|Sequoia Nat’l Park
We love to camp at primitive campsites. Okay, my husband and I love to camp at these non-electrical locales. The children just put up with the fact that there is no pool or playground. Without all the electricity, the brilliant stars fill the sky and the lightning bugs look like lace along the leafy edge of deciduous trees.
Primitive campsites usually provide campers with “bear boxes” or places to hang food packs to keep uninvited guests from wandering into camp as “guests” can come in all sizes and strengths. Bear boxes are strong, hinged, heavy metal boxes with a clamp or clip for security from hungry animals. There can be one bear box for every two or three campsites. As for hanging your own food pack, the campgrounds provide metal pole uprights with a line across the top. Some campgrounds provide the rope and clips needed to hang your pack over the line. Make sure you secure the rope to a pole or nearby tree.
We were camping at a primitive campsite in Sequoia National Park in California and had just finished having a delicious dinner of roasted tube steaks [that’s what my husband calls hot dogs so that I’ll eat them] and were contemplating whether or not we wished to wait before having s’mores when we heard screaming coming from the campsite on the knoll below ours. Even in the early twilight, we could see him. A mature black bear had wandered into their tent campsite and the woman was trying to get into her car, which is what you should do, as the man banged pots together to frighten it away.
Our children scrambled into the tent trailer like chicks hiding under the mother hen. My husband hopped into the van and drove to the Rangers’ station in the campground to alert them of the bear’s presence. The rangers came out to the camp site with a foghorn-type sounding device which frightened the bear away.
Needless to say, the children didn’t want any s’mores that night and refused to brush their teeth at the bathroom located down by the people’s tent.
Make no mistake. A hungry bear can shred a tent or tent trailer easily to get at the food it smells. To be safe, the park rangers told us to keep all food in airtight containers or packaging and use the bear boxes provided. Also, be sure to leave a clean tent/trailer area. Place all trash—especially food packaging—in a dumpster at night and before leaving your site for the day.