Smokey Mountains Day 3: Good Boy, I Mean Bear!

Today is a short day due to a shelter closure up ahead. And my body needs it, I feel like it’s day 3 in Georgia. This morning I crossed 200 trail miles, including the approach trail.



I took my time with the days 7.4 miles and made Double Spring Gap shelter around 3pm. My trail friends Solo, Wise Old Fool, Flipper and Mouse Trap were all there.

I decide to treat myself with a rare hot lunch. We had been slowly collecting wood and tinder to have ourselves a nice fire later. My lunch trash went into the pile.

It wasn’t 30 minutes later that we had a very persistent curious visitor. I’m estimating this bear to be around 350lbs. Though I’m gauging him against wild boar that I’m more familiar with. I don’t have bear experience outside of last nights brief encounter.

And this encounter wasn’t brief at all!

He probed our camp for more than 2 hours, first below us, then above us on a small rise in the grass. When he got to close for comfort we barked and talked shit to him for giggles. It wasn’t hard to scare him off. He never appeared aggressive.

During the first encounter we started the fire immediately to get rid of the lunch trash smells. He continued to watch us and slip away only to reappear over and over again from half a dozen different approaches, all around our camp.

We played spades and other card games all afternoon with exciting bear breaks. At one point he sits down like a dog not but 15 yards away and hangs out for 10 minutes. When he decided things seemed cool, he started lumbering into our immediate area. Bear spray at the ready, we successfully scared him off time and again. We never had cause to actually use the spray.

Around 6:30pm he left and didn’t come back. All the good smells were gone and everything was hung up on the bear cables. We had a camp deer around the shelter most of the night and I feel it would of alerted us by bounding away if the bear was around.

If you’re going to have a bear encounter, this is exactly how you’d hope it would go… I’m really glad to of experienced this moment. While we never really felt threatened, it’s a very unique and even exciting feeling to have a super predator circle you for hours in broad daylight…

6 thoughts on “Smokey Mountains Day 3: Good Boy, I Mean Bear!

  1. A 400 pound bear is really big for a black bear…. be careful, a 200 lb bear has been known to kill people. It was in Idaho back in the 50s I think is where a 250 lb bear held a forest service employee down and ate both arms enough she had to have them amputated. Continued working for the forest service with two prosthetic arms.

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    • Only after I saw the pic’s…..๐Ÿ˜„. I also saw the young bear drop from the tree…..hopefully they all act more like dogs than attack and hungry wild animals!

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  2. OMG!…..why were you that close….how did you get away….did it have cubs in the area. It would certainly have come after you if it had! Please be careful! I’m freaking out!

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  3. Take it easy on your poor mom! ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š Personally I think that it sounds as if you are taking all the proper best precautions! If other hikers did too, the bears wouldnโ€™t be so curious. Donโ€™t get used to them, be on your guard and keep on your toes!!!! Complacency is not an option! Hope youโ€™re resting and re-supplying in G-burg! The blog is really coming along nicely!!!!
    Be well, be safe!!!!! Days left in the states- 5 and a wake up!
    Travel on! ๐ŸŽ’๐ŸŒ๐ŸŽ’๐ŸŒ๐ŸŽ’๐ŸŒŽ๐Ÿป๐Ÿป๐Ÿ๐Ÿ

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  4. Congratulations on your 200 mile mark.
    Hope the weather holds for you. All that rain looks like has really made the vegetation lush.
    Helps to hide those annoying bears LOL.

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