Uinta Highline Trail: Food and Bears.

Perry

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My brother and I are setting off in two weeks for a ten-day, east to west trip on the Highline trail. The last thing I have to figure out is what to do with food packaging, storage at night, etc. It would be nice to think we could just hang food bags but I suspect there will be few trees big enough and spaced about right to use. I'm pretty sure I'd never be able to get ten-day's worth of food in a single canister and I there is no way I could pack two of them.

Anyone have some advice ?
 

Devin Ashby

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I can't help much when it comes to space, other than say that you may have to take a bigger bag. But here's a link to some info that has helped me plan my meals better and make better decisions about my food. I've been able to reduce the amount of food I take and still get the calories I need for the energy i need.
http://andrewskurka.com/2015/backpacking-food-amounts-types-nutrition-storage-sd-live/

Good luck on your trip! I've been wanting to do the Highline for a long time.
 

Perry

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I can't help much when it comes to space, other than say that you may have to take a bigger bag. But here's a link to some info that has helped me plan my meals better and make better decisions about my food. I've been able to reduce the amount of food I take and still get the calories I need for the energy i need.
http://andrewskurka.com/2015/backpacking-food-amounts-types-nutrition-storage-sd-live/

Good luck on your trip! I've been wanting to do the Highline for a long time.

That's funny.. I had just stumbled across that very article a couple of weeks ago. Good data there. Thanks.
 

Devin Ashby

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Has anyone ever seen a bear in the Uintas? I'm sort of joking and sort of serious.
Never seen a bear myself. I think it's good practice however to be smart about where your food is placed. I've had far too many critters, mice, squirrels, etc get into my food. Even have had a hole chewed through my tent from a mouse in the Uintas cause I had an empty clif bar wrapper stuffed in the mesh pocket of the tent.
 

Opi

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Ursack with opsack bags for above tree line or bear canister
 

IntrepidXJ

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I have seen them. I'm not sure I can get ten day's worth of food in one, maybe two?? Any experience there?

You might need two of them. Should still be lighter than a bear canister. I've never done a trip that long, though....so I can't help with the logistics.
 

Perry

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Has anyone ever seen a bear in the Uintas? I'm sort of joking and sort of serious.
I have never seen one myself. A bunch a years ago I was talking to a ranger at the trailhead at China Meadows about bears. She said they are definitely up there but that she thought that the sheep ranchers take "care" of lot of them. Shoot them and quietly bury them.

Another interesting tidbit in a study I found online somewhere is that bear sightings above 10k feet are something like only 8% of all sightings in Utah/Colorado. That makes me *somewhat* more at ease for this trip but you never know.
 

Perry

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You might need two of them. Should still be lighter than a bear canister. I've never done a trip that long, though....so I can't help with the logistics.
That's what I'm afraid of... they aren't cheap :(
 

DrNed

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I have never seen one myself. A bunch a years ago I was talking to a ranger at the trailhead at China Meadows about bears. She said they are definitely up there but that she thought that the sheep ranchers take "care" of lot of them. Shoot them and quietly bury them.

Another interesting tidbit in a study I found online somewhere is that bear sightings above 10k feet are something like only 8% of all sightings in Utah/Colorado. That makes me *somewhat* more at ease for this trip but you never know.
This makes sense to me. The bear sightings I'm familiar with happen at the lower elevation campgrounds. Twice I've purposely tried to attract animals by leaving candy out on a rock, some distance from where I was camped, only to return the next morning and it's untouched.
 

WasatchWill

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It's been said in other threads, but bears have, allegedly, rarely, if ever been encountered above 9500 feet in the Uintas. At any rate, I can almost guarantee you'll never have to worry about bears along the Highline Trail. At least between Leidy and the Highline Trailhead of Mirror Lake Highway. If you're actually starting at Highway 191 then I can't vouch for that section leading up to Leidy. I too used to be worried about bears during my first trips into the High Uintas, but have since gotten much more lax about them.

Now days, I just bag all my food in a stuff sack lined with an odor proof barrier bag that I seal up, as I normally do, and then just hang it off a low lying branch in an attempt to keep it away from any possible rodents and other like critters since they're far more likely to smell out a bag of food at that elevation than a bear will. I've done many trips like this now and have not yet woken to find that my food bag had been tampered with. In fact, this is just how I'll be handling my food on an abbreviated version of the Highline Trail from Fox Lake to the west end with @Parma next week.

So, I won't tell you not to take bear safety precautions, but based on my experience, the experience of others, and from what I've heard from rangers via 2nd hand sources (may have been @Nick in another post), that 9500 foot line is a pretty safe guideline despite campground and trail head signs above which still say "This is Bear Country". To play it safer, you can even bump that guideline up to 10,000 feet which you'll still be above the whole way along the Highline Trail (assuming you're starting at Leidy or Chapeta). Given that for most black bears, their diet is 80-90% vegetarian and such primary food sources are far more abundant well below tree line and well below 9,500-10,000 feet, I just don't see any reason not to believe this guideline when it comes to bears in the Uintas.
 

Parma

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I know the forest service has trapped bears for relocation around the Soapstone Campground, but that's about as high as they've got one. It's not impossible to see them higher, but very unlikely.
I use the Opsak odor proof bags and they've been great! For 2 large bags at REI, they cost $12.50: https://www.rei.com/product/884265/loksak-opsak-odor-proof-barrier-bags-21-x-12-package-of-2
And like @WasatchWill said, they are primarily to keep away small rodents/animals.
On a trip in the Canyonlands we left a bag full of food out around mice and they didn't bother the bag at all over night....yes, a very scientific test I stand behind!
And our modified Highline trail trip next week (Sun-Fri) will be epic! 6 days and approx. 70 miles...Whiterocks Trailhead to Highline Trailhead. And yes, there will be photos and a TR to come!
 

WasatchWill

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Those OPSAKS work well. You can also pick up another kind at Sportsman's Warehouse: http://www.sportsmanswarehouse.com/...-Storage-Containers/prod99999026484/cat100877

You can get a bag of 5 "Medium" size bags for about $10. Our 6 day trip will fill just about 2 of them, so I'd say 3 of them would be sufficient for 10 days worth of food. You could also go with their "Large" size where one bag would probably be sufficient. Those are big enough to just about line your whole pack. If you were to get them, don't rely on the little yellow clips to provide an adequate seal though. Even I could smell odor coming through the top of the bag with that clip on. Instead of applying the included clip after twisting the bag closed, just fold it over on itself and then use a twisty tie to hold down the fold. Much more effective that way. As with the Opsaks, you'll need to leave a bit of space free (about 1/4 of the bag) to ensure a good closure.
 

Devo

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I have never seen a bear in utah, but I have seen plenty of scat. I saw some by our camp by EJOD a few weeks ago actually and that was close to 11k feet.
 
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