|American black bears in the Five Lakes basin|
|Upper lake of the Five Lakes|
On one of my Five Lakes visits, I almost ran into a bear mother with her cubs. One cub got curious. But the mother made it clear not to approach any further. Interestingly, they hang out behind some fallen trees just a few steps off the Five Lakes Trail. I am still wondering how many hikers passed by without even noticing the bears—or without being noticed by them. Although brown-colored, Sierran bears are black bears (Ursus Americanus), which are said to be less aggressive than brown bears (grizzlies). Around Lake Tahoe, black bears often get habituated, mostly ignoring summer residents, visitors, hikers and the winter ski circus.
|Yellow-brown mushroom shelf|
|Spiny Sierra gooseberry fruit|
In late summer and fall you may spot some purple-red and spiny gooseberries hanging from branches of low-growing bushes in forest openings. Spiny Sierra gooseberry shrubs grow on sunny, south-facing slopes of the Bear Creek valley; as they do elsewhere such as the gooseberry slope above Donner Lake.
Keywords: Placer County, Granite Chief Wilderness, outdoors, hiking, bear habitat, American black bear, polypore mushrooms, Ribes Roezlii.
Explore Reno-Tahoe and beyond, a search portal targeting places, events and information of local interest.