Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spence Field Shelter

Spence Field Shelter
Originally uploaded by ozimanndias8
This is one of the nicely refurbished shelters on the trail. They used to be more cramped, with chain link fences stretched across the open side, the idea being that this would keep bears out. As hikers were expected to cook their food behind the chain link fence, hang their food bags from the roof behind the fence, and keep all their intoxicatingly smelly gear behind the fence, where do you think the bears wanted to be?

A hiker we met at this shelter told a bear story about this very shelter. He and his wife were eating behind the fence when a bear came up. "Oh, how cute!" They said, taking its picture as it paced back and forth in front of the fence. They stopped saying that when it hooked a claw under the gate and opened it as if it were a welcoming door. It came in, grabbed a backpack and dragged it out, where it proceeded to maul it in search of food. When it found nothing, it returned and took the food they were eating.

Maybe you're asking why we stay in shelters, knowing that 400 pound+ creatures are roaming nearby. Our reasons are this: bears are interested in food. They have no interest in altercations with humans. We hang our food a good ways from the shelter, and cook all our food outside the shelter so that there is no inviting scent associated with the shelter, calling out to bears: "Free dinner! Here!"

We are 1 million more times likely to be assaulted by mice than bears.

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