Mike Hikes The Appalachian Trail For ZANE – Blog 2

Mike Hikes The Appalachian Trail For ZANE – Blog 2

I’m learning a lot about ‘bear-bagging.’

The park services strongly encourage hikers to hang their food and other odoriferous things (like wet socks for instance!) by the “PCT method,” to stop animals associating campsites with food.

To do this, one must first throw a line with a weighted bag over a branch at least 20 feet high.

I’ve learned that if you throw the line in undergrowth, the trailing piece is liable to tangle and bring the weighted bag boomeranging into your face.

I’ve also learned that some branches are dead, and will come crashing down towards you suddenly.

I’ve learned that too thick a branch will create too much friction, leaving you needing to basically hang from the loose end to hoist the bags up.

And I’ve learned that the line can easily get tangled: A couple days ago, it snagged on the trunk of a big fallen oak that lay horizontally on another, overhanging the forest road I was camping on. My yanking only tangled it more, so after a while I decided to shimmy out on the trunk to untangle it. The trunk was mossy… but thankfully my trail thighs got me safely there and back! I even managed to drop the line just where I wanted it–or thought I did. When I got back to the road and hung the bag, I realized that a bear need only climb a little up the slope the tree was laying on to easily reach the bag!

So my food was safe from pygmy bears at least!!

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