No Lions or Tigers…but BEARS, oh my!
It’s a question all too frequently asked on the Smoky Mountain National Park part of the AT.
Then you see signs like the one above and ask yourself…..”what are the chances?”. This was the posted sign right outside the very 1st shelter we stayed at in the Smokies. It was at the Cosby Knob Shelter.
For us???? 100% chance for all 3 of us! Our 2nd morning, Mountain Goat was packed and gone before either Greyhound or Chopper. Little did we know that he’d be the 1st to encounter a black bear. He was 10 minutes out of the shelter when a black bear came off the side of the mountain and walked right at him on the same trail! He got within 50-60 feet and while filming the bear and thinking about a plan of action, the bear crossed the trail and headed down the slope.
10 minutes or so afterwards, Greyhound & Chopper left the shelter and headed up the side trail to the AT. About 1/2 way up, Greyhound turned, and with a look of sheer terror and eyes as big as dinner plates cursed and croaked out “BEAR”! I saw him at the head trail and the 2 of us scrambled to turn on our phones! Looking back and forth at each other as our phones ” loaded”, we wondered what was taking so long…..as we giggled at our predicament. Finally, we both got our pictures and it was time to follow the Park directions about bear encounters and get rid of him! I whistled loudly while we both raised our hiking poles above our heads and clashed them against one another……SUCCESS!
The bear scampered down the trail and away from us! I asked Greyhound to warn the other shelter visitors and she walked back to let them know.
I walked up the trail to make sure the bear was gone and…… NOPE…
20 yds give or take, there he was…waiting…patiently…right by the blaze. We decided that instead of chasing him off, we’d back up (another recommendation) and once out of sight of the bear..turn down our trail and hike our hike!!
That hike is History, Tomorrow’s Hike a Mystery. Right now is a gift and why it’s called the Present
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