When Mother Nature’s critters get the best of you
By Meggan Wenbourne
In the late summer/early fall months, the high country is such a special place to camp, hike and explore. Blue bird skies with the occasional threat of a summer storm, have presented nothing but splendor and joy for me ever since I was a little girl.
I used to love being on the lookout for bears with my dad and would thrive on knowing there was a whole other world outside my tent fly at night. For whatever reason, I felt invincible in my tent. Times have changed. In my old age, I have discovered that I have turned into a bit more of a chicken than I would like to admit.
Tents do not really provide much of an impenetrable force field and if animals want to get in, they will do so easier than you may think. Needless to say, it seems any time a twig cracks in the distance I am on high alert for at least half an hour now.
This particular weekend was no exception, except it was an epic exception. Apparently, I slept through a bear reaching under the rainfly of my tent and dragging out a pack full of nothing but a wrapper and a chap stick (rookie mistake). Thankfully, the day pack was outside my actual tent, otherwise the cheeky little bear might have broken in and sat on me! I awoke seconds later to my partner slapping the tent fabric and startling the fur ball away from our nest.
Moral of the story from my weekend away: do not keep anything smelly close to your tent – you know better.
If in doubt, just keep it away from where you are sleeping. Personal bear boxes are not cheap, but they are cheaper than a hospital bill for a bear mauling. Plus, as outdoor enthusiasts, it is our responsibility to not tempt these wild animals with food sources they would not find in their own natural habitats – let’s keep our wildlife wild!
Meggan Wenbourne is an avid climber, mountain biker and backpacker who works and plays in Santa Cruz, CA. She spends her time traveling to the mountains as often as possible to get lost in the pine trees and explore the granite rock of the Sierra Nevada range and has recently developed an obsession with the desert and its red rocks. When not away on an adventure, she can be found eating burritos and training at Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, riding amazing trails in the Santa Cruz Mountains or nestled away in her cozy tiny house with cookies and adventure reading.