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Day 107 – Attack of the Grizzly

There is something unforgettable about getting charged by a grizzly. That is what I learned today. This morning was slow to get started. I was up early, but without access to reliable internet since Eureka, I scoured East Glacier, looking for a place to research some of the burning fires and download some maps before beginning a 170 mile stretch before my next resupply. Finally at 8:30 I left town. Then it was a fight to break in my shoes. It usually takes a day before they feel comfortable on my feet, so it was a slightly rough walk to Marias Pass. I was jittery with too much caffeine, but once it wore off I was back in my element. The trail was perfect, crews have done a great job making the trail much more manageable than 2 years ago, and I was enjoying the gentle ups and down and eating all the huckleberries I could. Then something 50 feet ahead caught my eye. A grizzly pulled her head out of the brush and as she moved I saw two cubs behind her. My stomach dropped. Without a thought, she charged. Adrenaline took over, it was fight time! I will never forget that giant face and glaring eyes leading a giant body of fat and muscle. I already had grabbed my bear spray from my water bottle pocket and was slowly backing away. I was ready as I’d ever be. About 20 feet away and almost within range of my spray, she stopped, rose up on her hind legs, staring through my soul. Was this my initiation? Were we friends now? But, she eventually turned around, and ran back to her cubs. They all left the trail, crashing through the woods. I put my spray away and continued on. Half a mile later I met a horse crew and told them the story with more animation than I have ever spoke with. I earned my stripes in the wild today, and the old cowboys and their horses approved with smiles on their faces! I met more hikers in the evening and even came across Micro and her boyfriend who I met on the Pacific Crest Trail in 2016 in Chester. Being charged by a grizzly didn’t change a thing, I still skip and do cartwheels down the trail.

Miles 36

Total 3433

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