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I enjoy doing fun things outdoors. Family adventures, hunting, fishing, hiking, photography, 4 wheeling, etc. Get out there and enjoy ... NOTE: IF YOU CLICK ON MY PHOTOS IN THE BLOG POST THEY WILL BECOME LARGER.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Vermont Hike - Bear In The Woods

In 1983 I was introduced to a group of guys that liked hunting and fishing. We called our group "Sportsman's Fellowship". We started out hunting, fishing, and having Bible studies together. Over the years we have become the best of friends. Some of our group have come and gone because of jobs, moving, etc. but our core group hasn't changed. Our siblings were also included at a very young age and some are now adults carrying on the hunting and fishing traditions. Years ago we thought we would have a wild game dinner with bear, venison, caribou, salmon, trout, etc. Great idea but a bit unprepared when 95 guys showed up. Needless to say we ran out of everything.

We have loads of stories about our experiences in camp, in the woods, on the water, and on the ice.

Here is a true Doug story.

A few years ago there were several of us staying in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. We were scouting for deer season.

Doug decided he was going to hike to the top of Gore Mountain just north of Island Pond. I do believe there is a trail to the top that is 4 miles or so but Doug wasn't going to take the trail.
Gore Mountain is one of the highest mountains in the Northeast Kingdom at 3,330 feet. Coming from Rt. 114 (around 1350 feet) it's a steep climb. If you hike to the back side it is a bit easier but much longer.  Doug is pretty strong and in good shape.  I remember Doug helped Pam and I move to a condo. I was in the condo and heard a loud bang. It was Doug. He had taken our queen size pull out couch, mattress and all, off of the truck and proceeded to carry it on his back to the second floor by himself. He got hung up in the stairwell going through the door hence the bang.

Anyway, anyone who knows Doug will tell you he can cover more distance, rough terrain, and hills than most men in a very short amount of time. (i.e. South Rim of the Grand Canyon to Phantom Ranch and back in 6 hours.)

It was raining on the Saturday he asked me to hike Gore with him. With bad memories of past hikes and having good common sense I declined. Rain + a steep climb + a long distance + a very fast pace + average conditioning on my part + DOUG = A BAD EXPERIENCE. I dropped him off on Rt. 114 for his climb.

Doug said he hiked for a long time and stopped at one point as the rain let up. He said "I was tired!" This meant I would have been hobbling a half mile back most likely trying to get back to Rt. 114 and probably lost (pre GPS).

Because of the rain, walking was very quiet in the woods. As he stood there he heard a noise Shhhhhh ... Shhhhhhhhh ... Shhhhhh ... Shhhhhhh ... He looked around and thought "What in the world is that noise" ... Just then he caught a quick glimpse of black in the corner of his eye. He turned and saw a black bear run straight away from him crashing through the brush.

It was black bear season but it happened so fast Doug said his .44 pistol (named Bertha) never cleared his holster.

It turned out Doug stopped in the middle of a beechnut grove. Doug didn't realize it but there was a black bear up in a beechnut tree eating beechnuts. Because of the rain the bear didn't smell or hear Doug walking. As he rested the bear must have spotted or smelled him and became nervous. The Shhhhhhhhh ... Shhhhhhhh ... noise was the sound of the bear sliding down the tree to escape. 

I took a picture of this beechnut tree with bear claw marks on it when I was hunting.  It's one of my favorite trees in the woods.

Doug continued to the top then down again to Rt. 114. I got a call to pick him up. He was so hungry we headed straight to the store for some food.

A black bears senses are so good they typically smell or hear a person coming and move off. The odds of seeing a bear in the woods is rare. The odds of keeping up with Doug on a hike is also rare.

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