Bearly a problem

Tuesday, June 14
Middle Creek Campground (755.7, 78.7)

A bear went through camp twice last night, the first time around 2:20 AM and again at 4:40 AM. I had heard a hiker come into camp after I got in my tent but left them to their business. At first I thought the bear was a disoriented person trying to find the privy without a flashlight or headlamp. Took a few steps, paused, take one, pause, etc. very similar footfall to a person. With the amount of bear activity this year, have already planned my rough defensive routine and got ready, although I was sensing more curiosity than aggression. The other hiker and I were both doing the same thing, getting ready to sound like the mother-of-all Bears, trekking poles at the ready, headlamps ready to blind, backpack for protection or ram.

It came to none of that. Bear moved through camp both times slowly, deliberately, but 15 minutes was gone. Both of us had our food bags tied up in the trees like good AT hikers, and gradually could settle down to get more sleep.

In the morning got to meet Sweep, a woman in desperate need of bug spray. She went in the shelter and was under constant attack by mosquitos, and then had to pay attention to the bear.

We both have interest into getting to Middle Ground Campground 3.2 miles distant. She wants a milkshake from their camp store, and I need resupply (my lunches aren't packing enough calories) and a nearo. We both head out about the same time, getting down in 1.5 hours. Another hiker lets us borrow his phone since neither of ours gets a signal to call campground for a ride, and we are there after a short ride given by owner Susan.

We are joined by two other hikers Sweep knows, a couple, with him on his third thru and her on her second. They say there's some good slack packing options from the Campground, and after discussion agree to share the cost of a sixteen mile slack tomorrow.

Scratch is here and know all of us. Sleepy afternoon and not much to do except hydrate and doze.

Hear from Gabe, he's 3-4 hiking days behind, we'll get together soon.

As it happens, late in the day slack hiking option is off the table, so back to the Trail in the morning.


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