When A Bear Laughs In My Face For Being A Stupid Human

Start: Tyndall Creek, PCT mile 775
Stop: Kearsarge Pass Trail
16 miles
3836 ft. up, 3679 ft. down

I’m up early enough that I can eat breakfast before leaving camp. And then the climb to Forester Pass starts. I chat with Puppy part of the way up. It’s a 2200 ft., 5 mile climb which is actually quite gradual until you hit the rock wall that is Forester Pass. Incredible trail building has the trail etched into the side of the mountain. I arrive just after 10am and I’m surprised at the lack of snow. A few photos and then time to plummet to the valley floor.

Looking south through craggy Forester Pass @ 13,200 ft.

It’s my plan to camp at the Vidette Meadow bear box camp but Puppy says she’ll meet me at the trail junction. When I get to the junction, Puppy isn’t there and I don’t want to backtrack to Vidette Meadow. I’m suppose to camp at bear boxes because I didn’t carry a bear canister for this section. I push out of the canyon even though I heard there is a bear that frequents Bullfrog Lake.

Headed down the north side of Forester Pass

Sky pilot in peak bloom
Climbing out of Bubbs Creek Canyon/Vidette Meadow

I set up camp early, far above Bullfrog Lake near the PCT/Kearsarge/Charlotte Lake trail junction. I’m relaxing in my tent and at dusk a noise prompts me to look out my tent. There is Mr. Bear lumbering by, not 20 ft. away. He pauses and turns around. I shout out and he kinda nods. A nod like, Yeh I’ll be back for you later. He is not frightened by me and saunters off down the trail, to Bullfrog Lake I presume.

The adrenaline kicks in and I’m shaking. Mind. Racing. In a jumble of thoughts I know the bear will be back. I know I won’t get any sleep. Immediately I know that I must packup and get out of there. But it’s pretty much dark out. Thanks to the adrenaline I get back into my hiking clothes, breakdown camp and night hike 2 miles all in about one hour. It’s a frenzied walk as I constantly scan my surroundings for any animal attackers. Thunder rumbles above me. I occasionally clack my poles together and I’m breathing heavily so hopefully I sound like a big formidable beast barreling through the forest. 

I look for mountain lions above and behind me as my mind continues to race with my options. Should I hike all the way to Onion Valley trailhead? But that’s 7 miles and 2+ more hours of self-induced frenzy. If I’m not careful I’ll be one of those morons you read about on the internet. About 10pm I come to a granite ledge with a camping spot. I contemplate stopping as it feels that the adrenaline is wearing off and I’m slowing. I set up the bare minimum camp and leave my hiking clothes on just in case. Around 12am the big dipper starts to slip behind the mountains and I let myself fall asleep. It’s not particularly restful but the rest of the night is silent.

2 thoughts on “When A Bear Laughs In My Face For Being A Stupid Human

  1. Viewing the many breath taking photographs, I realized I was being lulled into a false sense of tranquility, followed with the impending bear report. OMG and YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep on keeping, hugs, MOM

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