Two brothers, a friend, and the bear

The day started off in a monumental way, gear resupplied, full bellies, and sun. We caught the shuttle back to Addis gap and this is when our day started do take its turn into the adventure we had.  Just a few hundred yards up the service road, a tree had fallen across the road and made it impassible.  We’ll guys let’s get our gear and start legging it.  High spirits, we walked and talked not really paying attention to our surroundings until I spotted something.  I yelled for everyone to stop moving.
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They turned to me and I pointed out the very fresh, large bear tracks in the ground.  I went on instant high alert, my training took over from there.  Kevin and mantis took in line behind me as we walked slowly.  I asked them to just talk about anything loudly incase we were coming around a blind corner on him.  Each corner or water source we approached with extreme caution.  Finding more signs of the bear, fresh steaming scat, we followed the road with extreme caution. His gait was about three feet and his paws were as big as my hand.  He wasn’t a small bear, but even a 180 lb bear can do some damage.  Unfortunately his tracks were in the direction we were headed back to the trail head.  His tracks followed the road for a about a mile before disappearing into the woods on the left.
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We remained on high alert forth next half a mile or so.  Since the tree had fallen across the road we had about a three mile hike in up hill with no flat areas.  By the time we reached Addis gap I was tired.  Great another mile up hill with no breaks in terrain eigher.  This was the longest uphill we’d faced Ina while.  All the other mountains were easier in comparison than Kelly Nob.  My physical stamina was draining and Kevin’s emotional stamina was too.  upon reaching the top I felt refreshed and re-energized, at least enough to snap a photo before it started to trickle out.  The rain fell lightly as we mud skied down the nob, sliding all the way down the mile descent.

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Today was proving to be one of my low days.  Full from the good food, I felt heavy and tired.  We had done almost 30 miles the past two days, I wasn’t ready to do another ten to fifteen today.  I just wanted to get to Dick’s Creek Gap and fast.  We trudged through the foot of mud soaked trail up hil only to have to skirt and slide down the back of the hills.  This went on and on over the next few miles. With no flat ground in store for us each uphill and downhill sucked my energy out of me.  My feet grew heavy and so did my muscles with each step.  The only thing that kept us going was getting out of the weather and sleeping safe and sound tonight. 

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Hitting our final downhill or so we thought, went on for about two miles.  Down, down, down we slid, ran, inched and treaded carefully over the mud soaked terrain.  It was almost impossible to escape the mud and water soaked trail today.  Then we heard it, our salvation, the unmistakable sound of a car driving down a road. Good god,thank you, thank you, excited, jubilation came over me.  Today was over and we could camp, eat and put this long day behind us.  Kevin and I settled on the hostel and decided the comfort of others was needed  to heal our spirits and refresh our bodies.

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