By Kathy Morey
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Extra info for Sierra South: Backcountry Trips in Californias Sierra Nevada
Before going to sleep or leaving your camp, clean any food out of your gear and store it with the rest of your chow; otherwise, you could lose a pack to a bear that went for the granola bar you forgot in a side pocket. Don’t take food into your tent or sleeping bag unless you want ursine company. Store your smelly toiletries and garbage just as carefully as you store your food. Set up and use your kitchen at a good distance from the rest of your camp. Also make sure your food, even in canisters, is stored a good distance from your campsite.
Bear Boxes (Food Storage Lockers): Bear boxes are large steel lockers intended for storage of food only, and they will hold the food bags of several backpackers. Their latches, simple for humans, are inoperable by bears. Everyone shares the bear box; you may not put your own locks on one. Food in a properly fastened bear box is safe from bears; however, some boxes have holes in the bottom, through which, if the holes aren’t plugged, mice will squeeze in to nibble on your goodies. There are bear boxes at popular areas in Sequoia National Park and southern Kings Canyon National Park.
The national forests and the national parks maintain a number of conveniently located facilities to serve you. Because of the severe cutbacks in funding, however, the agencies don’t know from year to year which locations will be open during the summer season. Use the information provided in each trailhead section to find the visitor center, ranger station, or satellite most convenient for you. Reserving Permits in Advance You can also reserve a permit by mail (and sometimes by email, fax, or phone) up to six months in advance of your trip.