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.