Trek Women
July 22, 2008

Grin and bear it...

Img053_2The guys and I have been camping in Shenandoah National Park at Mathews Arm off of Skyline Drive for years. The camp area is never full, basically because there are no showers or electrical hook-ups. If you don't mind getting a little ripe, it's beautifully rustic with some wonderful hiking trails. If you're a hill junkie, the road cycling is spectacular.

Now for years, we've been out hiking and passed others who've told us to be on the look-out for bears. And this trip started off the same... until we came face to face with a bear. All of a sudden, we rounded a bend in the trail and there was a smallish black bear. She gave us a look then sauntered off into the woods. Holy smokes. My friend, Bill, tried to get a photo. No luck though.

Our campsite backed up to the edge of the woodland and all day long, whitetail deer would walk on through, munch some grass, and move on. And, they did it ALL NIGHT LONG too. They are some noisy critters. They were even bumping into our tents. On Saturday night, the critter chorus started up again. I guess at one point Russ woke up after the tent was nudged and looked out his tent's screen window thinking it was a deer. Yeah, no. It was a bear. Even though it wasn't aggressive, Russ didn't sleep a wink the rest of the night.

As I was driving out of the Park on my way home, I rounded a bend and there was another black bear who gave me what can only be described as a DeNiro "you-talking-to-me" stare. He just stood there in the road. I fumbled for my camera; but he ambled away before I could get to it. Those bears are big teases.

P.S. I asked Lee McClellan who writes for Kentucky Afield Magazine about bears. He says they love peanut butter and Doritos and can smell them from far away. Guess bears and I have something in common. 


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