Oh my. I was listening to a speaker at an AA meeting this morning. He had gotten a terrible night’s sleep at Hickory Run State Park, because there were so many bears. They kept him awake all night!
That cartoon above came right to mind. “So many bears!”
First of all, Black bears are EXTREMELY territorial. They will fight to keep other bears away from their area. if you see a bear, it’s likely that the next bear is miles away.
Secondly, they are VERY afraid of humans, with good reason. We are a real threat. Pretty much nothing else in North America will ever attack a bear.
Yes, you will encounter bears on the AT if you hike enough. I’ve seen dozens. All but one ran. That one held its ground at about 50 meters from me as I passed. I found out later that she was becoming to accustomed to humans. They may have to relocate her.
Now. Night time is a whole other thing. Almost all sounds are bears at night, in my head, if I’m alone. If there is one other camper, I feel safe. That other can be 60lbs and 10 years old! One of my thruhiker friends says the the best defense against the fear of bears at night, is earplugs. Earplugs!
I love the bears out there. They keep me alert. Focused. Rattlesnakes and Black Bears.
A little stress is good out there. It’s exciting! The first time you see a bear, I promise you, your pulse will rise.
You’ll get scared and then in an hour or so, you’ll wish you could see another. 😊