Day 71: Bubbles Bags Her Bear

Started: Sherald Lake (1049.0)

Ended: Lost Lakes (1069.7)

Total Miles: 20.7

Achievements: Bear Encounter

I have been joking with Bubbles about her desire to encounter a bear in the wild. Looking into her eyes, she really wanted to encounter a bear. Well, today she had her wish.

I like hiking with Nap and Bubbles. We start the day with breakfast where we discuss the plan. We set three goals, a primary goal, an optimal goal, and a stretch goal. Our primary goal this section is 15 miles. Our optimal goal was 18.2. Our stretch goal was Lost Lakes.

As we move closer to Northern California, the climbs are getting much shorter. As that happens, we can hike farther. The climbs exhaust you.

We are making good time. At 2 p.m., Nap stops the group. A cub crossed the trail about 20 yards ahead. As soon as we stop, the Momma beat rises about 50 yards away! You do not mess with a Momma bear. They are notorious for their lack of a sense of humor. We back up, continuing to face her.

After they disappear into the forest, we advanced. We added a number of other hikers. As we walked, we talked loudly, so not to surprise them.

It doesn’t matter what you say. I said things like, “If you’re going to eat one of us, eat one of the younger ones here. They are more tender. I’m going to taste like an old baseball glove and be just as chewy.”

I am happy to say that this was a textbook example of a safe bear encounter. Everyone knew what to do.

When we got to our optimal target of 18.2 miles, the water source was dry. We had no choice but hike to Lost Lakes. It is a beautiful place to camp, and will make a shorter day tomorrow.

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