Sat, Jun 12 2021 - Backpack to Stratton Bald in Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Grant Brown, Todd M
Participants:Grant Brown, Todd M, Armin, Marty E

Write Up:

We had an amazing stay up on the bald.  The summer vegetation and wildlife activity were in full force.  The ranger had reported significant bear activity in the area and we were not disappointed!  We got to see the largest and smallest bears we had ever seen.  On the drive up we encountered a young bear mother crossing the road with her two very small cubs who could barely get their heads above the deep grass.  Then, on the bald we heard yelling and a very large bear was trying to take food from a neighboring campsite.  It was a group of young people some of which had never backpacked before.  They didn't have bear spray so we walked over and helped them as they chose to move their camp out into the open space.  A short time later this big guy came back over to our area and was smelling for our food from a distance.  Yelling at him was not intimidating him.  He was probably pretty old and had encountered humans many times.  We estimated him to be in the 400 lb range [see photo link below].  We sprayed some bear spray in his direction and he ran away immediately and we never saw him again.  It was by far the highlight of our trip we all agreed.  They are such beautiful animals.  This one was non-aggressive but very stubborn and unafraid of humans.  After the hike out we stopped by Teliocafe for a great roadhouse-style meal.  Until next time!