Lightweight and Ultralightweight Backpacking

The View from Here

Panoramic view from a mountain top in Glacier National Park, Montana

The national parks are not a zoo.

The National Parks exist to preserve the natural environment.

They are wild places.

Learn about the natural environment.

Trails, no matter if improved or not, are game trails.

For a fact, jogging or running may elicit a food response. Hike only with people who hike at your pace, faster or slower. Don't be a straggler to your hiking group, because it may elicit a food response from a wild animal.

Do not try to stare down an animal, rather glance and look away. Making yourself big may help, but don't challenge an animal that has no exit.

I talk about repackaging food for backpacking, in the packing section, and 5 Ways to Attract Bears to Your Campsite. Think about it.

The fact is, all odors are strong odors to wild animals.

Consider an approved bear-proof container, whether or not it is required. It is a good idea to always use an odorproof OPSak, developed for the military, and, to use a bear bag for small chewing denizens of the wild, as well.

I am also going to talk about underwear and socks. Keep it clean. Wash it out.

Male backpackers may choose to wear swim trunks, as some swim trunks with lining are comfortable and when washed swim trunks will dry quickly.

Other sports shorts may work just as well. Have a second pair. Wash them out.

If not swim trunks or other sports shorts, then wear quick-drying underwear because it is quick-drying.

Everyone might consider use of a product like Sport Wash.

Everyone might consider wearing clothing made with bamboo fiber, or loose-fitting rayon, or nylon supplex, or x-static fabric or any other clothing fabric reputable for low odor.

I use Sea to Summit Trek & Travel Pocket Soaps. Why? They are easy to pack. Easy to use. I also have the alcohol-free unscented baby wipes, or biodegradable Wysi Wipes because even the slightest odor of soap helps alert animals a human made be deliberately invasive of their territory.

Talk, sing, talk to yourself. Let the animals know you are near. Have no surprises.

In any event, do not approach baby animals. Never find yourself between a mother animal and their babies. In fact, if you disturb the natural activities or behaviour of a wild animal, you are too close for your own safety.

In many instances, that alone is a violation of the law.

Look around. Go back the way you came. Leave quietly.

In any event, do not challenge the wild animals.

You are in the wild animals territory and they are territorial.

They may accept you, preferring to travel at night and during the day have a nap, or, they may guard their huckleberry patch, which is essential food for winter hibernation. They may be guarding the huckleberry patch, or salmon berries, or elderberries, or moth larvae under rocks, or other food source.

Do not pee on the trail, or poo, because that is how they mark their territory.

Do not try to stare them down. Steady eye contact is aggression. It may work temporarily. Later, they may jump you.

Forget the movies and especially forget cartoons.

The wildlife photographers use telephoto lenses. If you want pictures, have a telephoto lens or buy postcards. Do not get closer, so you can be in the photograph.

This is the real world. The artificial world is in the cities and the towns.

copyright © 2017 Connie Dodson. All Rights Reserved.