Friday, November 9, 2012

Survival Hiking-Testing Bear Spray

We're expecting a bunch of snow, finally. I was surprised the initial 12 inches melted off, resulting in mud all around the man camp. Other than the hike up to Elephant Back Mountain, snow seemed to disappear.
Taking advantage of my day off, I headed out, even though heavy snow was predicted. I brought along my bear spray, something I've carried up here in griz country for seven years. I've never, ever tested it.
Once I got far up the mountain, I released the safety on the spray, pointed it up the trail. With no wind, and heavy flurries, I gave it a shot.
A great burst of yellow spray covering 8 feet in diameter, easily shooting 20 feet distance, was a rewarding sight. The spray still works. I began to feel the sting, started running full out away from the bear mace.  

Reaching the man camp via the employee trail brings one right to the back of Teal Dorm. You can see the trailers to the left of the photo. Once there, a new friend said he just saw a big wolf head right past where I just came from.
I, personally, am not afraid of wolves unless they're in a pack. Its the griz that concern me. I saw lots of tracks on the snowy elephant back trail, some large canine. Wolf, coyote, grouse, some thing big. I practiced walking back in my own tracks, an old "indian" trick. If a person isn't careful coming up the trail, they tend to drag the back heel. If I needed to hide my tracks, I'd be careful to step high. That way, walking back in my own footprints, the drag wouldn't give my direction away.

As soon as I got back to my dorm, I took a hot shower, started packing a survival kit. Around her, a whiteout could mean death if you're not prepared.

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