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Hi.  I'm Lynn Setzer (aka Hikester) and am new to the Internet. I live in
Raleigh, NC, and am a techhie-turned-writer.  By now you may have already
seen my call for '96 thru-hikers, so I won't repeat it here.  

What I will say by way of introduction to anybody planning to hike the
Smokies this year is this:  in conversation with the park rangers, I
understand that they are expecting a bumper crop of bear cubs.  Last fall's
production of "hard mast" -- the term given to the acorns, seeds, etc. that
beasr typically live on -- was superb.  The net result is that female bears
are better fed than in years past and so there will be more instances of two
cubs born to the female rather than one.   Every time I've ever hiked in the
Smokies I've had up close and personal experiences with the bears, so you
can bet that I'll be keeping a watch for them!