I woke up relatively early considering our impromptu parking lot soirée. I did a nice bit of Yogiing with the motel proprietress to get a ride the mile and and half to the trail head. To “Yogi”, in hiker parlance, is to exaggerate the weight of your pack, preferably with a pronounced limp, in order to get a ride or free food. In this case, I “asked” for directions after some well placed compliments and a grand display of the weight of pack and a sprinkling of painful grimace when slinging pack. Bam! Ride to the trail head.
The weather was awesome and the hiking pretty level. After one sizable climb, I hiked on top of a ridge line for almost ten miles. On the flat ridge line I was really moving– which caused me to pay extra attention to my footing. I was flying when I looked up suddenly and there was a monster black bear ten feet off the trail and 30 feet in front of me. We both stopped suddenly and stared at each other before he ambled out on the trail in front of me, stopped, and looked over his shoulder at me. I just about shit my pants– I was close enough I could have thrown my pole at him. I raised my arms up to make myself bigger like you’re supposed to and he just turned away and kept walking. Holy shit! He was huge. I just stood there a minute to make sure he was really gone.
I hiked the rest of the afternoon and evening and by dusk I was having trouble finding a camping spot. I finally found one at 830 and quickly set things up while there was still light. 22 miles and losing my bear virginity, not a bad day. Happy trails.