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The Bear Story
George Li

It was late in the night when I finished my trip and back to the campsite, I was doing a backpacking trip in the Adirondacks of New York State.  I finished unpacking, and went to sleep inside my tent. As dawn was just breaking into a fade morning light, I heard a loud crack of a branch, and then a big loud sound of BOOM, something had fallen down, may be a big tree limb. I was awaken, then I heard the sound of someone passed by, and then suddenly a loud crack of a  tree limb and immediately the sound of my food bag landing on the ground, with a big BOOM. Now I was awake, without doubt I knew that I was visited by a bear.

Hurriedly I put on my boots and unzip the tent door, the light was still dim and about 25 feet away the three food bags laid on the ground, I had put my food into 2 separate bags, and the other had all the garbage of the past three days. As I look across the path towards the Creek I can see a huge black bear,about the size of three of me, over 300 pounds and it stands taller than me.

Without a thought I grab my walking stick and went for the bear, my thought was that if it ate all my food, my 5 day trip will end at today. The black bear had taken the left over food from yesterday, and it was eating the candies, peanuts and noodles. I grab the remaining bag on the ground and took a few more steps towards the bear, yelling at it and tell it to go away. As I was yelling I immediately realized how stupid I was, with food in my hand, I become a target to the bear again. Quickly I back off and put the food bag at a distance and came back to try to scare the bear away. As I was approaching the bear, it got annoyed and take two steps towards me, as if to say, now what do you want to do with me? I backed off, cursing the bear, and went for the next camper that tented about 100 feet from me. Three guys get out and I told them: “Bear! and it took my food bag”  They get out of their tent and went for the bear, not to scare it but they want to take a picture with it. I could not believe my eyes, but these guys never thought that the bear was a pest but something that was part of their wilderness experience. The bear took off after the flash light was shot, I guessed that it did not like to be included in their pictures.

As I picked up my belongings I was glad that I still had food for two days. I went over to the Lean-to where a troop of girl scouts were staying. One of the girls said, “The bear must be sick because it eat all my candy.” The other said,” It took all my M&M”. I saw a few oranges still lying on the ground, seemed the bear favors sweet to sour. And the whole group only had a few oranges to spare with them. I ask their leader was it O.K.? She said they were going to leave today anyway, but this event really shook them bad. Imagine getting up in the morning without the cereals and breakfast bars.

I went over to the trail and follow the bear, as it cross the creek and went up to the Marcy Dam it left a big pile of shit right on the trail, and you could see a big power bar, wrapping and all, twisted but mostly still intact, that went inside the bear's stomach, and was dumped right on the side of the track. I was amazed. In hind sight, I learnt that the food bags that I rigged on the tree branch was too closed to the tree trunk. To be effective, the bags had to be at least 10 feet from the tree, preferably let the line rest on a sturdy Y, not on a flimsy branch that is easy to break, and 15 feet above ground. The rationale is that if the bear can see it next to a branch and within its paws reach, it will climb up the tree and lay its hand on it, because it is within its reach. But if it sees the bag suspended overhead and is not reachable, it will go for something easier than that. Believe me, a tour around the camp, there were lots of hosts for the bear breakfast party.

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