6.26.2007

Beware of Bears

When we first saw the sign at the trailhead, we were a little nervous.
"Black Bear Territory"

It was posted at the trailhead followed by some tips on how to survive if you come into contact with these bears. We had driven to the Allegheny National Forest and were planning on backpacking and camping for a couple of nights. We set out, despite the warning and we disregarded the additional warning, "dogs antagonize bears. leash your dog" and let powers walk freely beside us. No one was parked at the trailhead and we wondered if they knew something we didn't.

The hike was intense. Especially with our heavy packs on our back. But it was beautiful and we enjoyed sweating profusely on the climbs and enjoying the views from uptop. We finally made it to the river and set up camp. We built a fire and cooked spaghetti on our camping stove and enjoyed sitting. We knew that we were supposed to keep our food at least 100 yards away from our tent, but we were tired and it was getting dark, so we put our food about 75 feet from our tent and got inside. As soon as the darkness settled in, we heard scurrying, and rustling, and the opening of sealed bags, and the eating of our food. We knew the first time that it was small steps, but it was stil scary. Adam put on his headlamp, knife in tote, and went to move our food a little bit further away. Five sets of fat raccoon eyes faced him as he left the tent. But some food had already been spilled by the raccoons. So all night long we heard the rustling and eating, and then it turned into heavier footsteps and growls. Bears. Good Lord. We flenched at every rustle, every noise, and I did not know that I could pray for so long. Needless to say, it was the worst night's sleep we've had in quite a while and by the time we woke up, all of our food had been eaten. They had even opened up Power's little pack, unzipped it (how??), and eaten all his dog food. Thus, our camping trip was cut short. We hiked back the next day and then drove back to our little cottage and here I am, relaying the details to you friend.

Summary: The Allegheny forest is beautiful and definitely worth saying. However, as we've now been taught, get a bear box or get some rope and chunk your food over a high branch a couple of hundred of yards away.
Also, let the record show that at 2:45 a.m., Adam Jennings said, 'if i ever say i want to go camping again, please remind me of this experience.'
Moment of weakness, I won't hold him to that.



























dry at home. glorious.

6 comments:

Lora said...

THE VERY REASON I ONLY DO DAY HIKES!

Greg said...

Very cool. http://www.ursack.com/

Melissa said...

Is this at Rimrock trail up at Allegheny? Beautiful place when the mountain laurel is out!

Jan B said...

I am originally from Erie and now live in Potter County, which is near (relatively) where you were hiking. We do have bears, rattle snakes, bob cats, and a bunch of other really wild, wild life.

When I lived in Erie, I mostly saw dogs and cats, now I see more wild things outside my window then I ever imagined.

My next door neighbor has a flock of hens and roosters. The roosters crow in the morning. I love the country.

You have a neat blog. Gives me a taste of home.

freakface said...

What up, n00bz? I saw your blog featured on the Times website today, so I thought I'd check out the thoughts of some immigrants. Even if you don't like golf you should make the trek to the Peek this weekend to scope out the Nationwide Tour being held there, because 1) It looks completely different without snow, 2) The Upper Course is absolutely beautiful, and 3) You're going to want to go there when there IS snow because you outdoorsy folks are going to want to learn to Cross Country or Downhill ski this winter (it makes the weather less horrible). Now while personally I prefer Wilderness Lodge for cross-country because I like the trails, the Peek is definitely a marvelous place to be when it's cold.

Paul said...

Glad to see you found the Allegheny NF. I go backpacking there about once a month, except in Jan. & Feb., and I'd like to recommend my favorite trail. Minister Creek trail on Route 666. It's a 7 mile loop with half of the trail on each side of the valley. There are LOTS of large rocks and even a couple of small caves just off the trail (if you can find them) and a fantastic overlook on the western side.

After 100's of camping trips, I've only seen bears twice and they were running the other way. I worry more about stepping on a rattlesnake.