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Old 09-20-2019, 10:09 AM   #1
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Bear Lake, Colorado

Just returned from a short trip into the San Isabel National Forest in southern Colorado. Camping at Bear Lake sounded like a good idea. This area is in the Rocky Mountain Southwest, northwest of Trinidad, near the Cuchara Pass. Bear Lake is next to Blue Lake, at the end of a 10 mph, five mile long washboard road with too many tight switchbacks to count. It is a great fishing lake and base area for hunters and trail riders. The road is a bear. They close it down after the first snow, but anyone fool enough to go then is allowed, until the road is not plowed, which happens early. Needed to check Bear Lake out this week, before that happens.

No hookups, about 17 sites but they seem to be compound slopes so good luck with de-hitching level. Elevation, about 10,200 feet. There is a water pump, potable, manual, and clean pit toilets. Took Josie on several short trail hikes and it had me puffing. Saw no bears and no deer wandering through. Currently it is black powder and bow hunting season. I noted several trucks and rv’s that seemed to be abandoned but of course these owners were likely overnight backpacking up into the forest. I was happy to not see anyone dragging a carcass back from the hunt.

We stayed 3 days. Blueberry pancakes for breakfast and for supper, chicken thighs and pot stickers. The RM8551 stopped working again, on the way up. But this time on site I did tapping on the back of fridge propane lines, (thank you Ron), and when I removed the cowl protecting the Piezo I also saw its wire was not seated fully so I used pliers to push it in. Then, instead of 3 short clicks I got a much better ignition and the pilot light came to life. Fridge then got down to 29°F. But, this morning, two days later when we got home, again no pilot light. Did it blow out on the road? Did another speck of dust clog the orifice? I don’t know yet.

Most amazing thing up there was seeing several monster RV’s driving through, with pulling off road vehicles attached behind. They were in search of a first come first served site. (We got one.) I cannot comprehend the anxiety I would feel if I was towing ET-19 up there and had to pass one on a hairpin.

On the way home we stopped in Trinidad, on the Santa Fe Trail at the LivWell cannabis store, for some CBD tincture.
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File Type: jpg BearLk02.jpg (212.7 KB, 73 views)
File Type: jpg BearLake02.jpg (171.7 KB, 71 views)
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Old 09-20-2019, 11:21 AM   #2
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You are a braver man than I, walking your dog loose in bear country. I'd be afraid he would go off and chase a cub and encounter the momma bear. Beautiful lake though....
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Old 09-20-2019, 12:20 PM   #3
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No no, not a chance, Jim. Not visible here but Josie was attached to me, with a thin 20 foot cable I keep looped around my waist. No way I feel comfortable out there with her off a leash, still not willing to trust her free-range instincts have ended. Though when some neighbors' dogs up from FLA were free and came running over I did let her loose to prance around with them for 10 minutes. Then back to captivity.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:56 PM   #4
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Don't weorry about bear, worry about moose!

As an avid hiker and nature photographer, I see people doing stupid things almost every time humans and animals interface. I know a place where couples pushing strollers walk with yap-pie dogs and less than 500 feet away giant bull moose are marauding back and forth looking for trouble (early September).



When a moose sees a dog they don't think dog. They think wolf! They hate dogs and often times chase the dog right back to the owner. Moose are proliferating throughout Colorado at a very high rate. They are common now.


Bear are fairly rare, moose are everywhere. Bear in Colorado are almost all black bear. it is very rare to have to worry about them. I get them in my yard, in Boulder, most years in October.



Just my observation. Don't worry about anything other than the road. And bigfoots!


Ordered my 5.0TA Yesterday. Looking forward to many more outings.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:18 PM   #5
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Have yet to see a moose anywhere out these parts, except once across the river outside Jackson Hole, at Gros Ventre, WY, so I do appreciate that heads up. I know how dangerous they are but, easy to forget using common sense.
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Old 12-03-2019, 06:05 PM   #6
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I never knew this, I came across a moose in Banff, went up and petted it---eek. It's hair is like a horse and he was eating moss off the ground. I guess I'm lucky. Can not remember if it had antlers/horns or not,
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:18 AM   #7
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I never knew this, I came across a moose in Banff, went up and petted it---eek. It's hair is like a horse and he was eating moss off the ground. I guess I'm lucky. Can not remember if it had antlers/horns or not,
Jim, you do know that you broke the law by petting that moose in Banff National Park?

(National Parks Wildlife Regulations
SOR/81-401, CANADA NATIONAL PARKS ACT, General Prohibitions, Section 4.1.f - touch or feed wildlife in a park or entice wildlife that is in a park to approach by holding out or setting out decoys or any such devices, foodstuffs or bait of any kind).
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:29 AM   #8
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I was in the town of Banff, staying at the Fairmont Banff Springs and walking about the hotel grounds when the encounter happened. BTW they have a nice bookstore in the hotel where I read about the history of the Canadian Railroad, of which Banff was one of the hotel stops. The railroad system now allowed grain shipments from the plains. well it seems with the switchbacks going up the mountains, a lot of that grain would fall off the hoppers onto the tracks. The bears would then eat the grain (it was new food for them) and they found it would ferment in their stomachs and the bears became inebriated. The book further stated that the drunk bear would challenge the locomotive to protect the source of this new feeling it was having. I do not think the bear won that challenge....
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Old 12-04-2019, 08:38 AM   #9
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My favorite moose. About 40 miles from the Grand Tetons...
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Old 12-07-2019, 08:45 AM   #10
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Keep in mind moose are regarded as the most dangerous animal in our forests. They can easily eviscerate you in seconds. They are extremely unpredictable and I have been cornered while taking photos by more than one. I encountered one in Grand Teton that just lost a calf to a bear and was on the war path. There was a ranger assigned to the moose and came up and talked to me about her.


In Colorado, I live just outside R.M.N.P., in Boulder, we have them all over now. Particularly in the Front Range. There are many stories of moose chasing dogs right back to the owner. Once the moose tried to kick the lady who owns the dog with her back hooves. She lived across the street from me.


Just watch out for them. I routinely shoot them (images only) and hang out with them as they shed their antlers. Very cool. Keep the car close.

My favorite moose is that one who hangs out with that little squirrel dude.

Tim G.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:01 AM   #11
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Though not all that aggressively dangerous all the time, coyotes have proliferated throughout the US and Canada especially in the past 50 years. They are canines and they are competitive for territory as territory represents food. Last night at a friends home in a city of 145,000 people we had a campfire. There’s a fire station about two miles away and about 9 PM they had a call. As soon as the sirens sounded, coyotes started howling a few hundred feet from where we were in an urban back yard. I hear them out in the country often and dealt with their presence in city parks when I was working but this was the first time I’ve heard competition howling in response to emergency vehicles.
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Old 12-07-2019, 01:45 PM   #12
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Though not all that aggressively dangerous all the time, coyotes have proliferated...
Locally, as residential areas have expanded into coyote territory, domestic pets, cats and smaller dogs, have become a common food source. The coyote can easily jump a 4’ fence, grab little Miss Fifi Puff-puff and be gone before the owner knows whats happened.
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:16 PM   #13
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I met Stanley Gehrt of The Ohio State University a couple times as he lectured on Urban Coyotes and talked about coyote attacks on people in a Canadian park. He’s a fascinating speaker (to me anyway). In addition I consider Mark June of Texas as a friend and he also has terrific coyote dynamics knowledge. We had female Coyotes with pups regularly take house cats and small dogs in the spring of the year and retreat to rugged timbered park areas when I was superintendent of parks. An athletic female can jump a six foot board fence with a 14 pound dog in its mouth in broad daylight but this is the exception. Most of the time they are either heard and not seen or not heard at all as they hunt small rodents, eat vegetables and garbage and do their best to stay under the radar.
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Old 12-07-2019, 03:26 PM   #14
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There is an easy way to have complete control over coyotes.

Do the same thing mailmen do.

The product is called Halt!

You can clip it on to your belt. Amazon or eBay.

It sprays a stream about 20 feet. It is quite aim-able. It is the same ingredient as used in bear spray. It works great.

One spray of this and the coyote definitely goes away.

This is something you cannot cross the border with, but it costs about $11.

I have one for my wife and one for me. I also mostly carry bear spray too.

Even for safe hikes.

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Old 12-07-2019, 04:11 PM   #15
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You can cross the border with bear spray, but it must be labelled "bear spray", not "mace".
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Old 12-07-2019, 04:43 PM   #16
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No kidding?


I had no idea.


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Old 12-07-2019, 05:06 PM   #17
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For any question about what can and cannot cross the border, I recommend Googling "Canada Border Services" rather than asking on forums. The regulation language can be complex.
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:46 PM   #18
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Keep in mind moose are regarded as the most dangerous animal in our forests. They can easily eviscerate you in seconds. They are extremely unpredictable and I have been cornered while taking photos by more than one. I encountered one in Grand Teton that just lost a calf to a bear and was on the war path. There was a ranger assigned to the moose and came up and talked to me about her.


In Colorado, I live just outside R.M.N.P., in Boulder, we have them all over now. Particularly in the Front Range. There are many stories of moose chasing dogs right back to the owner. Once the moose tried to kick the lady who owns the dog with her back hooves. She lived across the street from me.


Just watch out for them. I routinely shoot them (images only) and hang out with them as they shed their antlers. Very cool. Keep the car close.

My favorite moose is that one who hangs out with that little squirrel dude.

Tim G.
Please send some our way to NW MT. Our reintroduced wolves are hungry, and moose are scarce.

Several years ago when we had moose I rescued a moose calf not once but twice (separate days) that was twisted in a neighbor's loose barbed wire fence. Mama watched me carefully and I had parked so my 4Runner was between us. Each time mama moose let me set the moose loose. I called my neighbor to tell him I cut his fence, came back to repair it, but it was still loose. He eventually stretched it back.
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Old 12-08-2019, 02:07 PM   #19
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We have bear spray in the camper. I Always declare it and always specify bear spray. It’s been back and forth about 17 times. Never a problem.
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Old 12-09-2019, 07:41 PM   #20
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Here is some moose candy for you guys and ladies.

B-358.jpg

B-361.jpg

B-362.jpg

B-360.jpg
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