Dynamite in the middle of the forest
The forests and wilderness of CDT are so vast you’re lucky to meet a living soul. Most of the time the sound of wind or water are the only ones keeping you company.
In some sections dead trees are scattered around like toothpicks, naturally also blocking the trail. It’s the pine bettles and forest fires tax. It strucks you first than annoys you because it’s preventing you from hiking fast.
Some parts of the trail are cleaned — logs cut. It makes you wonder, who are the people going two or three days deep in the forest to do this.
Upon entering Yellowstone, we ran into two rangers. They were cleaning the trail. Came in on horses, tied them to a nearby tree. Dealt with cutting logs. With a huge old fashion saw. We were surprised.
“How come you’re not using an electric saw?”
“It’s forbidden. We want to keep the wilderness the way it is, so no motorized/electronic equipment is allowed.”
We nodded. It makes sense, right?
A few weeks later we ran into a couple of hunters that told us an interesting fact. One of the rules on trail is that when stock is on trail, you need to step away. Horses are fearful of people. So I wondered: are horses afraid of grizlis? Are grizlis afraid of horses? Generally, there’s no problem. In general…
“A few years ago somebody left a dead horse on trail when it suddenly died. When the animal started rotting and smelling, grizlies came and ate it,” said the older hunter. That created a problem: grizlis liked the horse meat. When one of the hunters came in the forest on a horse next time, he couldn’t camp there, because a grizli kept following him and the horse.
“So when our horse died due to a sudden heart attack a few years ago, we notified the forest service immediately,” continued the hunter and explained: “They removed the body. What they do is a process called vaporizing. A special team came in with 150 pounds of dynamite and blew up the animal. When we came to the place where the horse was lying a few weeks after, all we could find left of the horse was an inch big piece of fur. And a big crater where the body was lying. They even had to rebuild a piece of the trail.”
So much for peace.