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Most memorable trip-Bear at Spence Field (fwd)

Pete Fornof recently posted this message on the AT page and I thought I'd 
forward it to the list.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 7 Oct 1995 18:24:45 -0500
From: HyperNews@union.ncsa.uiuc.edu
To: HyperNews@union.ncsa.uiuc.edu
Subject: Most memorable trip-Bear at Spence Field

  ***[HyperNews notification.  Email replies are not archived.]***

On a week-long trip of the AT in the Smokies, I had a rather scary
encounter with a trailwise bear at Spence Field. After a long hike, I
was dreaming about getting to the shelter, kicking off my shoes, and
relaxing. My feet hurt and I was tired. About 1/2 mile from the shelter,
I was stopped by some northbound hikers who warned me of a marauding
bear at Spence Field. Well, I sort of took this with a grain of salt
because you hear this type of thing all the time on the trail; dire
warnings about bears, snakes, rednecks, etc. I duly thanked these people
and was on my way. I just wanted to get to the shelter and off my feet.
As I entered the clearing I was startled to hear, "Run, she's behind
you!" I looked around and old bruin was just getting into a gallop about
50 feet behind me. I beelined to the shelter but low and behold, the
bear fence door was padlocked! Several hikers were perched on top of the
shelter and were shouting encouragement for me to run like hell. I did,
all the time trying to extricate myself from my 45lb. pack! The bear was
gaining and letting out the occasional "wuf". I finally got my pack off,
tossed it to the hikers on the roof (I strained myself doing that) and
made a giant leap and was unceremoniously pulled up. The bear was inches
from me. Whew! I made it. Eventually, the bear was chased off by the
trail crew that had locked the shelter. Of course, they returned hours
later. At the time, this whole adventure wasn't much fun, but looking
back, I view it as one of my most memorable.

Pete Fornof