In order to tell my Yosemite stories properly, I need to take you back to the beginning of it all, when my family moved from where we lived in Northern California. We talked our parents into a two day Disneyland blow-out as the main condition for letting them move us so far away from home to the foreign country of Southern California. Isn't it mandatory that if you go to Southern California you have to go to Disneyland? But if you live there...! My two brothers, my sister and I couldn't wait.
Then our lives
changed in an unexpected way. We were all scattered in different nooks and crannies of our house. Just like all normal teenagers, we were hard of hearing. But for some reason we each heard our dad say that it might be interesting to go backpacking in Yosemite Park instead of going to Disneyland. That should have caused a wave of anguish, because he wanted to back out of our bargain. I think everyone was amazed though, when from all over the house, there was a resounding "Yes!" I'm sure my mom and dad had no idea (ha!) that our hearing was that good! (P.S. We did eventually make it to Disneyland and had lots of fun there. But, our backpacking trips were by far the better choice.)
And so we
found ourselves, a family with little backpacking experience: four kids, a mom, a loaded burro, and an equally loaded dad, sitting in a forest near Little Yosemite Valley, listening to a park ranger tell us a chilling tale. The week before, a couple had gotten into their sleeping bags with crackers for a bedtime snack. During the night a bear decided it wanted their snack, and the people just happened to be in the way. He told us about some preemptive measures we should take: Never take food to bed with us. Hang our food, and anything else a bear might think was food, from a tree limb at night. If we saw a bear we should make ourselves as big and noisy as possible.
hearing that tale, one of our first camp-making duties was to find a tall tree with a branch we could use, get a rope up over the branch and tie several backpacks to the rope. Then we could pull it up at night, loaded with the things we thought bears might want to snack on. Since we spent the next several years backpacking, we went through this operation many times, and got very good at it. But, in spite of our diligence, we still had some close encounters with bears.