A 2-bear kind of day

Miles: 1462.9 to 1489.8

Mileage: 26.9, plus 0.1 to camp

Day: 75

I’ve seen five bears on the PCT so far. Richard has seen 1.5 of those. 

The first, I’ve mentioned before. We were getting water near mile 500. The bear joined us for a brief moment; so brief, in fact, that Richard only saw its butt as it was leaving (that’s where the half comes from).

For a while past that, I didn’t see any bears. There was evidence like scat and scratch marks on trees but no sightings.

But in the last week, I’ve seen four. 

Most notice us before we (I) notice them. They run off at full speed and I just catch a glimpse as they go. 

That’s how today’s first bear behaved. It took off and wanted nothing to do with us. 

But the second bear was different. 

Richard was hiking in front of me. We were heading downhill to the Squaw Valley Creek where we hoped to find a campsite. It was past 8 p.m.

Richard startled the large brown-colored black bear from whatever it was doing just to the right of the trail. It ran up the slope away from us. But then it stopped. It turned around and looked back down on us from 40 feet up. 

We talked loudly so it would know we weren’t prey. I banged my trek poles together to be louder. But it wouldn’t be scared off. 

As we kept going down the trail it started growling at us. They seemed like the intimidation tactic I’d heard — but never seen — a black bear will use to scare off whatever it finds threatening. If you stand your ground, it might charge you but probably not get so close as to touch you. It’s a bluff charge.

Rather than give this bear the chance to charge, we slowly started hiking. Because of the bend of the trail, we were out of its line of sight in mere steps. 

I kept looking back and up the slope above us to make sure it wasn’t following along. 

We didn’t see it again. 

However, we did happen upon a campsite near a National Forest pit toilet. We stored our smellables inside the concrete building. We figured the smell of the toilet would mask the food or the bear would just have at it but we would be out of the way.

The day also involved much and more poison oak avoidance, but I will have to get into that tomorrow. The heat is still on and it zaps me of energy. To sleep I go.

Sidenote: the wildflowers out here are amazing. I think I will miss them the most of this thruhike. California certainly has amazing flora.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *