So far I have camped at crispy.endpoints.pacifist,
certified.jumper.canines and unroll.pester.making, amongst other places. Each
three word combination reveals my location to within three metres and can be
found, and navigated to, using the what3words app or website. It’s a very cool
system and quite addictive, I absolutely recommend checking it out!
What3words was initially created by Chris Sheldrick and his
team after they had trouble finding the locations of music gigs. Launched in
2013, what3words assigned each of the 57 trillion 3×3 metre squares on the
planet a unique three word combination, giving billions of people an address
for the first time and what3words is now used by postal companies, emergency
services, aid agencies and businesses across the globe.
I’ve not yet moved my tent to get a catchier what3words but I love checking my latest address. In quieter moments, thinking of more appropriate addresses has also kept me entertained. I’ve had varying amounts of sleep at what.was.that, probably.another.raccoon, bear.munch.nom and please.send.help, and there’ll be more.
You can find out more about what3words in this TED talk and here.
“Nothing will guarantee your safety in bear country”. That was the opening line of the first article I read about how to behave in bear country, and it’s the gist of every other article I have read since then. Information gathering is usually my number one tool for overcoming worries. It hasn’t worked on this occasion.
They can charge at 44 mph, climb trees at top speed and smell food from miles away. Anything I can do, a bear can do better.
And, I need to know my grizzlies from my black bears because they play by different rules. If a black bear approaches my camp, I’m meant to shout, bang pots together and wave my arms around, perhaps lob some rocks at it. A grizzly, however, should be spoken to calmly as I avoid eye contact and back away slowly. Never try to move a grizzly bear.
Avoiding close encounters is the way forward and there are lots of things I can do to help with this. I’ll be storing all my food, toiletries and rubbish in a special bear-resistant canister. There’ll be no cooking or eating anywhere near my tent, that’ll happen downwind and far away. Only nice open spaces will be considered for camping spots and, when on the move, I’ll be making plenty of noise. No bear surprises, please.
I have only seen a bear once, a fleeting glimpse of a black bear in Big Bend National Park, Texas. A persistent snuffling noise emanating from a bush beside the path got my spider senses tingling. Then a bear poked his head out, looked around and vanished back into the bush. Fingers crossed any future bear encounters are of a similar nature, brief and peaceful.