A night in the woods,

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by GS Mac, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. GS Mac

    GS Mac Been here awhile

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    I ve never posted a ride report before. Not for lack of rides but for lack of typing / computer skills. How ever I just returned from a 6 day trip to Colorado. I m not going to post the whole trip, Im just to slow and lazy. I did have one very interesting night in the woods that I thought you folks might like to hear about.


    Sunday the 17th of Aug. I spent the day riding county and fire roads ,just a fantastic day of riding. Off the fire roads I found some really fun jeep and atv trails. I was west of Rocky mountain national park on Stillwater pass. About 5pm after some wondering around I found a great camping spot . I followed a atv trail way off the beaten path. The spot was just a clearing in the trees with a fire ring, one nice big pinetree with a bed of dry pine needles under it and two smaller pines close enough together to hang my hamock. Perfect! :clap :1drink

    I set up camp and carryed my cookware and food about 150 yards from my tent. Made a ham brocolli and rice dinner that just plain rocked.
    I prewashed the dishes in a nice big mud puddle that I noticed on the way in, then used my drinking water to rinse them off into the puddle. Im a little paranoid about Bears.

    After dinner I relaxed in the homock and soaked up the peace and quiet . Mostly just recapping the days ride and fealling really damb lucky to be in such a great spot with nobody else around to spoil my buzz. There had been enough rain in the past few days that dry firewood was hard to find. Going without a fire doesnt bother me. When Im solo Im ussually ready to crash by dark anyway. So I watched the sun go down behind the mountains and the temp droped and I was getting cold so I decided to get to bed. I have a Big Agnes sleeping bag and pad. Ive had it for a few trips now and just love the thing. I can allways get a great night sleep. In some ways its better than my bed at home. So Im looking forward to a good nights rest after a long couple of days of ridding. I crawl in the tent and zip up the mummy bag and in a few minutes the bag is nice and warm and Im out.

    In the middle of the night I woke up to a thump. I wasent sure what it was. A few seconds passed as I ran the camp area through my mind trying to identify the sound. Before I could identify the first sound I heard my bike hit the ground. That sound Ive heard a few times before and knew immediatly. The sound of the bike was followed by a snort some heavy breathing and another snort. About that time my brain regesterd BEAR!!!!!
    :eek2




    My heart jumped into overdrive as I laid there mulling over my options. Ive heard when atacked by a bear you should play dead.Ive also heard that you should make plenty of noise while your walking or whatever so as to not sneak up and startle the bear. So as Im laying there all toasty in my mummy sleeping bag it dawns on me that Im a god damb HUMAN HOT POCKET!!!!!! Im thinking if I start making noise now and the bear dicides to come investigate Im screwed. Its going to take at least a minute to get out of my sleeping bag and the tent. Maybe 2 minutes if one of the damb zippers snag. My bike was parked about 3 feet from the foot of my tent when I went to sleep. 2 bear steps and hes in the tent snackin on hot pocket. I opted for stayin quiet, after all the bears first stop wasnt for hot pockets. Something on the bike has his interest. All this flew through my mind in just a split second. Now I can hear more snorting heavy breathing mixed in with some loud thumps and grunting.

    Heres a pic (I hope) to give you a look at the camp lay out [​IMG][​IMG]

    Im praying OH PLEASE!!!!!! Just go away go away go away!!!!!!!!! After some more thumps bangs grunts snorts and heavy breathing it gets quiet. Im thinking thank you god!!! Maybe only a few seconds later (Not really sure cuz time had SLOWED WAY down) I hear my plastic water jug get crushed. Thats the white thing just to the right of the log I was using to hold my cookstove. And thats about 3 feet from my head. My heart is still pounding and now Im back to praying. PLEASE GO AWAY GO AWAY!!! I hear another snort and some more heavy breathing but the breathing seems closer and louder like the bears right next to the tent and now facing the tent. Its funny how adrenalin hightens your scences, windes up your muscules tighter than piano wire, leaves that metal taste in your mouth but your still able to control your breathing and not screem like a little girl.. Now he takes a swat at the tent! Right where my feet are. Its a 2 man tent but for me to fit I need to sleep from corner to corner. I jerk my feet up to my knees and start to rethink my dicision to keep quiet cuz screeming like a lil girl isnt sounding like such a bad idea anymore. . PLEASE GOD GO AWAY.
    I thought my heart was pounding before now I can feal my eyeballs bulge with each beat of my heart. Im sure the bear can hear it, hell he can probably see the walls off the tent expand and contract with each beat! As that thought passes through my head I hear another grunt but now its facing away from me. Thank you God! I can hear some more thumps grunts snorts and heavy breathing now hes back to the bike. At the time I couldnt tell what the thumps where, I could tell right where he was from sound but I couldnt think of what the thumping was. After another few minutes of him working the bike over it got quiet. OH THANK GOD!!!

    I laid there a few minutes straining to hear anything.:ear Nothing no wind no bugs frogs or anything. Just quiet. I SLOWLY unzipped my sleeping bag, I mean SSSSLLOOOOWWLLYY. Id go a few teeth on the zipper and then listen, a few more teeth then listen. Same thing with both tent zippers, untill I could poke my head out. I get my head out and the moon has come up. Its a clear night and nearly a full moon. The clearing Im in is lit up and I can see very well. The bears not in my clearing.:clap But just beyond the first line of trees the moon starts to throw shadows and I cant really see past 2 or 3 trees deep. He and 100 of his buddys could be out there waiting for the hot pocket. A check of the watch its 3:20 AM.


    I crawl out to asses the carnage. My bike is down but I knew that. The aluminium pannier that was pinned between the bike and the ground has been pulled out from underneath the bike and was laying about 25 feet from the bike. Right by the tree line. The bike has been pounded into the ground. Now I understand what the thumps where. Once the bike was down the bear must have been rearing up on its hind legs and landing on the skyward pannier and the topbox. This pounded the footpeg, brake lever and right side of the handlebar About 1 1/ 2 inches into the ground. He then went to work pulling off the right pannier from under the bike. He dug a trench 1 1/2 inches deep and about 3 feet long with the footpeg and handlebar as he draged the bike pulling on the pinned pannier. F n strong bear!
    As I was building this set up I was concerned that I may have made the system to strong and that a crash or hitting pannier on a fixed object could end up bending the frame. I used a Happy Trail rack and army surplus boxes, a master lock through an eight inch of steel held the bag on. The bear found the weak link it pulled the lock open, bending the locks inside latch.F n strong bear.
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Sorry about the crappy pic.This was taken about 6am I was still scared and by then cold tired and really had to finish the poo I started in my shorts! :rofl
    You can see the mud and pine needles on the left side boxes from the jumping. There are a few scratches but if you didnt know they were bear claw scrtches you couldnt tell. My food was in the top box so I was confused as to why the bear wanted the right box so badly. As it turns out thats where my flask of brandy was, and it had a very small leak!:shog

    Heres a shot of my tent right were my feet where.[​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    If you look you can see the lines in the frost on the tent line up with the claw marks in the ground.

    I ended up pulling the spark plug before I started the DR to check and see if oil had made it in to the cylinder. I had read somewhere that you can bend a rod if to much oil has leaked in. I wasnt really sure how long the bike was down. It seemed like a long time. No need everything was fine.
    I used 3 zip ties to hold the bag on long enough to get to a hardware store. Spent $2.54 on a nut and bolt to remount the box. A stop at the carwash to unpack and clean the brandy stink as best as I could, and went on with the rest of my trip. A little wiser I hope!

    I had a great time and cant wait to go back!

    If theres any mods readin this can I change my screen name to HOT POCKET?:D:ear
    #1
  2. XS500RUS

    XS500RUS Been here awhile

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    Incredible story!:eek1

    However, I am unable to see any of the photos. Am I the only one?
    #2
  3. Chico

    Chico Thief and Saboteur

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    Great story, no pictures.
    #3
  4. GS Mac

    GS Mac Been here awhile

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    I dont get it? The pics show up for me.
    #4
  5. duhgee

    duhgee Been here awhile

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    Friggin' hilarious and scary.:thumb I thought you were going to say that you went to the car wash to clean your shorts! The next time I come across a bear, I'll keep thinking 'hot pocket' and maybe the inner laughter will ease the fear and worry.
    Yes, please, let's see the aftermath! Fix the pics!
    #5
  6. GS Mac

    GS Mac Been here awhile

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    So I can see the pics fine. Anyone else? Or can someone tell me what shows up if anything on your screen.? Im confused.
    #6
  7. lewismedlock

    lewismedlock Tiny dancer.

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    We're not seeing anything. The pics have to be linked form a site like Smugmug(preferred) or Photobucket for the rest of us to see them.
    #7
  8. ram1000

    ram1000 Long timer

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    I don't see pictures either, but was a great story. I carry a 10mm pistol with me in the local areas, but I often wonder what could be done in that kind of situation. You can't see anything, but you know the bear can smell your exact location head to toe. You can't just blast holes in your tent- a mad bear is worse than a nosy bear. It may be that bear spray is the best defense, that is if you don't get it inside your tent. Also if the night hsa no moon it is even worse as the bear can see in the dark and I can't. How much good is a flash light and a gun against a charging bear 3" away? Oh well for those of you that are liberals, I'll keep the gun with me anyway.
    #8
  9. GS Mac

    GS Mac Been here awhile

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    I hope.
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  10. ScottFla

    ScottFla Been here awhile

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    I see three pictures. But some were still not showing, but regardless, excellent story, glad everything was ok in the end.
    #10
  11. Tucos

    Tucos Been here awhile

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    Cool story. Thanks for sharing. Glad he decided to only power stomp your bike and not your tent. Maybe the poo smell emitting from the two person palace wasn't appetizing.
    Three pics visible.
    #11
  12. GS Mac

    GS Mac Been here awhile

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    Scott
    #12
  13. ScottFla

    ScottFla Been here awhile

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    Pictures 2,3 and 5 need to be fixed. Take a look at the other three and compare them to 2,3 and 5 to see wha is wrong with them.
    #13
  14. MCRIDER1959

    MCRIDER1959 Been here awhile

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    I've got pics.:clapJust kinda blurry. Bears can be bad news when the only thing between you and him is tent fabric.:eek1
    #14
  15. joedoe

    joedoe Armchair Adventurer!

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    A captivating story indeed.
    I rarely ever read all the way through any report, but I did this one.

    I'm assuming the slightly blurry pics were from you shaking in your shoes. (LOL)

    I think I would have been short one pair of underware for the trip after that.
    #15
  16. Missouri Man

    Missouri Man Long timer

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    Sounds like we should start sleeping in ATGATT....

    Glad everything worked out....
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  17. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

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    Great story! :clap :clap I've had several unexpected bear encounters (I'm a wildlife biologist) but nothing quite like that!!!! They still scare the crap out of me to be honest. I suppose it's because one could EAT YOU if it decided to....

    Mostly they're just curious though. Attacks on people are rare.

    Making noise is generally a good idea, but I don't think I would have done anything different in your situation. Just not enough space. I've also run into bears that completely ignored screaming/ banging pots and pans/ blasting airhorns.

    He almost certainly knew you were in the tent too. My guess is that bear knows all about campers and will be back! :eek1
    #17
  18. rob feature

    rob feature Domain Ranger

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    Zoiks! Loving the blurry Blair Witch feel to the photos.

    Iffi' that were me, there would be no pics after daylight. 3 something in the morning would have been departure time :rofl. Maybe the tent'll be there later, maybe not :lol3. I think sleeping after that would have been rather difficult without getting back into the brandy :1drink
    #18
  19. Hatch

    Hatch PAR OG

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    It is really bizarre just how strong them bears are - ive seen em rip doors off of cars:eek1

    Glad ya did the right thing and made it out unscathed!
    #19
  20. GS Mac

    GS Mac Been here awhile

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    :rofl The Blair Witch project type pics:rofl Thats just low light shaking hands and the need to poo...

    The scrapes on the panniers are stayin. As a friend told me you just cant buy that kind of street cred. Might get some bear claw stickers to point out the damage.

    I will fix the tent. Its been a great tent for nearly 10 years now.

    I tossed the shorts. :lol3
    #20