We had been in the Sierras about one week and had moved to one of our favorite sites on Sept. 11. We’ve camped there for years and love the campground and proximity to kayaking and fishing, and the views are spectacular.
The campground was full and we were luck to find a spot. It happened to be right across from the Host and the campground bathrooms.
Around 10 p.m. on the night of Sept. 13, we were awakened when the right side of the motorhome was jolted. It was quite windy, so I thought it was a gust. I got out of bed and to my surprise I was standing approximately four feet away from a very large bear. He was on all fours just looking at me. I quickly pulled the bathroom door open which blocked the hallway and created a barrier between myself and the bear., then started yelling for my husband.
He leapt to my side and we held off the bear with the bear pushing on the other side of the door. I had a whistle which i was blowing nonstop, in between yelling and pounding on the door. This went on for about 10 to 15 minutes. It felt like forever. We were praying someone would hear us and respond.
Suddenly, we felt no more pushing, giving my husband time to reach for his pistol and fire two shots in the air out of our bedroom window. We finally began hearing voices outside. People were yelling, “Where’s the bear?” We yelled back, “In the motorhome with us!”
In the meantime, the door the bear had opened to enter the RV had blown shut. He was trapped inside with us. A camper across from us managed to open the door and the bear left the RV heading for the river.
We heard the next day he had bothered two or three more campers in RVs.
While he was trapped, he had been looking for a way out and did quite a bit of damage to the driver’s door and the interior of the RV. He mnust have been as nervous as we were: lots of cleanup was to follow.
We still don’t know what he was after. We hadn’t cooked outside and we had a cold salad for dinner. There was a bowl of fresh fruit on the table in the RV and it had not been touched. We did find his paw marks on the refrigerator and other areas along with some very long black bear hair.
Later reports we heard had him weighing between 350 and 400 pounds and standing 7’ tall. He had a tag in his ear, so this wasn’t the first time.
I hope other campers reading our story will take precautions. It’s easy to become complacent when sitting or sleeping in the comfort of an RV. We need to remember we are in their habitat. Fortunately, we didn’t hurt the bear and he didn’t hurt us.
Linda and Dick Friel
A peek behind the curtain
It was just a matter of time before property owners/taxpayers would question the official behavior and implementation here in Mammoth Lakes concerning the “fuel reduction program.” (Not the intent, but the practice and implementation)
My experience was not “coercive,” but costly (tree limbs & fire retardant canvas come to mind). A neighbor will lose a tree her son planted when growing up here in Mammoth decades ago. Another was told, “You are on our radar, now.” Yikes! Or in local colloquialism, “WTF does that mean?”
I’m curious as to how this program and respective fines was presented to the Inyo National Forest? Perhaps a weekly/monthly column on this subject, with the opportunity for the community to respond would help clear the air-eea (pun intended).
Mammoth Lakes Planning and Economic Development Commissioner submitted the following letter to U.S. Congressional representative Paul Cook.
Dear Congressman Cook,
In California’s 8th District lies the spectacular, nearly unspoiled scenery of “Wild by Nature” Mono County. Vistas are extraordinary. Recreation is unparalleled. 94% of the land in Mono County is public. Off-site advertising is banned. We have dark sky anti-glare outdoor lighting ordinances. This is truly a last great place. There’s nothing like it.
From around the world, visitors come to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and incomparable fishing, skiing, hiking, camping, etc. The very backbone of Mono County’s tourism-based economy is Federal Scenic Byway & State Scenic U.S. Highway 395 along Mono’s stretch of the Sierra Nevada’s steep east side.
You can imagine then how shocked your constituents—and I’ve spoken to many—were to learn the Benton Paiute Tribe sought your support last April for a trade of public land to build a casino/gas station/convenience store/“travel center” in a magnificent viewshed on 30 acres of U.S. Forest Service land where State Scenic U.S. Highway 395 and State Highway 203 intersect.
A 30-acre casino complex beside the fabled Scenic Highway is completely inconsistent with the experience our visitors seek. Those who want to gamble can drive 15 miles south of the County line to the Paiute Palace in Bishop or 90 miles north to Topaz. Gas stations and stores are available in every community along the Scenic Highway including an historic one at June Lake Junction.
Unlike the Joni Mitchell lyric, “…you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone…,” we do know. We know very well and we are ever vigilant. We also know a casino complex may benefit a few but at the expense of all small business and lodging owners and outfitters on the Eastside.
Your constituents strongly urge you to act to protect our priceless scenic and recreation resource. For the public to wait for comment until NEPA environmental review will be too late. This land exchange should be rejected.
This isn’t dodgeball
Thank you to Vane for the excellent article on the SFR debate (The Sheet, October 4). However, I do have to take issue with Karen Sibert, former Town Council candidate, who accused the new Councilmembers of being duplicitous during the campaign.
It would be easy to say that Karen is being “sour grapes,” but I don’t think that’s it at all. Rather, I believe she has a misunderstanding of the process.
Karen’s complaint was that, although all three Councilmembers, as candidates, disavowed supporting SFR, now that they are on the Council, Karen claims that the “speed with which this has come before Council on the agenda makes it look very clear to me that at least some of you did support it at the time … I think you were disingenuous to get the votes, etc. etc.”
I think all three candidates at the time were clear that they did not support simply approving SFR and throwing open the floodgates to single family rentals without a great deal more thought, consideration, regulations, etc.
However Karen interprets the fact that they have tackled SFR immediately as support for it. I think she is wrong on that; what they are doing is dealing with the biggest and baddest issues right out of the box. Former Town Councils kicked the can down the road for years and years. They were politicians first and foremost. This Council is getting right down to business, which is what we elected them to do.
When the dust settles, they may all vote for SFR, or maybe none will. Whatever they vote for, I’d be willing to bet that it won’t be any kind of blanket approval or disapproval, it will be something designed to protect everyone’s interests, at its core, a compromise, which is what democracy is all about.
Compromise is the spirit of democracy. We have all seen how extreme partisanship has rendered Washington a prisoner of gridlock. That’s not something we want to emulate in Mammoth.
Two weeks ago, The Sheet printed a letter from AJ Dickinson which contended that there was mandate from the voters against SFR. Well, you’ve got me there, AJ. The most outspoken candidates against SFR were all defeated.
AJ also says that the election notwithstanding, there is a mandate out there to recall Councilman Raimondo because he favors SFR. Perhaps, but I haven’t seen that either. I guess a mandate is like beauty; it is mostly in the eye of the beholder. I’ll be sticking with the idea that we elect representatives to deal with the difficult issues of the day, not dodge them.