ive seen bear crap a lot more than ive seen bears.ive encountered black bears maybe a couple of dozen times in my life and every time, theyve run away. ive slept safely and soundly with my food, although i will put it in a bear box if one is available. i just dont see the sense in hanging.
its all good
Hey, underscored, don't worry about the bears. Seriously. We've seen a bunch, and they either sit there and look at you, or run away. Or sometimes they run a few meters then sit and look at you. Depends on how hot it is -- we had one encounter with a bear in Shenandoah when it was about 85-F in early June, and the poor dude was lying down in the shade right next to the trail. When we walked up on him, he got up, walked a few paces away from us, and just stood there. He was clearly just as hot and miserable as we were, and we just kept walking. In Georgia in mid June one year my ~12 year old daughter surprised a young bear who was in tall grass by the side of the trail. I think the bear jumped higher than she did. He ran about 25 feet, then stopped and watched us, very curious.
My own personal feeling is that bears telegraph their feelings through body and facial language. If you can read a dog, you can read a bear. Curious, scared, calm, whatever.
Respect bears, but don't be scared of them.
Saw nine bears on my thru-hike, 8 of them in Shenandoah NP. They did what the dozens I have encountered before and since did. They ran away, quickly.
Don't sweat the bears. Cold and severe heat are much bigger dangers.
If people spent less time being offended and more time actually living, we'd all be a whole lot happier!
More often than not you will get a good look at the a$$ end of a bear as it's running away from you. Has anyone acually ever been attacked by a bear on the AT?
Before my I left for my 07 hiking season we watched deliverance at a slow day at work in the kitchen.
Is your mouth purty?
I have had a bear parade in the Porcupine Mountains of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan once during a solo night hike on the North Country Trail. It was pitch black so I had to use my headlamp and I just got to a little road walk, I had some noise behind me. I turn around still walking to get the eyeshine of a bear, then a bit of fur flash in the light...then another set of eyes, then another...they were all at roughly the same level. I just kept hiking...for quite awhile down the pitch black road..no moonlight only some stars for company being followed in this bear parade...no cars or anything on the road...then my light died a slow death. I just kept going until the noise left and I did not see anymore darker contrast against the road when my eyes adjusted to the darkness better. Just curious bears I thought. On the AT they just run away.
NOBO section hiker, 802.1 miles... & counting!!
I've encountered five bears over the years (not on the AT -- I've only hiked a little of the AT) and not a single one ran when it saw me. I must not look very threatening. Four just slowly sauntered away after noting my presence and one juvenile walked about twenty yards to the side of the trail and then stopped and watched me for a bit out of curiosity. None of them did anything threatening. I will tell you the one variable which alters my perception of the encounter the most: I found seeing a bear while hiking by myself more unsettling than seeing one when I was hiking with at least one other person. But on balance I feel the same about seeing bears while backpacking as I do about seeing other wildlife -- it's a cool experience and one of the things that makes hiking great!
My philosophy about bear encounters can be summed up by an old Dylan lyric: "You go your way and I'll go mine." I don't pack a camera when I hike so I don't spend much time gawking at the bear or trying to get that perfect camera shot. I feel like stopping and gawking for any length of time seems disrespectful to the bear. I feel like I'm in its home and I should just be a guest passing through and cause that bear as little fuss and worry as possible.
To me, personal injury is 1000x more of a concern than a bear attack or issue.
Just completed my Spring Section hike in SW Virginia............there are a LOT of spots where one wrong step and you are headed down a pretty steep and long incline. I estimate that I take 20,000 - 25,000 steps each day hiking on the AT............have seen 3 bears in 5 years and 1250 miles.
Seeing a bear and all of the other great mother nature sightings is a blessing.........after all, we are in THEIR living room not ours.
No more bear fears for me! Thanks again all - you pretty much confirmed what I had thought - I'll be lucky to see a bear rear-end headed the other way. That being said, I'm going to be solo 99.9% of the time - I'm sure my heart rate will get going a bit when I turn a corner and "ohhh hello there Mr. Bear, ok, bye bye!"
Now... about those billhillies.... *banjo plays*
When I-40 was all destroyed from the rock slide at the TN-NC border (year ago? two years ago?) I had to make a couple trips north and ended up thru Hot Springs and surrounding areas. Interesting neck of the woods would be an understatement. I loved the vibe though.
Get a can of bear spray.