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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    759

    Is it safe to hike in Alaska?

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    We will be heading to Seward, Palmer, Girdwood, and Mt McKinley. we would prefer to stay on trails where we will run into other hikers.

    If you have any suggestions, that would be great! Thanks!
    Lisa

    Bacchetta Ti Aero
    ICE B1
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    Safe in what way? From wild animals? Natural "disasters"? Crime?
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    759
    Quote Originally Posted by indysteel View Post
    Safe in what way? From wild animals? Natural "disasters"? Crime?
    Sorry, I need to clarify. Bears!!!
    Lisa

    Bacchetta Ti Aero
    ICE B1
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    It is likely that you'll see a bear? Probably not, but it is possible. So, take the recommended precautions and know what to do/not to do if you encounter one. You might want to make some sound as you hike (talk to one another, sing, etc.). Enquire as to any recent bear activities in the area, too, and look for any notices at the trailheads.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    around Seattle, WA
    Posts
    3,242
    Any of the parks will probably have a brochure on awareness in bear country.

    Some bears know that ice chests are lunch boxes, so store them in your trunk, out of sight. If in the car, throw a blanket over it.

    If you'll be in back country overnight, store your food away from your sleeping area. If there aren't food caches provided (bear proof containers), then sling a rope over a tree branch and winch your food up high out of reach. Toothpaste too.

    I hear bear spray works, but to make sure it's reachable and not in a pack. Wear it on your belt.

    In general brown bears aren't as dangerous as grizzlies. But don't get between a cub and it's mama. And if you must get up-close and personal photos of said cute bear, use a telephoto lense.
    Beth

    Now in the PNW
    2005 Specialized Allez Sport (survived Hurricane Katrina in the attic of the flooded LBS)
    2005 Breezer 3-speed comfort bike (H. Katrina evacuation purchase)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    1,194
    You might check out Backcountry Bear Basics by Dave Smith. It gives the psychology of bear, and some good tips/ideas for staying safe in bear country.

    In a nutshell, though, bear are big, fast, intelligent, curious and hungry. Act appropriately. At least that's what I got out of that book.
    Give big space to the festive dog that make sport in the roadway. Avoid entanglement with your wheel spoke.
    (Sign in Japan)

    1978 Raleigh Gran Prix
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Sillycon Valley, California
    Posts
    4,804
    Most of the parks/trails I've visited had bear warning signs if there had been any recent bear activity.

    The only hike I can remember in AK was at Denali Nat'l park - Horseshoe Lake. It's a short walk/hike, if you're lucky you can see the beavers that live in the lake.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    209
    If you plan to carry bear spray, make sure it is where you can easily reach it. When my husband and I hiked in Glacier NP and there were lots of bears, we came across a guy who was coming around a bend saw a bear and it saw him. The guy froze, the bear looked at him like he was giving him some thought and lucky for the hiker, the bear turned around and went the other way. The guy had bear spray but it was IN his backpack. If that bear had not turned around, there was no way he would have had enough time to take off the pack, open it up, get the spray and be ready for the bear in time. According to this guy it was that close and that fast.

    He told us this story because he saw we had ours on our backpack straps. Before our trip I made sure to know the feel of the canister. Although I didn't open any to get a feel for how it sprayed, I did look at them carefully, feel the safety tab, practiced putting my finger into the hole and simulate removing the safety tab. Think: wind direction. I was afraid to remove the safety tab, what if I couldn't put it back on? Anyway, I also practiced with my backpack on. Made sure I had it on my left shoulder strap (I'm right handed) and I could easily reach, remove from holder and hold it out without looking at what I was doing. Think: wind direction. I figured if I did come across a bear, I didn't want to take my eyes off of it.

    Think: wind direction. Keep in mind wind direction when using anykind of spray. It's hard to remember in these moments, thats why I added it to my practice steps.

    Alaska is beautiful! One day I hope to get to hike there too. Have a wonderful trip.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,784
    Quote Originally Posted by MomOnBike View Post
    In a nutshell, though, bear are big, fast, intelligent, curious and hungry. Act appropriately. At least that's what I got out of that book.
    It helps to learn to identify bear poop:
    How to recognize black bear scat: it has leaves and berries in it.
    How to recognize grizzly bear scat: it jingles and smells like pepper!
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    13,785
    Trying to live every day as though it were my first

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,972
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Tortoise View Post
    If you plan to carry bear spray, make sure it is where you can easily reach it. When my husband and I hiked in Glacier NP and there were lots of bears, we came across a guy who was coming around a bend saw a bear and it saw him. The guy froze, the bear looked at him like he was giving him some thought and lucky for the hiker, the bear turned around and went the other way. The guy had bear spray but it was IN his backpack. If that bear had not turned around, there was no way he would have had enough time to take off the pack, open it up, get the spray and be ready for the bear in time. According to this guy it was that close and that fast.

    He told us this story because he saw we had ours on our backpack straps. Before our trip I made sure to know the feel of the canister. Although I didn't open any to get a feel for how it sprayed, I did look at them carefully, feel the safety tab, practiced putting my finger into the hole and simulate removing the safety tab. Think: wind direction. I was afraid to remove the safety tab, what if I couldn't put it back on? Anyway, I also practiced with my backpack on. Made sure I had it on my left shoulder strap (I'm right handed) and I could easily reach, remove from holder and hold it out without looking at what I was doing. Think: wind direction. I figured if I did come across a bear, I didn't want to take my eyes off of it.

    Think: wind direction. Keep in mind wind direction when using anykind of spray. It's hard to remember in these moments, thats why I added it to my practice steps.

    Alaska is beautiful! One day I hope to get to hike there too. Have a wonderful trip.
    Thinking wind-direction is definitely important - I took a self-defense class in college and the main thing they drilled into our heads about pepper spray is that most people end up spraying themselves just as much, if not more, as their attacker. We practiced fighting attackers with cans of silly string so you can see how the wind affects where you spray. It doesn't diffuse as much but it's a good visual aid.

    "I never met a donut I didn't like" - Dave Wiens

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    209
    Silly string - what a great idea!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Mrs. KnottedYet
    Posts
    8,784
    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Tortoise View Post
    Silly string - what a great idea!!
    It'll work really well on a bear
    Custom Road bike ~ Mondonico Futura Legero
    Found on the road ~ Motobecane Mixte
    N+1 new bike ~ Salsa Vaya
    Commuter ~ Soma Buena Vista Mixte

    http://madeinusareviews.blogspot.com/

 

 

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