Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Bear Bag 101

After I posted yesterday Mr. Lanners' Pottery spotted our bear on an outfitters website. I know your thinking, how could that be the same bear? Well the photo was taken at another entry point just a stones throw from where we were. When the bear entered our camp area we scared it off only to hear it visit the only other camp area on that lake. The bear then returned, we scared it off again, it revisited our neighbors and then we heard it throughout the evening making the rounds of the other camps. The BWCAW is SO quiet you can hear people hooting, hollering, and banging pans from many miles away. The sounds continued into the evening and each time were farther and farther away.
I thought you might like to see what a bear bag looks like. Hanging the bear bag is one of the highlights of BWCAW camping. Finding the perfect tree set up is more difficult than you'd think. You need two trees with low branches close enough to make the rope configuration work. The US forest service recommends the bag is hung over 6 feet off the ground and at least 4 feet away from the nearest branch. We use our Duluth Pack for our bear bag placing all our food, trash and anything remotely smelly inside. (Think toothpaste, sunscreen, deodorant) As the bear bag has your food in it - the hanging is generally done after dinner which means night time. Many a good laugh has resulted from the hanging of a bear bag, and to date no serious injuries. The hoisting of the bag generally includes the use of a paddle to gain an extra few feet of loft, while the other person is pulling the rope at the base of one of the trees. Once the desired height is achieved the other rope is pulled taught to get the bear bag away from the other tree. The goal is to have the bag suspended in the air out of reach from critters. The sound of the rope being uncoiled and the adjoining thump of the bag hitting the ground generally wakes whomever is still asleep in the tent and signals that coffee or tea is going to be ready soon.

1 comment:

TheBubbo said...

Where do you put in? If I get my way we put in at Big lake and then bounce bounce over to Big Rice Lake to camp. There's only one site on the entire lake and the site is gorgeous. We always wait too long to put up our bear bag so we're always out there in the dark getting scratched up in the brush, swearing, pushing, not pointing the flashlight in the correct direction dammit! and dang! But we always manage to get it up there somehow, though when I see it in the morning I'm always a little amazed it managed to stay.