Hey everyone, it is good to be back from vacation. I thought I'd use some of my journal writing to get the blog started back up. I'll post this entry in 2 or three sections. Here is Part 1.
By the time we reached our trail head, it was 5:15 PM. We had three hours and 10 minutes of daylight to hike 5 mountain miles, set-up camp, filter water, make dinner, hang our bear bags and start a fire.
Temperature was in the mid 80's and humidity was high. Matt's pack was broken when we arrived, and it rode his shoulders painfully the entire way.
Late start, some forgotten supplies and threatening rain didn't dampen our spirits. However, at the halfway point of the hike, rainfall dampened us. We covered our packs and largely ignored the rain gear because of the heat...
The trail is more difficult now. Our maps leave us somewhat uncertain as to our place in this wilderness. The guys oriented well, however, and we trudged and splashed on until arriving at the camp area we had chosen.
The trail lay between the large camping area above and to the right, and a rushing stream, below and on our left. We needed to filter water for the night, but decided to find a place to make camp first. We passed a group of four guys and walked on to an area with its own bear cable system--about one hundred yards through the pine forest beyond them.
Paul saw it first. In his casual voice--as if he were pointing out an interesting tree on the side of some road--he said: "There's a bear. It's right there." He was pointing out in front of us, and we were at full attention.
Directly in front of us was a bear. A large black bear walking in a path perpendicular to our own. And though his large body was sideways to us, (we estimated that on all-fours, his back was around four feet high) walking on all fours, his face was on us...of that there was no mistake.
Paul caught a brief shot of him on video. And then he was hidden from our sight, at least for a while. I suppose if we had seen no more of him that night, we would still have been wary.
TO BE CONTINUED...