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RE: Bears on the Trail
>I met a thru-hiker last year while on the trail in PA that told me a
>frightening story: while in the smokies he slept with a number of other
>people in one of the fenced-in shelters. In the middle of the night, a
>bear started charging at the gate repeatedly. It lumbered away and the
>inhabitants thought they were free. Shortly, however, the inhabitants of
>the shelter heard their bear climbing on the shelter roof- one of those
>thin tin things. Around sunrise it finally left.
>I don't know how common this is, but I sure wouldn't want it happening to me.
I had the please of being in Derrick Knob shelter on one of these nights. Also, the bear was known to guard the trail to the spring. I heard that the Happy Hiker left his pack against the fence on the outside of the shelter while going to the spring. When he returned, the bear was dragging his pack away. (This happened a day or two before the Good Morning America story last May shot a New Found Gap.)
Talking to a ranger down at Peck's corner a day or so later, I was told the bear had run off when the ranger appeared...apparently the bear knew he was in trouble. Unfortunately, Wingfoot implies that the bear had to be destroyed in '96 Handbook.
When I first hiked throught the Smokys 10 years ago, I met a thru-hiker who carried his trash in a separate trashbag. He planned to throw it down if he encountered a bear.