Marmots and hikers and bears, oh my!

Synopsis: The OriginalMaxican and his friend, Sam, return to their car after a daylong hike in Mineral King only to find that a  marmot has chewed their radiator hose and drank their antifreeze making the car inoperable. Unable to roust a tow truck driver, they decide to hike the 15 miles to Sam’s car in the dark. On their way, they come across a young family camping along the road and ask for a lift…which they are refused.

Our story continues… (If you’d rather read the unabridged tweets, go to:


We replayed the encounter and discussed whether we would have given ourselves a ride. Both of us felt that we would. Probably.

“You can do the talking next time,” Sam said. “We’ll see if you’re more charming.”

“I don’t think there will be a next time,” I told Sam, remembering that we had seen no other campers on the drive in, or cars on the road.

We’d been walking for a little over an hour without seeing anyone when we took our first rest.

“If we are generous with our rests and ration the food carefully, we can do this,” I said. We anticipated another four hours walking.

We moved briskly through the darkness. A bit of banter and dark humor were employed to keep morale up.

We became aware that something large was shadowing us. It moved through the bushes with such force that we knew it was a bear.

“I guess we should start making loud noises,” Sam whispered to me. I started whistling.

The thrashing from below continued, as the animal matched our pace step by step. But slowly, it fell back, then disappeared.

After rounding a few more bends, we saw the headlights of a car coming up the road in our direction. We were elated.

A white sedan approached us and slowed. We waved them down. They waved back at us. Then they drove past us.

“That’s frustrating,” said Sam. I, too, was feeling frustrated. Why had they not stopped?

Perhaps they thought we were just out for a walk. At 11pm, miles from the nearest campground or cabins?

Or perhaps they were afraid of us, like the other family had been.

As we were discussing this, we heard another car coming from behind us. This time we stood in the middle of the road.

To be continued…