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Bear bagging

I read a trip report today from someone who hiked the John Muir Trail in CA.
 He made numerous references to counter balancing the food bags; the bears
out west evidently have the cub chew through the rope holding the food bags.
 It sounds like they have some mighty persistent bears out there.  My
question is:  has anyone had problems this year in the East, and specifically
on the AT?   I'm planning a trip to the Smokies in Oct, and one campsite I
selected is closed due to heavy bear activity.  Should I plan to counter
balance rather than tie the rope off to the tree?  Exactly how does one
counter balance two bags?  I seem to remember reading about it somewhere but
can't remember exactly how it's done.

Marty Manzano