Dan and Jason and I hiked the Wildwood Trail in Forest Park from Germantown Road to the Portland Zoo. We rolled along pretty well until the very last part of the hike. At about 3 miles from the end of the trail we all slowed down just a wee bit. Overall, it was a good training hike for the Wonderland Trail. We got through the mental barrier of doing 25 miles in a day even if we had virtually no elevation gain.
As in, I saw one today from less than 20 yards away. (Please note the invisible and numerous exclamation points on the end of that sentence.)
I did a quick overnight backpack trip this weekend. (I'll try to post maps and a trip report later). And I'm rolling along this morning on the Eagle Creek trail. It's not the touristy and well travelled part of the trail though. This is the section of trail used to connect to the Pacific Crest Trail or to go to Wahtum Lake the hard way.
So this section of trail gets a little less traffic than the part with all the pretty waterfalls. It's pretty bushy. Almost overgrown. Very pretty and a little wild. As I was about to see.
I'm rolling along (like I said) at a good pace and come around this bend on the trail. Not 50 feet away something cracks some branches in the underbrush. I look over and see black fur cavorting around. I think "Someone brought their dog out pretty far." And I start to lift my eyes to scan for the owner.
My eyes never get up the the trail. I'm already whispering "oh shit" as my eyes swing back and confirm that I'm looking at a bear.
That doesn't know I'm there.
I turn around and walk five paces back up the trail before I remember that you never run or retreat from black bears. So I spin around again and lift up my trekking poles (to make me look bigger) and I say "Hello bear!"
He musta been pretty startled. It took him (or her) about 15 seconds to cross the drainage and go up and over the lip on the other side. He might still be running, he took off so fast.
So. I'm glad I remebered the right approach for an encounter with a black bear. I'm glad outdoor magazines publish those articles about once a year.
But mostly I'm glad that a black bear's initial response to surprise is to run away.
Oh, and it's really freakin' cool that I saw a real live wild bear today.
I can get up early on July 4th. Drive out to Mt Hood. Hike for an hour and 45 minutes with my snowboard. Strap into my snowboard. Ride down a groomed slope for 20 minutes. Unstrap from my snowboard. Hop in the car and go to a cabin by the river and swill beer all afternoon.
If you know me “in real life” then you will already know the following facts. I am a Registered Nurse (and wow, did that take a long time!); I used to fix Macintosh computers for a living; I’m a raging, raving “pinko-commie” liberal; I live in Portland, Oregon and love it here in the Northwest.
Oh, and I have the most fabulous daughter on the planet.
My main off-work focus right now involves finding new adventures. For a while I was obsessed with motorcycles. Then I went to mountains with great ardor; rock climbing, mountain climbing, snowboarding. I'm feeling transitional now. I might start swimming again. Maybe backpacking more this summer.