13 Aug Day 114 – Danger. Bear!
At mile 2588.8. Hiked 16.8 miles today.
I had to wait until 10 am for the Post Office to open. My resupply arrived okay, but the postal service lost my bounce box. I’ll continue to ask them to look for it, but I don’t need it for now. The box has warm clothing and the weather hasn’t turned cold yet. In fact, it is very hot here near the Canadian border.
(Months later after a number of phone calls and reporting to the USPS, I finally received the bounce box at my home in Roswell, GA. It turned out that I had sent it to Skykomish, not Stehekin.)
I had to wait until 11:30 am for the shuttle departing Stehekin for the trail. Along the way, the shuttle stopped at the renowned Stehekin Pastry Company. Hikers poured out of the bus to stock up on calories. They purchased loads of their favorite pastries. I split a giant sticky bun with Cache22. With the late start, we weren’t on the trail until 12:30 pm. The bus was pretty well loaded with PCT hikers because, like me, others had been waiting for packages on the Monday morning opening of the post office. This created a surge or mini-bubble of hikers as soon as we all hit the trail. I was one of the last off the bus, but I set out at a fast pace on the uphill climb. It wasn’t long before I moved beyond the crowd.
The famous Stehekin Bakery.
I continued hiking well out in front of nearly everyone until I came across a bear grazing on blueberries. I was able to take plenty of photos because he didn’t move away. That was good and bad because after taking all the photos I wanted, I realized that the bear was uncomfortably close to the trail I needed to walk. I shouted at him to get him to move on. Instead of running away as I expected, he moved a little closer and mounted a boulder overlooking my position. At that point, a little shaken, I backed away until I was out of his sight. Only a few minutes earlier Space Jam had caught up with me and had been following only 30 yards behind. Where was he now? Where was Space Jam when you needed him? I finally turned around and began walking south in search of reinforcements when Space Jam and Ron came walking up. They asked why I was walking the wrong way. I told them about the bear. Together, we walked back to the bear. After the bear realized he was outnumbered, but particularly after Space Jam bravely went first, the bear reluctantly moved a little further away from the trail allowing us to pass without incident.
Here are a few photos of this bear.