[pct-l] Bear Canisters: Good for Bear, not for Hungry Hiker?

Gail Van Velzer vanvelzer at charter.net
Tue Aug 12 17:08:08 CDT 2014

You hit the nail on the head!  Through my study, I have found that there are 
many other ways to keep food away from bears; that the BC is not the only 
way.  Why is it then, that the Forest Service beaurocrats who sit behind a 
desk and never get out there on a trail are making these decisions?  Also, 
for those of us who have medical issues (diabetes), carb loading isn't an 
option!  I would like the forest service to allow other proven means of 
protecting food from bears...but like that's going to happen!

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <ned at mountaineducation.org>
To: <johnmuirtrail at yahoogroups.com>
Cc: <pct-l at backcountry.net>
Sent: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 2:12 PM
Subject: [pct-l] Bear Canisters: Good for Bear, not for Hungry Hiker?

>A little reflection on the use of Bear Canisters (BCs) by JMT vs. PCT thru 
>hikers and weight loss...
> I was wondering, with the requirement of BCs thru some of the roughest 
> sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (basically all of the JMT), could it 
> be so simple a statement as to say their food-space limitations are the 
> reason why PCT thru hikers lose so much weight?
> The JMT thru hiker starts out with a BC, but they aren’t that hungry at 
> first, so the BC works for them (at least for a while).
> The PCT thru hiker starts using a BC after their first 30 or so days 
> on-trail, certainly at the point already where they are really hungry, 
> then are limited with the volume of food they can carry and must start a 
> long-term food depreciation phase over the toughest trail and snow of 
> their trip!
> Is there any sense to this? BCs are good for the bear, but not so good for 
> the food-starving, long-distance hiker!
> So, I guess for the areas where BCs are required, it is best to major 
> carbo-load before going in or do these sections after several weeks of 
> packing in town food reserves, otherwise you’re going to lose weight!
> For some, this could be a good thing (to lose weight), but for the skinny 
> people like me, I “bonk” pretty early without eating a ton of food (after 
> being on the trail for at least a week).
> So, a Bear Canister can be a real food volume limiter and we can’t do 
> anything about it except bring two canisters (which my son did when he 
> flip-flopped the JMT a few years ago)...
> Food for thought. (Hey, just sayin’!)
> Ned Tibbits, Director
> Mountain Education, Inc.
> www.mountaineducation.org
> ned at mountaineducation.org
> Mission:
> "To minimize wilderness accidents, injury, and illness in order to 
> maximize wilderness enjoyment, safety, and personal growth, all through 
> experiential education and risk awareness training."
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