[pct-l] Bear encounter

Nathan Miller erccmacfitheal at yahoo.com
Tue May 25 22:44:35 CDT 2010

My bear encounter was a bit more dramatic.  I was hiking SoBo last June and was making my way through Donomore Meadows in mid-morning.  I'd crossed the road by a small cabin and was about to follow a curve in the trail headed toward the footbridge over the creek.  I could hear cow bells across the meadow.  I rounded the bend in the trail past some trees and saw a large animal less than a hundred meters away (actually, that's a bit more than a football field...had to have been WAY closer) ambling nonchalantly in an intercept course.  At first, I thought it was a cow, until I noticed the tawny muzzle, jet-black coat, round ears and totally un-bovine posture.  "Oh, crap!  It's a bear!"  I retreated back up the trail and then realized that it would just walk out the other side of the trees and see me anyway, so maybe I could avoid a confrontation by avoiding detection and that by keeping a visual on it.  So I slinked back and decided to try and get its
 photo.  Out came the camera (Canon 2IS, weighs 1 lb. [slightly less with lithium batteries instead of alkaline]).  The bear passed behind three small trees and when it emerged, I almost had a bead on it when it looked right at me.  Before I could really squeeze the shutter, or think, "Oh, crap, it's seen me!" it whirled around and ran off the way it had come, its feet making a nearly palpable thumping on the ground.  There was no rearing up, but that was pretty exciting anyway!  Are We There Yet, who picked me up in Seiad Valley, was thrilled I'd seen a bear.

-Nate the Trail Zombie


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