well. How was your trip?

Travel Safe.  Peter Campbell
Travel Safe.  Peter Campbell

Offline BikerLee

Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2006, 04:36:00 pm »
Regarding L & C to Missoula, I did that in 2004 on the way to join the Northern Tier. If you're bored and want more info, trip report is at:
I enjoyed that portion of the ride more than all the rest, except Glacier national park, my favorite.

Offline Dan_E_Boye

Rocky Mountain critters, red in tooth and claw?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2006, 10:04:14 pm »
Food in the Rockies is not as sparse as on the plains.  Road snacks are a good plan.  The stretch between Lander and Rawlins is kind of sparse.  There's stuff to eat but I wouldn't call it good.  The store in Muddy Gap is the best bet along that stretch.  I thought Grandma's Cafe looked like a set for a Rob Zombie movie.  If you're looking at the AC maps and looking for camping be advised that if you camp behind Grandma's Cafe you will be camping in a junk yard next to a busy highway.