The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, But I have promises to keep

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by RiDR, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. lkraus

    lkraus Long timer

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    Talk to the predators.
    The Disturbing Sound of a Human Voice
    Hearing people talk can terrify even top predators such as mountain lions, with consequences that ripple through entire ecosystems.


    Be sure to let us know how it works out...
    #21
  2. zaxrex

    zaxrex Been here awhile

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    I consider myself pretty experienced in the back-country -- I generally do 3 to 5 backpacking trips a year (last year was an anomaly at 1). Most trips are on the East Coast, but I'll make it out West every couple years. I usually backpack with my wife, but have done solo and with a group as large as 12.

    Echoing others in this thread, I'm rarely ever worried about wildlife. I'm generally MOST cautious around Moose and Bear. I always perform safe bear practices and this is absolutely key. Proper waste disposal, bear canisters or hanging food, and carefully reading body language when I come up on a bear. Bears are pretty easy to read -- They'll let you know if they are irritated or concerned (huffing and pawing; pacing; staring at you and backing up). If they are minding their own business and not irritated, I'll give them 30 to 100 feet and safely pass while talking gently. Moose scare me a bit more because I have a hard time reading them and they can be very aggressive, particularly bulls. I usually just try to give Moose 100-300 feet and go along my merry way.

    Interesting regarding the cougar comment. Cougars concern me least simply because they have an exceptionally strong prey drive. They know their prey (you aren't) and almost always avoid humans. In my 20 years backpacking, I've only ever seen a cougar twice, both times they were hightailing it into the rocks. If you do see one, you are VERY lucky and should stop a moment and appreciate what just happened.
    #22
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  3. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

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    Dad's a big time hiker. He does several multi-day trips with his brothers every year. They bushwhack in the remote woods on New England. He laughs every time I mention that the idea of remote camping freaks me out because of the animals.

    Honestly, I think a skunk could do a decent job at ruining your day.
    #23
  4. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    I'm in agreement that the biggest worries should be motorcycle related injury. That said.... regarding black bears, my 2 1/2 year old son and I were hiking, him on a balance bike. We came across a stream and one of his favorite things is to throw rocks in water.

    I heard something, turned around, and approx 50 feet away ways this..... 20190505_163848.jpg


    The bear started snorting, hitting the ground, scratching the tree, ripping up everything nearby. I backed up, whispered to my son to ride as fast as he could back the way we came. I kept backing slowly, the bear then ran to the trail, snorting, stomping.. About 30 ft away .. My main focus was to hold the bears attention while my son got away. I talked loudly to the bear confidently (not to spook my son) and pretty much resigned myself to the fact that attack was eminent. I kept backing up and after some distance the bear went back into the woods.

    This was in a popular hiking and riding area in pisgah national forest nc. I've had dozens of bear encounters over the years and this was the only time I've witnessed aggression. I did report the incident to the rangers who expressed that they're getting more and more aggressive reports. The blame is on irresponsible tourists with improper waste and food handling.

    I was out hiking the next day, I'm not afraid, just aware. And it is always a good idea, even if it's just a dog, to keep in mind that animals can be and are unpredictable.

    20190505_163020.jpg
    #24
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  5. zaxrex

    zaxrex Been here awhile

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    A sad truth :( glad you and your son were unharmed.

    It's becoming a huge problem in the bigger parks. Yosemite won't even allow food hanging practices in the backcountry anymore... it's bear canister or bust.

    BTW, I DO carry bear spray. Never came close to using it, but it's good insurance. Bad news is it's not cheap and needs to be replaced every 2 years. I've probably spent $500 on bear spray I've never used. When I do fly-in trips, I go to REI and buy the $100 spray and return it after my trip. They've never once questioned me :)
    #25
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  6. Amphib

    Amphib A mind is like a parachute....

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    That's interesting. I'm in rei quite often and yesterday there was several displays of bear canisters that I'd never seen. They were stacked up in the maps department and by the food, for purchase or for rental. It really is damn shame. I want accessibility, but accessibility brings the scumbags causing the problems.

    That encounter happened a few weeks ago. I've been trying to get my son out often. I don't want a fear lingering and festering. He talks about it often and when he looks into the woods, he's always thinking there's a bear there. So it's extremely important for us to keep getting him out there and put enough good experiences between now and the encounter.
    #26
  7. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

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    Fatherhood: You're doing it right.

    :thumb
    #27
  8. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious

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    I have a SPOT tracker and it works very well, everywhere.

    I set mine to transmit every 5 minutes.
    #28
  9. Schmokel

    Schmokel Key to Happiness: Low Expectations

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    Ugh. I had one and gave it away I think. I had about a 50% chance of the pings working. Check ins were even less. I ever do a remote or longer trip I'm going to go with a PLB.
    #29
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  10. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious

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    Over short time periods, mine might do that. But I kept mine on board, cross country for 6 months, in very remote back country in the US. Over the 6 months it performed very reliably and accurately. Just had to keep replacing batteries.

    But if I had it on the bike at home and checked it during a short hop, it would miss a point here and there. Seemed to settle down and work great over longer time and distance.
    #30
  11. Blue Mule

    Blue Mule Persistent Slacker Supporter

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    So all this talk of Moose and Cougars and Bears, OH MY!, got me digging into Google.

    Rough numbers

    Cougar, Bear or Moose caused deaths per year in N.America...maybe 1 or 2 a year COMBINED.
    Cows--20ish
    Dogs-250ish (mans best friend ,indeed!)
    Motorcycles- 5500ish
    Murder- 50,000+


    I guess Ya might wanna worry more about tweakers than anything. :lol3
    #31
  12. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Long timer

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    If two out three households had a pet cougar, bear or moose, and you had to go way out into the woods to maybe even see a dog, those numbers might be a little different :deal
    #32
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  13. Sal Pairadice

    Sal Pairadice Captain Obvious

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    I have had two close encounters with black bears in the northeast. First was a tagged and habituated 350 lb male that WAS NOT afraid of me and tore my garbage cans apart. After our initial staredown he basically ignored me, but if I made a loud noise or shined a light on him he reared up in a very clear threat. But, he basically ignored me.

    Second time was last summer on my motorcycle on a country road.Caught him crossing and I came to a stop. No other cars around. He stood there staring at me unafraid for a moment and then he sauntered into the woods.

    This may be controversial here, but its just a thought.
    [​IMG]
    #33
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  14. LetItRoll

    LetItRoll ForwardAholic

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    Keep between 20-25psi and run good tires and your odds of a flat go way down anyway. With stout 6 ply rim saver beaded tires, even if you do get a flat you can ride 1/2 speed if you lean onto the good tire for a short distance till you find a safer looking place to work on it.
    #34
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  15. zaxrex

    zaxrex Been here awhile

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    That's been my experience with males as well, especially the big-boys. That's when you know you're pretty safe... he doesn't give a shit about you. As long as you don't run up and spank him on the ass, just keep moving.

    The comment about humans kind of resonates with me. Wild animals are pretty predictable in their behavior. Humans can be erratic and unpredictable.
    #35
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  16. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Long timer

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    Yeah, but that's how you tell black bears from grizzly bears: Run up and kick its ass, then climb up a tree. If it chases you up the tree it's a blackie, if it pushes the tree down it's a griz.
    #36
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  17. jay547

    jay547 Long timer

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    I've only seen one once and it was dead on the side of the highway. It was in very good shape with only a small circular wound on the side of it's head - bumper maybe? I was working so I couldn't grab it, went back later and someone had already taken it.
    #37
  18. zeerx

    zeerx Long timer

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    DF571957-F0FD-4D18-9BE5-91C753937CDC.jpeg

    Thread title was part of the sleeper cell trigger.
    #38
  19. RiDR

    RiDR Been here awhile

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    Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    by Robert Frost


    Whose woods these are I think I know.
    His house is in the village though;
    He will not see me stopping here
    To watch his woods fill up with snow.

    My little horse must think it queer
    To stop without a farmhouse near
    Between the woods and frozen lake
    The darkest evening of the year.

    He gives his harness bells a shake
    To ask if there is some mistake.
    The only other sound’s the sweep
    Of easy wind and downy flake.

    The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep.
    #39
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  20. jonz

    jonz Miles are my mantra Supporter

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    Haven't seen some of the usual advice for remote travelers so I'll mention it: Tell someone where you're going, when you'll be back, and check in when you get back. I also carry an Garmin inReach which uses satellites rather than cell towers. The less of the sky that is visible, the longer it takes to send the message but I can't remember a time I couldn't get a message out eventually. I wouldn't worry about black bears unless you're camping out in an area where the bears have become habituated to getting food from humans.

    As far as flats, for your situation I'd run ultra heavy duty tubes and not drop the pressure too low so no pinch flats. I only use slime when I'm riding in area with lots of cactus. Carry a spare front tube (standard weight so compact), a mountain bike air pump, and a couple of tire irons - I like the Motion Pro T6 irons which are light and one end is sized for your axle nuts. Carry a patch kit as well - I've not had much luck patching the UHD tubes for long term but I can usually make the patch last 25+ miles.

    Then go ride, have fun, take pictures, and post ride reports.
    #40
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