Sunday, August 24, 2008

No Surprises, Please

Kids are all situated, work is put aside, hubby has a sufficiently long honey-do list, so I am heading for the Smokies for a few days. I have a couple of cohorts joining me and we've made all kinds of ambitious plans - all subject to change, of course. I have been reading the latest bear stories on blogs by Smokies Hiker and Jeff at Hiking in the Smokys and trying to stay calm. It's no secret how nervous I am about bears. I don't mind the idea of seeing them but I don't want to surprise them (or vice versa). Who knew I would be doing this project when the "bear crop" was so good?
Still, I am very excited to be on the trails again. After so many changes in my life in the past month, I want to walk and walk and walk, and maybe think just a little. The Smokies are endlessly fascinating to me, the majestic trees, the mystery of what is around the next it a switchback? A view? A creek? A trailhead? Just, startled bears.

1 comment:

Smokies Hiker said...

Today an official spokesperson from the national park denied that another bear was shot and killed in the park. I had received 3 reports from 3 different hikers in the same day along the AT which claimed they spoke to the ranger who put down the bear. Someone has their facts wrong and I am hoping it was the hikers because I only reported what I was told.

I hike 7 days a week doing from at least 10 - 15 miles a day and I do see black bear most times I am in the backcountry. Besides the one case of a bear stalking me this month they almost always immediately run off.

Bears have had behavioral changes in the Great Smoky Mountains national park in the last few years exhibiting far more aggressiveness but I still feel safer walking in here alone than in the streets of Miami, Atlanta or Chicago. Statistics back me up.

If you don't feel comfortable with a chance encounter, check on Your Smokies main site the Great Smoky Mountains hiking trail reports to see if there has been any reported aggressive activity in the area you wish to hike in.

The Great Smoky Mountains are a great place to be anytime of the year and if you ware going to be in the wild - or even stay in a cabin at the edge of it, you need to use common sense to protect yourself and the bear.

In the depth of winter I rarely see bear or snakes so for some people this may be the best time for them to come here to enjoy the great outdoors.

Feel free to contact me if I can be of any help.

Chris Hibbard
Your Smokies - Your Smokies News