View Full Version : Bear activity near JBL

07-29-2004, 02:02 PM
Last August we camped at the designated area just above the JBL. Our food was safely stored in a cannister. We ate well. We didn't sleep well however, as the bears made repeated sweeps of the area in search of food all night long. At one point a bear had its nose against the tent, inches from my head. The cannister was clawed and chewed more than I would have imagined.

I was wondering if the situation is the same or has it gotten better (or worse!)? Any updates would be greatly appreciated.

07-29-2004, 02:15 PM
There were multiple bear bag hangs that were torn down near the Bushnell Falls lean-to last weekend.

07-29-2004, 02:27 PM
My wife and I stumbled into one walking down the JBL trail, between Dearbrook and Bearbrook lentos around 5:30 pm a few weeks ago. He was just standing right on the trail. A quick and loud "GO Bear", sent him hauling ass though the woods. I think we both surprised each other.
So yes there are bears in the area , as to how many there are in the area, I have no idea.
Most of the more popular areas in highpeaks have bears visiting hikers. It sounds like your doing the right thing with a canister. Bears in the summer and fall months are just some thing you have to deal with now. Count on them.

07-29-2004, 06:03 PM
Last August, my husband and I stayed in the same campsites just past JBL. We were visited six times between 5:30pm and 4:00am by one or more bears. Our food was in the cannister, so he/they got nothing, but that didn't stop him from walking right into camp during dinner and putting the whole front half of his body into our tent looking for something tasty (there was nothing of interest). My husband sent me to the privy (this was my first backpacking trip in the Adirondacks EVER) and we waited out the bear.

I guess the scariest part was that the first time he came into camp, I was holding the dirty dishes from a dehydrated mac-n-cheese dinner. I put them down as I backed away, but he didn't even lick them. It must be pure chemicals. :eek:

Jay H
07-29-2004, 07:02 PM
When I was at Bushnell falls leanto last year, didn't have a problem with bears but around dusk this big doe came by and walked pass our tent. (Too buggy to stay at the leanto that night). I forget where exactly we hung our bear bag but it was very far from our tent and the leanto and pretty high..


08-01-2004, 11:27 AM
Originally posted by ADKnBVI
I guess the scariest part was that the first time he came into camp, I was holding the dirty dishes from a dehydrated mac-n-cheese dinner. I put them down as I backed away, but he didn't even lick them. It must be pure chemicals. :eek:

I would postulate that the bears in and around JBL do not mind the chemicals in the food, but rather live so large and wouldn't slum to point of licking a plate of mac and cheese.

I base this theory on the amount of powerbar wrappers I've seen embedded in bear scat and that the Lake Colden bears ate everything, wrappers, chemicals and all except a pepper covered salami (one bite only).

Perhaps the solution is for backpackers to switch to an all jalepeno diet?

08-01-2004, 02:40 PM
on the flip side...I too camped at the Howard LT near JBL last August and we had nary a vist from a bear. our food was stored in two cannisters.

we're headed back to the same LT (or a nearby campsite) on the 11th with four cannisters this time.


08-01-2004, 07:52 PM
We just hiked the Brothers and Big Slide on Friday July 30 04.

We took the Slide Creek trail to the JBL intersection and turned for the "Gardens"

. At the camp sites there 2 bear bags were hung in the site .. and another trail to was hung over the trail to the privy

Neither hung very well.. one rope was anchored waist high and was at a steep slant.. the other was hung 10 feet up..but was in between both tents...

Am I being "anal' or are these people contributing to the problem?

08-01-2004, 09:04 PM
Definetly not helping the situation if the bears get their food. If they dont get their food they're still running a huge risk...USE CANNISTERS


08-01-2004, 09:28 PM
Hanging the food in camp is just telling the bears,"Hey come on into camp!" The same goes for canisters. Food should be stored away from camp.

08-01-2004, 11:55 PM
A few years ago, I was coming down off of Big Slide at the trailhead near JBL. It was the end of a drizzly summer day and I think I was the last one off the mountain. Just before I got to the trailhead, I ran into a big male bear in the trail. After coaxing him off the trail so I could proceed, I realized I had snuck up on him as he was scoping out the campsites right in the area. I agree with Warren. I think they're so well fed in that area that they can be picky and overlook having to lick a mac 'n cheese plate. I haven't talked to the staff at JBL this year yet, but I'll bet if you ask them, they'll tell you there's plenty of bear in the area. I'm just glad we don't have grizzlies in our area. I use canisters whenever I camp and I always recommend them. They're much quicker than hanging bear bags and keep your food much more secure.

I have to say though, while I don't invite the bears, seeing one in the woods like that was a beautiful sight. I've never seen a bear in captivity look as healthy. I'm glad I had my encounter.

08-02-2004, 09:29 PM
I haven't met or seen a bear since I've started hiking in the year 2000. I do have a bear canister (REI $54.99 special...thanks to VFTT correspondent). I added reflective tape to the outside in case the bear decides to play with it.

A couple of ADK Onondaga Chapter members use paint cans for bear canisters which they purchased brand new for $3.00 at some place like Home Depot. They sprinkle a little hot chili pepper on the lid and had one encounter where the bear sniffed it and left.

Anyone else try to use a paint can?

08-02-2004, 10:00 PM
If large enough around that a bear couldn't get it in his maw I would think a paint can would work. I guess it's possible that a claw tip could be pressed into screw driver duty around the lip...

It's certainly not "certified" and so wouldn't be of any official use when the bear can regs come into effect in the High Peak next year.

Always wanted to write a story about what it must be like to be the bear that performs the initial tests on these things. I recall it's a grizzly retired to a zoo after being way to successful in a national park...

08-03-2004, 08:30 AM
There is a supplier of bear canisters that look like glorified paint cans (Stealth Can (http://stealthcan.com/)) and a review (http://outside.away.com/gear/gearguy/200304/20030422.html) . These are much more than $3. I'd buy a Garcia before I went with a Stealth Can. Since they rely on hiding the scent of the contained food, I wonder if they would stop a bear if found. A standard plated steel paint can would easily be crushed by a bear.

08-03-2004, 08:37 AM
I highly doubt that a stealth can would really prevent a bear from smelling the food inside. A bears sense of smell is much more sensitive to our own.