[pct-l] S. Cal. bears and mtn. lions

Vic Hanson vichansonperu at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 3 17:02:50 CDT 2009

I just got back to Peru after spending 2 months visiting and hiking in the U.S., so spent a few hours today catching up on the last few days of the PCT-L (the rest got trashed).

I spent about 3 weeks in S. California, as much as possible of it in the mountains. I was hiking on the Backbone Trail out of Will Rogers S.P. in the Santa Monica Mtns. and saw a young volunteer ranger gal up ahead of me on the trail. She was carrying a small antenna and was moving it around. I asked her what she was doing and she said tracking animals. I asked if they were mtn. lions and if she had found one and she said yes, on the other side of Sullivan Ridge. There was an article in the L.A. Times about them a few years ago, there had been a couple of cubs but I think one was killed.

Later I was in the San Gabriels and was planning on hiking around Mt. Wilson. I had gone up there one day from Chantry Flats and was back at Chantry that sleeping in my SUV in the parking lot. I woke up during the night to someone bumping my car, thought maybe it was the ranger coming to tell me I wasn't supposed to be sleeping in it there. I waited for it to stop but it didn't. When I sat up and looked out, at first I thought it was a couple of big dogs (didn't have my glasses on) but soon saw a bear staring at me through the window. There were two of them walking around my car on their hind legs. I banged on the window right in front of one's face but it didn't bother him at all. I had quite a bit of food in the car and they seemed to be quite intent on me sharing it with them, they didn't want to leave. I didn't want them to scratch my car all up so I finally decided I needed to try to scare them away. One was behind my car and I opened the back door
 (it was the only one I could easily reach), and "quietly" (didn't want to draw too much attention to myself by honking my horn or anything like that) tried to scare them away. The bear looked around at me from about 4 feet away, and just stared at me, didn't seem bothered at all. Finally he got down on all fours and ambled away across the parking lot, and the other one followed. At that time I remembered to take a picture but by then they were out of flash range, and I wasn't sure where my camera was. I decided it would be best not to get out and chase after them to get a picture, so rolled over and went back to sleep, thanking God that they weren't Sierra bears down for a visit. I looked in the morning, hoping to at least get a pic of their drool and paw marks on my car but wasn't enough to be obvious that it had been a bear.



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