[Cdt-l] The Grizz

thomas hogeboom thogeboom at fairpoint.net
Tue Jan 3 06:54:44 CST 2012

My hiking partner sustained a leg injury halfway through Glacier Nat.
Park and had to get off the trail, leaving me to hike alone through the
southern half of the park and the Bob Marshall/Scapegoat wilderness.

I started off carried bear bells, but those drove me nuts so I sent them
home and relied on yelling Hey, bear! or Cold beer! every time I got into
heavy brush or came around a corner.  At one point the trail went over a
little rise, so I yelled hey bear and then heard a commotion ahead.  When
I gingerly moved ahead and peered over the rise, there was a bear partway
up a tree, with paws draped over a branch. It chuffed and snapped its
jaws and I could clearly hear the clacking of teeth (at a distance of
perhaps 25 yards). It had a hump behind the head, so I took it to be

I moved on and hiked the next two miles at record pace.

Nighttime was the worst, I worried constantly about a bear coming into my
camp at night, and I slept with the spray can at the ready. An attack
never came, but if it did, I figured a blast of spray would just send the
bear into a rage and might even make things worse. But it was all I had,
so I hung my hat on it.

Much later, I got picked up hitchhiking by a former Yellowstone park
ranger who gave me his 2 cents worth on bear spray. He told me he was
leading a group in the park when a large griz mounted a direct charge. He
aimed his (large size) canister and sent out a steady spray as the bear
came up, and it veered off at the last second. He was not enthusiastic
about the smaller backpacker-sized canisters, as the charge is only good
for about 7 seconds.

I figure that there are times when I carried a lot of extra water (like
in the Great Divide Basin) and put up with the extra weight. Why not bite
the bullet in GNP and YNP and carry the larger canister?  But I have to
admit, I never did carry the big canister and never had to use the little
one.  It's an individual decision for sure.

The Hog

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