We Have Bear Spray


Dan

“You have bear spray right?” asked Eric.
In unison we replied that we did not, but we had a bear banger and besides we run in bear country in Ontario, heck we even have a black bear knocking around the swamp at the cottage.
“But do you have Grizzlies?” He asked
Well no, but how much different could it be, sure they are a bit bigger, but isn’t everything in nature essentially supposed to be more scared of us than we are of it?  Still Eric’s questioning did get us thinking. We went to check out our bear battling options, which was pretty easy as Eric was an employee at REI, a major outdoor retailer based in the US, and we were stood in said retailer.

For $50 bucks I decided that it might be cheaper just to be able to out run Heather, then I realized I can’t out run Heather, which buggers up that plan, but that is the price of an aweful lot of beer in this state (see pic), we decided to hold off for the moment.

Yep that's for 5 pints!!!

Yep that’s for 5 pints!!! therefore bear spray equals 16.94 pints

We got onto the topic of bear spray in the first place while Eric was giving us a run down of local trails and interesting camp spots. As well as being a great source of local intel he is also a talented wilderness photographer with a rather odd travel companion*

It seemed everyone we met was an active outdoorsy type. Our waitress for happy hour at the Top Hat in Messoula was no different.  We supped our $2.49 pints and chatted to her about the local area and the trails, she regaled us with her running and fishing stories, and of course finished with, you have to carry bear spray. So in a happily drunken smog we decided to descend upon the local walmart, two things became quickly apparent, one, this is where you don’t find all the outdoorsy types, this was our first glimps of the prototypical American. Secondly despite the first point it is where you find cheap bear spray**.

In possession of our new WMD we were ready to tackle the Montana trails, well after Heather read and re-read the instructions. Oddly enough I am the one that carries it, don’t tell Heather, but I haven’t read the instructions, if I can’t work it out when the situation arises I plan on throwing it at the bear and reverting to my original plan of running away.

JFDI Yogi, I dare you!!

JFDI Yogi, I dare you!!

We started with an easy and very photogenic hike in the Kootenai Canyon, nothing overly strenuous and I discovered the bear spray fitted in my pocket nicely, which A) made me look like I have a large package and B) I don’t look like a total tool carrying it in a holster.

Moon popping out

Moon popping out

of course there is a waterfall pic

of course there is a waterfall pic

That night we found a spot at the Charles Waters campground.  On his nightly rounds the camp ranger stopped by to wish us a happy Canada Day, which was most unexpected, turns out his wife is a Canuck.

Broke out the slackline, without breaking anything on me.

Broke out the slackline, without breaking anything on me.

Not only did he wish us a happy Canada Day he also suggested that we were in the right vicinity to bag a peak in the morning, so long as we had the obligatory bear spray. This of course “peaked” our interest, so the next morning we found ourselves on a slightly overgrown jeep road, picking our way to the trailhead, I put the first scratch in the Hulk and the camper as I failed to dodge some overhanging branches, but scars are cool right?

When we finally arrived at the trailhead we were met with a spectacular view of the valley below, as well as Little St Joe, our peak for the morning. “It looks along way away, did the guy say how far it was?”, “I didn’t ask, did you?”, “nope, but it can’t be that far”.  We set out and very quickly started to climb and climb some more. We eventually hit the snowline, this time however we did not turn back, we could see our peak still so scrambled onwards, my Boy Scout training kicked in as I started to break branches on trees so we could easily find our path down. As it turns out there was not much snow when I was a Boy Scout, otherwise I would have realized that following your footprints in snow is also a rather good way of retracing ones steps. After a solid slog we were rewarded with our hardest fought summit of the trip thus far, along with a stunning view. The walk down gave our quads a thrashing, but at the end I treated myself to a Simple Shower overlooking the valley below, yep I got Starkers on a mountain, it certainly was a shower with a view for Heather.

Contemplating our sumit

Contemplating our sumit

hmm you really do leave tracks in this white stuff

hmm you really do leave tracks in this white stuff

Worth it, now just hope we can find our way down again

Worth it, now just hope we can find our way down again

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The final destination for the day was a Bannack, a gold rush ghost town, but not before we hit up a couple more Montana microbreweries, a running theme of the trip.

Ghostly  roundabout

Ghostly roundabout

We arrived at the ghost town pretty late so decided to camp up and explore the next morning. I will mostly let the pictures speak for themselves, and add that I bored Heather immensely taking them, until the boredom became irritation as she was eaten alive by mosquitos.

_DSC0084

Ghost Truck

 

Ghost cart in front of ghost barn

Ghost cart in front of ghost barn

To sooth all those bites we wrapped up the day at Norris Hot Spring, which is the closest these two Overlanders have been to a bath in along time. The following day we stopped at Bozeman to get supplies before heading to Yellowstone. Of course before we actually got to the park we made a stop at the Neptune microbrewery.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bath Time

So to sum up Montana is pretty cool, one night turned into five in a blink of an eye, and oh yeah the sky really is big here.

* consider this your teaser, now go check out his website.
** On the grand scale of the trip one may argue that scrimping on an item that will stop a bear eating you is rather foolhardy.

Advertisements
Categories: Hiking, Overlanding, Trails, Travel, USATags: , , , , , , , ,

11 comments

  1. Read those Bloody instructions stat .brilliant pics I love them especially Ghost town ,but understand Heathers point of view love Nanna x

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  2. Your photos are simply outstanding! All those courses, practice, and lens purchases are paying real dividends!

    Like

  3. Laughed all the way through your blog, that is so you ! , glad that you have the bear spray Tonto and that your tracking skills are as honned as ever – remember Dove valley ? xxxxxx

    Like

  4. I agree that is so you Dan, I hope H can scream out the instructions for the spray as she runs past you. Seriously, I believe that now that you have the spray, you will not have to use it, kind of like insurance. Wow, it really was a ghost town, and you were the only ones there besides the mosquitos! Great pics! xoxo

    Like

  5. I’ve been all over the CO, WY, MT, ID, & UT mountains and never needed bear spray…of course I have also traveled quite a bit around central and south America and never been mugged or robbed… and we know how that anecdotal experience of mine has worked for you two…better get some more bear spray!!!

    Like

  6. Ahhh, good fun. Incidentally, you guys were only three miles from my place (affectionately known as Funkytown) when at the Charles Waters Campground. Thanks for the laughs and keep on keepin’ on…enjoying pints…and not being eaten…and whatnot. Thanks for the kind words and the shout out to Monkey Mind Images.

    Like

  7. We constantly forget to bring our bear spray, it tends to just sit in the car a lot. (In all fairness, if we encountered a bear, my first instinct would be to take photos, so I’d probably be too slow at accessing the spray for it to do any good.) Ghost town looks amazing.

    Also, you should consider publishing a brewery list for those following in your footsteps later… (We mostly navigate by brewery, so we could probably throw our maps away if you did)

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: