Hiking Log – Bears (2016)
Following is my selection of this week’s thoughts of a hiker.
April 24, 2016
Encountered a family of bears, they chased the 4 of us, 3 of us got away… haven’t found Johnny yet… heard screaming… going back for him.
June 2, 2016
Daily bear count = 5
June 19, 2016
Bears + Broken bear boxes= dead bears. This makes me sad.
July 7, 2016
Today “old trail name” became “Nine Bears” in reference to seeing 9 bears in one day. It has been written, and it is known. Go forth!
If anything would stop me from hiking the Appalachian Trail, besides of course the required energy and the difficulty of such a feat, it would be the potential to encounter bear. In the New York area of the trail, there are indeed bear; specifically, black ones. In fact, I’ve seen them running across our property which is in an area that is not particularly secluded. The Department of Energy Conservation indicates that in the entire state of New York, there are at least 6,000. The males are 300 pounds or more, and the females 170, and while that might not sound too heavy, those suckers are big. And even though that is true, their size does not mean they are slow and lumbering. They are very speedy, a fact I can confirm when one ran across my property when I pulled in with my car. It ran up a tree, stayed there for about 30 seconds, scooted down and ran away. Based on that one encounter, I can say with certainty a running black bear could easily catch up to me.
Reading through the trail logs, one of the traits I’ve noticed about hikers is their desire to help other hikers. There are often tips about things to be cautious of, and the above comments continue in that same vein. The first is meant to be funny and I’m sure Johnny was fine, but as can be seen with all of these commenters on days where they saw bears, they saw multiples. I’m also positive there were no dead bears as written on June 19th, although I’m just as sure the writer wanted them to be since the bears apparently broke something.
Typically, black bears are afraid of people. That being said, if they encounter a lot of humans, those fears can lessen. Especially if they equate people with the possibility of food (not people AS food, but people HAVING food). So the advice of the Appalachian Trail authority is to hang food high up in trees, or use the steel poles with prongs in areas where they are provided. Stay alert and if you do encounter a bear, follow the guidance found on the Appalachian Trail website.
That’s all for this edition of the Hiking Trail Log!
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