Onion Valley is a valley high in the Eastern Sierra, west of the town of Independence, California. The valley is extremely steep and rugged, and the road to the head of the valley, at about 9,500 feet, is extremely twisty and steep. The valley contains a campground, a trailhead, and many wild onions for which it was named. On 3 sides, waterfalls pour in from the High Sierra. They join to make Independence Creek, which flows off to the east.

Onion Valley has been extremely popular in the past as a trailhead into the Sierra. Since the trail starts so high, there is a relatively small amount of altitude gain before Kearsage Pass, which accesses much of the high country of Kings Canyon National Park. Across the pass is Rae Lakes and other beautiful areas. However, recently the area has become nearly uninhabitable. For unknown reasons, the bears in this valley are extremely intelligent and skilled at stealing food from humans - indeed they rival the bears in Yosemite Valley. The bears frequent the campground, ripping open (yes, ripping open) any vehicle which smells like food, or has anything resembling an ice chest in the back. Or sometimes, they rip cars open just for the hell of it. In the high country, these bears are extremely skilled at retrieving bagged food. The Forest Service now requires bear-proof canisters to be used. But the bears apparently figured out what they are, and generally throw them into lakes or off cliffs for no obvious reason than out of spite or boredom.

It is suspected that the bears involved are a mother and cub. The mother has taught the cub the skills of the trade, and it is rumored that the cub even crawls out on small branches to steal food. If the bears are moved, they invariably find their way back. No one wants to kill the bears, but i doubt anyone would be able to catch them anyway. So needless to say, if you visit the area, hide your food in a bear box. Or, expect to lose it all. As well as your car door.

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