PCT 2007 – Day 99 – Sierra City – Saddle

Day 99 7-2-07 Tarp Tent 6300′
Sierra City – Saddle after Johnsville-Gibsonville Road
30.9 (.5) miles; 1228.5 (51.5) total miles; 3084.7 trip miles
High 70’s, sunny

Deer count is 63
Marmot count is 51
Bear count is 4
Pika count is 2

!!!The Bears are on a roll. They have scored 3 points in 2 days.!!!

I slept great on the day bed in the huge apartment I shared with Trail Dog and Marmot. I got up at six and packed, but then went back to sleep since they weren’t up yet. Plus I had lots of time before the store or the post office opened.

Sierra City

We left the apartment around 8 and I, just now, realized I had my wet socks in my hand and then left them on the porch there! That is going to suck for a while. I made some calls to home and Sam; then the PO was open, so I got my boxes and gathered my goods. The store opened just a few minutes after I was done at the PO, so I went in and got some snacks for breakfast.

Sierra Butte

I walked about a half mile out of town, when a mother and son I saw at the store stopped and gave me a ride. One of their two dogs, Zero, climbed from the back seat floor onto my lap. It was pretty funny. She was a small Border Collie and reminded me of Peavey.
I hit the trail at 9:55. It climbed for 8 miles from the get go. I passed Trail Dog and Marmot on the first set of switchbacks and thanked them again for sharing their place with me. I then passed Mace filtering water. I had lunch at the junction of a trail going up to a popular lookout tower.

I descended to a paved road and got completely turned around but finally figured out where I was going. I passed some day hikers but none had seen Silver and Backtrack. I was low on water and finally got to the County-line crest saddle, where the first water in 19 miles was. I took a break there and tanked up.

I then had a short climb and then a nice easy descent to the “A” Tree at the junction of 5 roads (dirt). I had dinner here with the intention of pushing on after. Two trucks, offroading, came by during dinner. One asked me for directions, but I don’t think I was much help.

After dinner I climbed once more for 1.9 miles before a long 4.5 mile descent. I hoped Silver and Backtrack would be at the camps at the bottom. As I got to the bottom, I saw a tent which was their model. As I got closer it turned out to be a couple I met at dinner last night. They didn’t think anyone was in front of them, but I had seen Silver and Backtracks foot prints.

A very hot Scatman

I pushed on in hopes of catching them or stopping at the West Branch Nelson Creek. I’m not sure, but I seemed to miss it. I finally got water at a small stream and then just a few turns later I heard a noise. I turned to my left and there was a big bear. It was brownish and ripping at a stump just like the one yesterday. I quickly got out my camera and started taking video. At one point I thought the bear saw me; but, it just went at another log. Finally, it got my scent and moved back to where I first saw it. It was at that point, I noticed the baby climbing a tree. The mom made some noises as she moved, so she must have treed the baby. I got a whole minute of video. Once I moved, mom took off then started mooing for the baby. I recorded that too; then got out of there. I hiked a few miles more than I planned to get away from the area. It was exciting and scary (once I knew she was a mom).

I’m on a saddle and the head of my tent is inches from the trail. I hope no one comes down the trail tonight. I heard a branch break while writing this!

Hopefully, I’ll catch Silver and Backtrack tomorrow.

Scatman 2011- This day was incredibly long!  After my encounter with momma bear I wanted to get as far as way as possible.  Not to mention I was pushing myself all day trying to close down the gap between myself and Silver and Backtrack.  I was knackered by the time I laid down.  I was not comforted by the fact my head was practically on the trail either.   If you watched the video above then you know the bear totally knew I was there as she looked at me many times.  I guess since I wasn’t moving I wasn’t a threat to her and her cubs.  I can say if I knew she was a mother I wouldn’t have stuck around.

To say I didn’t practice good bear etiquette is an understatement.  I’m not sure why but when I hike for that long and I’m not the only one who thinks this, at some point you feel like somehow normal etiquette doesn’t apply.  It’s not that I think I’m smarter or too good for it, it’s more a better understanding of your surroundings.  It’s like the odd adage that what’s learned in the class room doesn’t apply at times in real life situations.  My experience up to that point told me “Bears run when they see humans”.  So somehow I felt safer in that situation.  Was I?  Hell no.  It was probably the worst situation I was in ever in the woods.  Know what to do when you see a wild animal and be smart.  The best thing is to announce yourself and you shouldn’t run into dangerous animals.  I’ll be posting something about this topic soon.

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Scatman

Get out there!

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