Day 78: Finally Bear Sightings!

July 27th, 2021

Mile Marker: 1610.4

Miles Hiked Today: 29

During the night it actually started to rain and pitter patter on our tents. It was a pleasant surprise as I adore sleeping in the rain. It made waking up rather difficult though as the clouds lingered and made the morning darker than usual.

After about 4ish miles I walked up to Journey signaling to me to be quiet and then some kind of big gesture that I decided meant “There is a bear”.

I slowly walked toward him and he pointed out the small black bear scratching at a tree totally in the zone. We stood watching him for about 5 minutes. He walked along and didn’t notice us for what felt like a long time. I was ecstatic. Finally!! I felt like there were no bears on this trail as I kept not seeing them.

It was also enjoyable to watch as he moved about doing his own thing. After the 5 minutes though, the bear was walking along and then suddenly paused, slowly moved his head and looked right at me, and then turned the opposite way and beelined down the mountain faster than I thought a bear could run.

It was obvious that he didn’t realize we were there staring at him and obvious that he was terrified as he ran off. I had almost felt bad for startling him. 😂

We spent the morning moving quickly and taking short breaks since we had 18 miles to get into the town of Etna.

I had also called a trail angel to meet us at the trailhead to take us into town and we did not want to miss her as we had heard getting a hitch would be difficult.

The last 4 miles or so were a nice decent down to the parking lot and for the last mile and half, I went from my grandma shuffle to an almost full out sprint. Before I took off, I turned around and smiled at Journey wondering if he would follow suit too.

I didn’t look behind me after I took off and then had to slow down to let a group of hikers pass and once they did I was startled as I heard Journey say “That was a big group!” I let out a shriek and then ran even faster.

I felt like a kid playing tag flying down a mountain. I had a grin on my face the whole time and sometimes even extended my arms out like I was flying.

It just felt so good to be literally sprinting down the mountain.

We made it just in time to the trail angels SUV and immediately got in and headed to town.

The plan was to get in, grab my package, resupply, charge electronics, and head back out.

Of course first was to get a meal. Etna, California is a tiny town with only a couple restaurants and stores. We went to a place called Dottys for lunch. I was weary to get a burger so I ordered a chicken sandwich and milkshake instead.

I also got a full resupply from my Grandma and Aunt Debbie!! Thank you so much!! It was just perfect!

We finished up our chores and sat for a little bit at the library charging our electronics.

Around 5 we were ready to get back to the trail and ran into a woman named Trail Bunny. We had met her many times previously as she is supporting her husband along the way as he hikes the PCT.

She also helps out many many other hikers with rides etc. which is what she did for us!

We couldn’t have gotten any luckier. Many thanks to her for being such a wonderful trail angel!

We hiked into the evening to shave off more miles and after hiking about 7 miles we saw a cute, fluffy cinnamon bear running down the mountain. It yet again heard us and took off terrified so I was only able to watch it for a short time before it had disappeared.

Why are bears so cute looking?!

We reached the campsite we originally wanted to stay at but quickly realized that wasn’t going to happen as all the camp spots were taken. This wasn’t the worst since we had already contemplated hiking more into the night.

We hiked 3 more miles and witnessed another gorgeous sunset and made it to camp a little after 9.

We quietly set up as there was one other person present and quickly ate our dinners and got in our tents.

I’m so excited to see what the trail offers us tomorrow!

Iz and Oz

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