backpackers should also take not to wear any perfumes or carry meat items in their backpack

I've never had any animal get into my pack and I've never heard of that happening (in recent years) here in the Ozarks. I did know a guy that was two days into a hike at Yosemite and got lazy and didn't hang his food very high in a tree. He woke up and got to watch a pretty big bear devour all of his food. After awhile he got up the nerve to yell and clang a cup and pan together. The bear was unimpressed.


This is OT, and a serious digression, but I'm waiting for some code to compile so I'll relate this story:

There was one time that I went camping at "Coffee Camp" near Porterville, Ca. On the way there I stopped at a store in Springville and the clerk there told me to be careful of the chipmunks at the campground. She told me they'd been raiding coolers they were left unattended.

When we got there my wife and I had the place to ourselves. We chose our spot, set up some chairs and decided to relax before setting up camp.

About a half hour later a van came into the campground and parked right next to us. We wondered why, since it's a fairly big campground with lots of nice spots.

A man, woman, and three young kids got out and started unloading their gear and glared at us the entire time like we had intruded upon them. I decided to try and break the ice when they unloaded their coolers and set them under a tree. I said, "Hi. Hey the lady at the store in town told me that we'd better keep our food and coolers stowed away because chipmunks were raiding stuff here". The guy just scowled at me and said, "Don't worry about it". My wife just grinned at me and replied to them, "Okay, no problem".

By the time they were done unloading they had a picnic table filled with bags of food and three coolers sitting on the ground. As soon as they were done setting up a huge tent the Dad announced they were taking a hike and away they went. They crossed a stream and were out of sight in just a few minutes. Seconds later the first chipmunk showed up to case their campsite.

He went for the biggest cooler first and to me and my wife's amazement, like a tiny Hercules, he opened that cooler lid and dove inside. Seconds later he came back out with a pack of hot dog buns. Then he jumped up on their picnic table, ripped them open, chattered real loud for just a second, and then started chowing down.

Within less than another minute there were dozens of chipmunks tearing into everything they had. Since my wife and were instructed not to worry about it, and gave our word we wouldn't, we decided to just enjoy the ensuing mayhem.

Chipmunks were carrying off everything, entire boxes of cookies and crackers, packages of cheese, donuts, they took it all and left wrappers and packages torn up all over the place.

About two hours before sunset the family of grumps came back. First they looked at my wife and I sitting under a tree, and scowled at us again. Then they looked at their campsite about 30 feet away from us. The chipmunks were now just going freaking crazy ripping and tearing through everything they had. There were flying in and out of every cooler and bag they had outside tossing wrappers in the air and whopping it up like it was Spring Break in Cozumel.

The two grumps just stood there with their jaws dropped. Their kids started laughing and squealing and were tickled pink to see so many chipmunks having such a great time and they took off running to join in. A few chipmunks screamed when they saw the kids coming and in less than a second the whole gang of thieves scattered away like six year olds called in for a bath.

While the grumps were assessing the damage my wife and I got up and walked to our car. I looked at the guy and said, "Well, I think we'll head up to the Upper Coffee Camp. Looks like that lady at the store was right. The chipmunks will get in your stuff here".

I swear he was forming his lips to ask me why I didn't stop those chipmunks, and I was sure hoping he would, but he never did get it out. He just looked at me and kept his mouth shut, and then went back to picking up his mess.


"You want to go where?"