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Strange hiking experience in the Sierras


JAG1

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I went to visit my elderly mother who lives at the foot of the eastern Sierra mountains. I try to get down there often, from Oregon, because we don't know how long she will be with us. 

 

One fine day I decided to go hike up into a canyon valley. It's an area of great beauty because of the meadow and the high saw tooth ridge tops all around. Going quite a long way up  this valley it becomes a very large canyon with huge walls of granite growing ever closer together. I then discovered a huge granite rock in the middle of the canyon about the size of 5 football fields and about 200 foot high. The oldest living organism on earth was growing out of  the rock crevices on top of this rock., the Bristlecone pine tree . It's seemed as though this big rock tried to be a mountain in geologic history but, didn't quit make it. I decided to go around the back side to see if I could go around it. There where no trails but was an easy walk since it was like  an extension of the meadow below all around it.  Only it now has become a forested meadow with some enormous ponderosa trees in amongst all the other trees, some with an 8 foot girth. Their branches alone looked like tree trunks.

 

As I walked around the big rock I saw strange and varying rock formations by way of how they broke apart or weathered over time, but were in groups or families in how they were shaped all being somewhat the same in each group. Some looked like varying sizes of pillows, some were fractured in huge curved plates as if you could choose one for using as large rain water basin. Some were smaller like you could prepare a meal on. Others were flat like for stepping stones but too large to lug anywhere.

 

As I continued around I began to notice how pristine everything was.  Untouched, as if I was invading a very special place. A place where one is not to go, does not belong. It was a strange feeling, but certain I was yet to discover something  great, I continued on. 

 

You all know how dry the eastern Sierras typically are but this year in particular is in major drought conditions Something like the worse ever according to record. Only now I discovered a small area of very green grass that was very tall but all matted down like some kind of animals are bedding down there. The matted area was very large, too large for just a few animals. As I looked around for a source of moisture uphill from there, I noticed above this area was a spring that over time had worn a large V shaped depression in the ground that would be protected from wind and cold. What a great spot for a herd to stop and bed overnight, I thought.

 

I continued further on above this spring, going further away from the big rock but was now on the backside. The ground was gently sloped but I had an even stronger, uneasy feeling that I did not belong there, like I was trespassing inside a territory one was not to go. Immediately I smelled a foul smell, not like animal droppings or dead animal, nor a skunk smell but, as if it were the smell of some kind of beast. It was like the foul smells that expert animal behaviorists report that you should stay away from. I never smelled anything like it before but I knew it was from something alive. It was as if it was warning me with it's particular gland that emits this foul order. At this point I took the warning and turned around toward the big rock again to continue going all around it as planned.

 

I got out of that area and closer to the big rock again with a somewhat uneasy feeling about that smell but felt the rock was somewhat more my territory by then.. I headed thru more of the forested easy walk that would now be about the half way point around the rock and happened on a small meadow. I then looked up over the rock between the Bristlecone pines and saw the most beautiful wild, pristine view of my life. It was a true blessing as another saw toothed ridge of mountains appeared behind the already inspiring canyon walls. It instilled as sense of wildness, an untouched world as it was meant to be. It was a very rare sight and created in me a very rare inspiration unparalleled through my whole life.

 

I got pics that I will post soon, but, none with Bigfoot or whoever, whatever it was.

 

BTW, hunters, what was that smell, or what could it be? I know it's Halloween but be honest  K?

 

Mike

Edited by JAG1
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One of my first posts on here was about an experience i had in the woods once. Not necessarily well embraced, but not called crazy either.

I have not experienced the foul odor as some have. But i did experience other things. Would you equate this smell as something close to what a landfill would smell like? I've been told that's how people would describe it. Only if it's what i think it is. No your not crazy and there are others who have had an experience too.

Pm me if you want to talk about it..

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The smell wasn't something that creeps up on you slow and recognize later. This was a sudden radical change from smell of the Ponderosa Pine in the air. It was very potent and unmistakably wild whatever it was. Even though I had never smelled anything like it before it was as an immediate warning to stay away.

Edited by JAG1
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Would love to see some pictures.

Not that I don't believe you, because I do, but is it possible you were smelling the damp soil that was growing the lush green grass?

There are several different soil types here locally due to the glaciers pushing through that once occupied the Great Lakes regions and there is one type in particular up close to the lake that has a very pungeont smell to it. The smell is only noticable in areas where the soil is always moist like low lying areas or deep in the woods where there is a lot of tree cover and very little sunlight. I once left my ATV sitting in the garage for a week without washing it after travelling through such an area and when I walked into the garage that had been closed up for several days the odor was overwhelming. It also stained certain parts of the machine which tells me the PH of that soil is probably way out of wack (and maybe explains the smell?) not a soil expert so I'm only speculating.

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I know that smell your talking about, when you cross an area of a bog with stagnant water and rotting organic material. I know it wasn't that as I would have recognized it. I was beyond the wet area and above the spring on the V shaped hill by then. The wind was blowing a light breeze as if the warm air helped cook up the scent of pines. The smell was sudden, overpowering. Something I had never smelled before but was unmistakably that of a wild animal, as if nature designed a perfect warning signal tuned for human interpretation, something innate that warned you to turn away from there.

I want to post the pics soon.... it bugs me I have to have someone do it for me all the time. Although they are on the computer desktop at least.

Wife will have time early evening to post pictures. I know you guys would like to see this place.

Edited by JAG1
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I know bear stink. the little (3-500 lbs) black bear here in AZ can get rather pungent.

Elk also stink. when in the RUT the Bulls have a strong musky kinda smell.

 

i'd put money on Bear or Elk. ifn you have both in the area. when i smell that i know i'm close and usually knock an arrow. or chamber a round.

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Sorry to say that my wife came home sick tonight with flu like symptoms so no pics tonight.

 

I there someone willing to explain the picture posting process? I will try if there are no technical terms but explained very simply.

 

Killer, how far away from a bear does the smell become so pungent? It was very strong and sudden. Also I had a bull Elk charge at me once while staring too long at his females. He stopped charging for me when I fell over a stump while running. I did not smell anything like the smell I experienced this day in the Sierras.

Edited by JAG1
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well pending on wind, i've been about 30 feet from them before smelling them and yet at canyon walls over 300 feet and still smell them. they will emit an oder (as most mammals do) when scared or startled. the old saying dogs can smell the fear on you. generally though bears will run away unless you encounter a sow with cubs, then she's well... Moma bear, they can be down right mean. you an look for sign of bear at the water hole.

 

took these two weeks ago huntin white tail.

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PICTURES.....

ENJOY....

post-669-0-75022900-1415249491_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-60461500-1415249526_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-94795300-1415249558_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-18854600-1415249591_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-67180400-1415249623_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-91236200-1415249648_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-54892000-1415249684_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-38961900-1415249710_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-53736300-1415249778_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-65844300-1415249845_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-23164300-1415249877_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-11746500-1415249903_thumb.jpgpost-669-0-69970600-1415249742_thumb.jpg

There is no proper arrangement to the pics, all taken from this same valley. At least you can see the rock I spoke about in a couple different pics. Barely see the Bristlecone pines on top. I have a couple shots from on top of the rock in which there are a couple 1,000 yr olds. See if I can post those tonight.

Edited by JAG1
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I know the bristlecone pine forest is in the White Mountains east of Big Pine, CA. You have a picture of kokanee salmon after they spawn in the fall when they move out of the Upper Twin lake and into Robinson Creek which is east of Bridgeport, CA.  So, where in the Sierra is this?

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Thanks Diesel for life.

 

IBMobile, I don't think I should reveal the location. It would be sad if it got mobbed and disrespected. I'm not an environmental case.... just, I've seen what people  do when a place becomes popular. Owners did mention they try not revealing too much about this place. I want to respect that.

 

PM me and I'll tell you a bit more about it.

Edited by JAG1
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Great pictures!!!  Out here on the Olympic peninsula I run into black bear quite often while out riding my dual sport motorcycle.  The smell hits me way before I see the bear. Also Elk have a distinct smell as well.  Here is a picture from a few years ago while out hunting.  I used the Ruger 44 mag Super Red Hawk as a reference .

 

PA118286.jpg

Edited by deej
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