Day 80: Hike By a Bear Like You Just Don’t Care

Started: Tentsite (1168.5)

Ended: Milton Creek (1190.7)

Total Miles: 22.2

Achievements: Hike By a Bear Like You Just Don’t Care

Like a good solo hiker, I set my alarm for 5 a.m. with a plan to be on trail by 5:30.

The alarm went off. I hit snooze.

The snooze went off. I turned off the alarm and rolled over. So much for being a good solo hiker.

I watched an amazing sunrise from in my tent all warm and comfortable. I had breakfast in bed. Two Clif Bars and some natural spring water.

Properly fed and only slightly more motivated, I got up at 6:30 and was on trail by 7.

Another advantage of hiking solo is sleeping in

Looking at the map, the best campsite before town was 22.2 miles away. It puts me just 4.7 miles from Sierra City. I said to myself that the old fat thru-hiker I was couldn’t do that. I’m not the old fat thru-hiker anymore. I’m the old, just nine pounds overweight hiker. Probably less that nine pounds now. I can do that, even though I slept in. I turned on some fast music and went to work.

Sometime around nine, a hiking couple ran to a bear just off trail. They backed up and were walking off trail giving the bear plenty of space. The bear was grazing just 20 yards off trail.

Oblivious to both the bear and the hikers calling me, I just cruised. According to the couple, the bear stopped eating and just watched as I walked by. I’m sure I left the bear flabbergasted or maybe demoralized. He’s going to need to see a bear psychologist.

“I don’t know doc, Normally hikers panic in my presence, but then this old, fat backpacker just walks right by me. I know I should eat him, but he clearly doesn’t care about the dangers of the wilderness. I was afraid that if I hunted him, I’d end up dinner. I think I’ve lost my edge.”

I reached the campsite at 5:30. My left ankle held up well. When the time comes, which is soon, 20 to 25 miles will be easy peasy.

I finished this span one day ahead of schedule. I’m supposed to zero in Sierra City, but I’ll skip that. I’m seven days behind schedule. This will reduce that to five days.

I’m watching the clock.

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