Bear Commotion


Two more days of hiking saw us past the end of Shenandoah National Park, and to a campsite where, as I sat cooking dinner, an older bear cub came running over the ridge headed straight for us taking one look at us and realizing maybe he should run straight through our campsite he quickly changed course and sprinted over the ridge in a different direction. Needless to say we were extra careful in making sure we got all of our food and trash into our bear bags. The rest of the night was uneventful, and we were glad to have had an adorable bear experience and not the unsavory issue of being left without food.
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Shenandoah National Park, Bears, Slackpacking, and Good Friends

View in the Shenandoahs

We saw our first bear! We were hiking quickly to get to our campground for the evening because a thundercloud was rolling in, when we startled a bear cub that was sitting next to the trail. It took off too fast for us to get a picture, but with no mama bear in sight we decided it was best to get moving. So we spent the next ten minutes or so walking as fast as we could up an incline while talking loudly. Nothing bothered us, so I suppose our shortness of breath was worth it. Continue reading

The Grayson Highlands


white mountain

While we have yet to see any bear, we knew our chances to see our largest wildlife yet would be pretty good just a couple days out of Damascus as we hit Grayson Highlands State Park. The park is open meadow and rolling hills with herds of wild ponies that roam the area. We were headed to a shelter for lunch when we passed over a hill and saw a pony walking slowly towards us along the trail, eating the tall grass beside the path. We were careful to be quiet and not disturb it as we took out our camera to take pictures before moving on to the shelter. The pony showed little interest in us and even less fear at our presence, but we didn’t know how little fear the ponies had of people until later that day. Continue reading

An AT Pandemic, Forest Fires, and A Lost Dog

early spring landscape

We’ve been hearing rumors and reports from many people about a lot of hikers getting sick with the same virus – the symptoms being described to us by those that got sick as “the worst case of food poisoning in my life.” Rumors abound in this sort of situation, and we have to pick through them to the most credible information, but the likeliest scenario is that someone picked up this virus and hiked into one of the shelters before developing the symptoms. Then they got sick, passing it on to others at the shelter who hiked a day before getting sick, and thereby spreading it on to other shelters. The word is that it goes from Hot Springs up to Damascus. Continue reading