Updated: Oct 24, 2020
It’s that time of year again! Every February Grandma heads off to Hawaii for a much-needed refresher and fun with friends. Grandpa stays home to work on projects he hasn’t quite gotten to. The cats, dogs, and livestock need an eye kept on them too.
This was always one of my favorite times of year to go to my grandparents’ place, mostly because while Grandma would spoil you, Grandpa would really spoil you! I would also get postcards from Hawaii telling me all about the ocean, humpback whales, and the new Hawaiian words my Grandma was learning. At the end of her trip, she would bring home all sorts of treats. It made me want to go out there and explore all the places so different from the one I was used to.
Meanwhile, my siblings and I were learning the best way to keep the kitchen clean. When Grandma leaves, Grandpa sets up the kitchen like a backcountry camp. He lays down the newspaper to catch all the crumbs and wipes out the dishes with toilet paper before rinsing and washing, finally, he wraps up all the newspaper and toilet paper together to burn; careful of course not to spill those crumbs.
It was always something we laughed about, but it is one of the most important skills you can have going into the wild. Bears aren’t something you want to tempt with food especially when you could be a tasty morsel nearby.
The first thing that is important about this is that bears can smell food type items from miles away. In order not to become a bear’s lunch yourself you should know the rules for whatever area you're in, because it will vary depending on the actual known bear activity in that area. It is always wise not to have any of those food smells near you after dark.
We use bear boxes, a bear stand, and an electric wire fence around camp when camping in or near Yellowstone National Park. This is mainly to keep the food a bear might smell out of their reach. Even though we take these precautions, we were taught from a young age that if you can avoid that bear trying to get into your food that’s even better. That is why you take the right steps while preparing and cleaning up your meals to avoid that outcome!
On a side note, you want to be careful with toothpaste as well as locking it up in your bear box with the food.
In most areas where bears are active, it is also required that you keep the area you’re making your food at a certain distance from where you will be sleeping.
The second thing you should know is that bears aren’t really something you should fear and worry about constantly. As long as you don’t surprise them or feed them, giving them an expectation of food, they will generally leave you alone. All of that changes if it’s a Mama bear with her cubs, then you really want to give them space and make sure not to startle her. That being said, there is nothing like riding right past a Mama bear and her cubs wondering if you should be worried or taking pictures because they are so cool!
As we’re going into President’s day weekend go out there and explore the wild, have fun but most importantly be safe!
*Pictures provided by Tim Bowers
Thank you, fellow adventurers! You can follow the lilmissbearpaw blog page on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @lilmissbearpaw for sneak peeks into upcoming posts and my adventures. This will also be a great place to share your own adventures!