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Topic: Just Back From Sequoia National Park, The Park of Missed Opportunities< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 4:33 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Now before you think this is a negative post about Sequoia, it is not.  My wife and I spent 4 days in the Park, not backpacking, staying at Wuksachi Lodge and day hiking.  My wife loves to hike, but backpacking is not for her.   The park was not crowded by any means.  It was very easy to get around.

The Park is beautiful.  It was the first time I'd ever seen a sequoia and was in awe of the big trees.  We had 10 bear sightings for the trip- we spotted them all ourselves.  Pictures Here.

We drove to roads end and hiked Zumwalt Meadow which was nice.  The road to the bottom of the Canyon is slightly hairy and freaked my wife out, but I didn't mind it.  The views are great.  We stopped at Roaring River falls and Grizzly falls as well.  

We did a 6 mile hike on the highline trail- a scouting trip for a possible Bear Paw excursion in the future.  Beautiful views, I highly recommend it.

We hiked to Topekah Falls, which was not as spectacular as the pictures Id seen due to the low precipitation over the past couple years.  We did spot a bear on that hike that was tagged and had a radio or satellite transmitter on it.

We hiked Crescent and Log Meadow and stopped at Tharp's Log which is really cool.  We stopped by Crescent Meadow several times and never saw a bear in the meadow, but saw a bear on the road to the Meadow  every time.  

There was a lot of bear activity just outside of Lodgepole.  They loved what ever vegetation was growing in the area.   One bear was eating the new growth on spruce trees.  

Of course we saw the big trees, Crystal Cave and went to the top of Moro Rock.  

Why do I say it is a park of missed opportunities? Mostly because of the way it is run.  DNC runs the concessions and they do a very poor job.  We had a good lunch at Grant Grove Village on the way back from Kings Canyon but after that the food went downhill.  The worst was at the restaurant inside Wuksachi Lodge called "The Peaks", should be called "The Pits". They try to be "Mediterranean" but the food is of low quality, prepared poorly and is way overpriced.   We settled for the Deli and Snack Bar at Lodgepole after that.  The quality is not high there either, but the food is edible and not as outrageously priced as The Peaks.  Fortunately we were on the trail for breakfast and lunch and packed our own food.

One late afternoon my wife spotted a bear off Generals Highway near Lodgepole. We pulled into a parking area and walked back staying just of the road.   He was in deep vegetation which he was happily munching.  Before long a few more people notice us and pull off to see the bear.  Pretty soon people are parking on the road (about 4 cars) and we have the start of a bear jam.  A Ranger come along and asks people to not park on the road and move their cars.  Before long a female ranger shows up and proceeds to chase the bewildered bear away, throwing sticks at it and even striking it once.  On the way back to our car, off the main road my wife spots ANOTHER bear which was larger.   The ranger notices and chases after that bear until she realizes it has two cubs.  The bear and her cubs promptly left (not before I got a couple shots).

Instead of chasing away these bears, which were eating their natural diet and not bothering anyone, why didn't they just manage people- making sure they didn't block the road or get too close?  I guess that would take too much effort.  The Park and DNC market the crap out of bears in the park.  Every shirt, mug, sticker, magnet etc. has a bear on it.  There are bear figurines and stuffed bears.  The number one question people asked my wife and I - "have you seen any bears?" Many had not, but everyone wanted to.  Finally people get a chance to safely view a real wild bear, not bothering anyone- and they chase it away.   If you haven't been to Sequoia and your friends are telling you about their trip, doesn't a trip to Sequoia sound a bit more enticing if they tell you they saw bears, and you might have a good chance to see one too?  

When I compare the food and the way wildlife is handled at Sequoia to Yellowstone, it's not even close.  There were epic bear / elk etc. jams at Yellowstone and they never chased an animal away.   The Rangers managed the people.  They kept traffic moving and chased knuckleheads who wandered too close to wildlife back where they belong.

The Wuksachi Lodge was nice.  It is THE place to stay- it's close to all of the attractions, clean and comfortable, if not on the pricey side.  

If the Park would better manage the people in wildlife situations, and DNC could up their game in the food department, I'd give the Park 5 stars.  Even with the few negatives I'd still give it 4 stars, and I will go back (and bring more of my own food).  It is a place everyone should see.  You can not fully appreciate the sequoias unless you see them in person.  Living in Florida with our skinny pine trees and ubiquitous palmettos, I miss them!


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 7:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The choice comes down to shooting bears that have gotten too used to people, as they rather routinely do in Yellowstone ("A Fed Bear is a Dead Bear" being more than a catchy phrase), or using negative reinforcement to keep bears from being at all comfortable around people through such aversion training and thus eliminating the need to kill them for visitor safety which is the route they choose in the California parks. To the extreme they use paintball guns (the paintballs are special ones filled with clear gel so they don't mark the bears) to harass bears in Yosemite Valley that wander within the campground, lodging boundaries.

I gather it's largely traditional (parks doing what they've done for a long time...) though Yosemite used to kill a lot of bears at one time before they started the aversion management approach. Bears being both wild animals and animals powerful enough to easily peel open a car door by simply grabbing a top edge and pulling the potential for am injurious bear> human encounter leads to that policy from what I understand. Though in terms of fatalities the only animal related death in Yosemite was from a  deer kicking a child a visitor was posing near the deer for a photo....

Harassing them away from roadways may also be because the number of bear deaths from being hit by cars is rather high.

"Typically a dozen or more black bears are killed or maimed each year by vehicles; in 2010, 28 vehicle-bear collisions were reported."
http://www.nps.gov/yose/naturescience/bear-management.htm

I've mostly been to the eastern side of those parks, except for winter visits for skiing to the western sections. The trees are impressive.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 7:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm just amazed that you liked your meal at Grant's Grove.  That has to be the worst restaurant I've eaten at in the last ten years!

Agree about the bears--it is too easy for people to subvert the efforts of the rangers, and all it takes is for one stupid camper to feed a bear and we now have a bear that needs to be killed.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 9:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Maybe we hit Grants Grove on a good day, it was just lunch,  the rest of the food was pretty bad.  Xanterra seems to do a much better job with food.  I see DNC runs the concessions at Yosemite, is the food just as bad there?  

I agree with chasing bears away with negative reinforcement if they are near a roadway, being fed, interacting with people in any way, entering campgrounds or lodging areas, etc.. These two were doing nothing more than eating vegetation.  They seemed rather oblivious to anything but what they were eating.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 10:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So, maybe we should be shooting the civilians with clear gel.  People need to keep a safe distance, like 300 yds.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 11:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ol-zeke @ Jun. 27 2013, 7:39 pm)
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So, maybe we should be shooting the civilians with clear gel.  People need to keep a safe distance, like 300 yds.

The bears are quicker learners.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 28 2013, 12:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd side with making the animals more wild, so they go nowhere near the roads and the deadly things that go too fast on them...

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 28 2013, 7:20 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tarpon6 @ Jun. 27 2013, 1:33 pm)
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Of course we saw the big trees, Crystal Cave and went to the top of Moro Rock.  

Tom and I did those three things in 1975. We still remember them very well.

Now, I try to stay out of the more crowed parks and prefer backpacking in places that require no permit or anything. So many nice places to see in CA without adding to the ridiculous crowds of the CA parks.

-Don-


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 28 2013, 8:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The restaurant at Grant's Grove makes one appreciate the gas station sushi.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 28 2013, 8:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yeah, definitely, stay out of the CROWDED AS HECK California wilderness areas.

I like not seeing anyone for days.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 28 2013, 11:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well, the food at Wuksachi used to be good - I've eaten there a few times.  

As far as the bear chasing goes, it's much easier to chase the bear away than manage the people and keep traffic moving on that narrow two-lane road full of blind spots.  I speak from experience - the first summer I worked there one of my duties was to manage traffic at the (old) General Sherman parking area.  Trying to get tourists to go somewhere is like herding cats.  

Also, hazing bears that are near people also serves to hopefully give them a healthy fear of humans.  Too many bears die when they get too comfortable with people.  Many bears also die in SEKI and Yosemite from being hit by cars.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 29 2013, 12:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Jun. 28 2013, 5:32 pm)
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I like not seeing anyone for days.

So do I.  But there have been times where I was far from any trail and ran into others, which was very surprising to me.

So we're not the only ones.

-Don-  SSF, CA


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 29 2013, 10:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(DonTom @ Jun. 29 2013, 12:34 am)
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(AlmostThere @ Jun. 28 2013, 5:32 pm)
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I like not seeing anyone for days.

So do I.  But there have been times where I was far from any trail and ran into others, which was very surprising to me.

So we're not the only ones.

-Don-  SSF, CA

Clearly I'm planning my trips the right way...

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 30 2013, 11:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Congratulations on getting out about the park so well.  One is more likely to see black bears at SNP than any other park in the state.   I am not a fan of tourists in cars behaviors when they see any animals.  

Like a magnet, as soon as more than a couple cars have stopped it becomes a zoo.  Predictable soon as the first  car stops along a road without pulling fully off the pavement, "stupid see stupid do" kicks in and very quickly the whole lane is blocked with cars all over the lane pavement.   Very soon in lanes in both directions...duh.   Gawking parents grinning like Homer Simpson...DOH!!! unload from their SUV sticking tiny cameras into the air taking pics while their wild kids suddenly bust out yelling, laughing and running around with the barking family dog who of course see the beast.   A car rolls up and two people with tripods pop out setting up in a traffic lane.  Another pops out and Ralph takes a picture of Madge near the bear.  Next thing is some older couple eating out of a bag of peanuts waddle out of their sedan, wander over to the edge of the action and just like everyone used to do back in '57, start tossing peanuts out near where the bear no longer with an interest in green grass, is a very willing participant.

And haha, Tarol's comment "Trying to get tourists to go somewhere is like herding cats."   So no wonder park authorities shoo away roadside wildlife.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 30 2013, 4:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tarpon, Great post!  Hope you do more exploring and write ups. Glad you had a good experience... good food in tourist areas is always hard to find. I'd like a comparison with the 'food' at Sunrise on Rainier.  10 worst walk in's.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 30 2013, 6:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Planning a trip POSSIBLY to Sequoia and Kings Cyn in a couple weeks.  Going somewhere to cool off from the Las Vegas heat and prefer enough unique attractions for about 7 days is the gameplan.  

We usually car camp and pitch tent at campgrounds, but feeling kinda reluctant to drive 8 hours to Sequoia/Kings Cyn due to this recent thread on top of the fact that Lodgepole and Dorst campgrounds are completely sold out mid July.

The majority of campgrounds in Sequoia/Kings Cyn are first come-first served and would hate to drive all the way up there, gambling whether or not we are able to find a decent place to pitch our tent every night.

Just trying to keep an annual tradition of taking my son camping, this year for his 13th birthday.  Every July I take him somewhere camping here on the west coast/southwest.  It is HOT here and need to get away into the forest to cool off and enjoy a change of lifestyle/scenery.

We have camped Grand Cyn, Lake Tahoe, Coeur d'Alene, Glacier Natl Park, Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Zion, all over Colorado...now looking for a great destination via road trip and came up with Sequoia/Kings Cyn, as Yosemite is way too crowded.  If somebody has other suggestions travel by car from Las Vegas, I am open to suggestions; ideally a bit of encouragement about Sequoia/Kings Cyn.

Also I might add, we are not set in stone on campgrounds, as we are ok with backpacking if there are worthwhile loop trails that are not too steep of a climb/advanced.

Thanks in advance.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 01 2013, 4:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Don't take my post as negative.  The food sucked and I hated that they chased two bears away, but other than that the Park it's self is awesome.   You have to see the big trees.  We loved our time there.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 01 2013, 5:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tarpon6 @ Jul. 01 2013, 4:57 pm)
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Don't take my post as negative.  The food sucked and I hated that they chased two bears away, but other than that the Park it's self is awesome.   You have to see the big trees.  We loved our time there.

I'm with you on your opinion of anti-chasing the bears away, afterall it is the bears home and we humans are the tourists.  

Last year we were in Yellowstone and Grand Teton and know exactly what you compared in terms of style of "bear control", traffic jams, etc.

As for the food, I don't have high expectations at SEKI, so no loss to begin with.  Yellowstone however had some great restaurants.

We are definitely going next week to SEKI for my sons 13th birthday, now to try and find some decent trails for backpacking that are close to General Grant and General Sherman.  Want to stay somewhat close to each for about 3 or 4 days each.  Will get wilderness permit once there.  But definitely could use some helpful hints of trails near each area for those that have been there.

Thanks in advance.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 12:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Anyone visiting Sequoia NP without a campground reservation might drive north on SR198 General Hwy out of the park and into Sequoia National Forest to this junction with 14S11 at the crosshairs:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.69846,-118.87619&z=15&t=T

The paved road quickly becomes a high quality dirt/gravel road and one can disperse camp anywhere along it.  People more often camp Where the road is near streams.

Instead of driving all the way to SEKI to escape the heat, closer are southern areas of the Eastern Sierra in the Inyo National Forest Whitney Ranger District.  A whole world campground and dispersed camping, hiking, and backpacking where you are more likely to find walk up non-reserved national forest campsites.  Do your homework then come back and ask questions.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/inyo/recreation

http://www.fs.usda.gov/activit....ctid=29


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 22 2013, 9:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Dave Senesac @ Jul. 02 2013, 12:06 am)
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Anyone visiting Sequoia NP without a campground reservation might drive north on SR198 General Hwy out of the park and into Sequoia National Forest to this junction with 14S11 at the crosshairs:

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.69846,-118.87619&z=15&t=T

The paved road quickly becomes a high quality dirt/gravel road and one can disperse camp anywhere along it.  People more often camp Where the road is near streams.

Instead of driving all the way to SEKI to escape the heat, closer are southern areas of the Eastern Sierra in the Inyo National Forest Whitney Ranger District.  A whole world campground and dispersed camping, hiking, and backpacking where you are more likely to find walk up non-reserved national forest campsites.  Do your homework then come back and ask questions.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/recmain/inyo/recreation

http://www.fs.usda.gov/activit....ctid=29

I'm coming down from Oregon and have three days to spend in the SEKI area. I don't have a reservation.

Do you think it'd be worth it to hike and camp outside the national parks? I definitely want to see the attractions but I'm open to pitching up a tent elsewhere.

Also I'm really curious about fishing in the area.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 23 2013, 3:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Most of the campgrounds in SEKI are first come first served.  You will most likely NOT have any issues finding a tent site in Kings Cyn at Azalea or Sunset campgrounds; both of which are well maintained and close to the Kings Cyn visitor ctr, Grant tree trail, etc.

Down in Sequyoia Natl Park, you should have no problem finding a site at Upper Stoney Creek campground, which is directly across the street from Stoney Creek campground.

Down in Sequoia, try your luck at Dorst campground if Lodgepole is not available; both of which are the only two campgrounds in SEKI that are by reservations.

As for fishing, try Hume Lake or drive to the end of the road and fish by Zumwalt Meadow.

I just returned after a week out there with my son for his 13th birthday and we had a very good time and saw all of the major attractions, but no time to backpack so we stayed in campgrounds.

I will post a trip report on another thread in the next few days, trying to get back to reality is tough after a week in these beautiful forests.

Have fun!


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(JOCKOVEGAS @ Jul. 01 2013, 5:03 pm)
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(tarpon6 @ Jul. 01 2013, 4:57 pm)
QUOTE
Don't take my post as negative.  The food sucked and I hated that they chased two bears away, but other than that the Park it's self is awesome.   You have to see the big trees.  We loved our time there.

I'm with you on your opinion of anti-chasing the bears away, afterall it is the bears home and we humans are the tourists.  

The bears need to be WILD, so they SHOULD be chased away. Bears that are too used to humans pay the ultimate price when they become too aggressive trying to get people's food - they die. Because rangers kill them. So do them a favor and do not let the bears get close to you. CHASE THEM AWAY.

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(pa5tabear @ Jul. 22 2013, 6:22 pm)
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...I'm coming down from Oregon and have three days to spend in the SEKI area. I don't have a reservation.

Do you think it'd be worth it to hike and camp outside the national parks? I definitely want to see the attractions but I'm open to pitching up a tent elsewhere.

Also I'm really curious about fishing in the area.

Stick to trails inside the SNP especially some in Giant Forest for sequoias and the Pear Lake trail.   There is not much worthwhile short hiking at KCNP in the valley because it is down in a deep deep hole with backpacking destinations mostly two days away.  

Midweek you will be able to find a spot at campgrounds within the park noted in other posts.  However most of those campgrounds are not at trailheads so you would need to drive elsewhere anyway.  By disperse camping per my post you would need to drive further to trailheads but have freedom, quiet, and no cost except gas.    

Fishing in front country areas or within dayhiking range is often mediocre at best.   Try fly fishing along the Kings river in KCNP if you have that skill.  At several lakes two days in we backpacked to last week, trout were abundant and eager to most anything presented with a limit easily caught in less than an hour.


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(tarpon6 @ Jun. 27 2013, 1:33 pm)
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 You can not fully appreciate the sequoias unless you see them in person.  

I so miss the mountains. I have a picture of my son standing inside a stump of one that fell and it is a magnificent sight. It is a shame that we are now only starting to understand them and that there have been 0 new trees for so long. Not until the last 10 years did we understand that the trees needed the heat to reproduce and drop seeds. I am seeing signs in area's such as Yosemite and Kings Canyon where there are more starting to grow but due us being ignorant they will take a long time to recover.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 24 2013, 9:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A nice summary of fire and Sequoias here:
http://www.nps.gov/seki/naturescience/fic_segi.htm

The 1973 Kilgore one is a good read.
http://www.nps.gov/seki/naturescience/fic_fireres.htm
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 24 2013, 10:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you plan to hike the Congress trail to view some of the most famous trees, double check with the ranger to know in advance of the trail loop is open or partially closed as it was last week when my son and I were there.

On July 5th, a large Sequoia near the House group started smouldering from a previous controlled burn a year prior.  It was a very odd occurrence as this fire was 100% contained last Fall and out of the blue it began smouldering again this past Winter and officially caught fire on July 5th requiring the Congress trail loop to close in that section.

A very nice trail by the way.


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JOCKO IN LAS VEGAS
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 25 2013, 11:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Jul. 23 2013, 7:01 pm)
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(JOCKOVEGAS @ Jul. 01 2013, 5:03 pm)
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(tarpon6 @ Jul. 01 2013, 4:57 pm)
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Don't take my post as negative.  The food sucked and I hated that they chased two bears away, but other than that the Park it's self is awesome.   You have to see the big trees.  We loved our time there.

I'm with you on your opinion of anti-chasing the bears away, afterall it is the bears home and we humans are the tourists.  

The bears need to be WILD, so they SHOULD be chased away. Bears that are too used to humans pay the ultimate price when they become too aggressive trying to get people's food - they die. Because rangers kill them. So do them a favor and do not let the bears get close to you. CHASE THEM AWAY.

+1

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Conservatives are the whiniest whiners in the wholy whiny history of whiny-ass whinerdom.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 25 2013, 1:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've been in Wilderness Office lines when the rangers come out to give their orientation speech and when they get to the part of giving the bears a negative association with humans the expressions on people's faces are priceless: "What? Be mean to Yogi and BooBoo?" Practically appears in thought balloons right above their heads.
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I must not be there yet, I keep hiking...
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 25 2013, 8:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You should see people's reactions when the rangers are chasing the bears through Tuolumne Meadows campground with the (paintless) paintball guns...

Roads are not wilderness areas. Bears need to be wild in wilderness areas, where flying wheeled things don't hit them, causing the park to erect a temporary tombstone that says "Speeding Kills Bears."

The less time bears spend near people, the happier everyone can be.


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All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
     Friedrich Nietzsche
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 25 2013, 9:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hate it when I see those signs. All that gorgeous landscape and peacefulness, why speed through it?
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