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…