Bees and Bears

No wifi for four days now so just some stories to share from the past few days.

Hover mode engage, backup slowly. Scan targets for sweet gold, wings beating the air furiously to keep the fat... no, I shouldn't call it that... rotund body aloft. I drift over the highway and dust and loose leaves fly up into the air around me until I add some more elevation... oh look, there's some nectar. Onward... bump... I go!

We traversed the side of a mountain today and it was covered in tiny flowers. Just absolutely covered. And fortunately there were also plenty of bees and bumblebees flying around desperately looking for nectar. That one bumblebee was like a miniature helicopter as it backed up over the trail with stuff on the ground getting tossed about in the wind of its passing. It made me smile.

We dodged rain on the bald and then had lunch sitting in the sun in a parking lot beside the trail. Further up the really tall mountain we saw our first glimpse of the wild ponies near Grayson Highlands and shortly after that we found a rotund bunny who didn't seem to mind us standing 15 feet away. Now we've reached the shelter and I'm terribly hungry but that's pretty usual for me. Good thing my food bag still weighs close to 12 pounds.

The next day was gorgeous: sunny and clear as we passed the 500 mile mark and got to see, meet, and even pet a bunch of the wild ponies. Then the clouds rolled in and next we knew it was a downpour of epic proportions. We got to Hurricane Mountain shelter and noticed several comments in the log about bears in the area that managed to get some hiker's bear bags so we all made sure our bags were hung super duper well... or so we thought. It was still somewhat light out when we heard the first branch break and we all rushed out of the shelter to see a bear tearing into a food bag that was now on the ground. We chased it off but not before it did some serious damage and it managed to carry off one of the smaller ziplocks full of food.

After that it was an "exciting" night of trying to chase the bear away. We tried yelling, throwing things, even singing happy birthday but nothing worked. We didn't dare get too close and the bear would mostly ignore us until we started getting too close so... it ended up getting a lot of food that night. We filed the report with the ATC and hopefully a bear box or at least bear cables will be installed soon but until then I don't recommend anyone try to stay there. Needless to say, I don't think any of us slept well. I really wanted to see a wild bear but now I think I've seen enough of them.

Oh, you're still waiting to know if my food bag became a bear dinner? No, I'm safe this time. It really sucks for the hikers that did though. I don't think any of us hung our bags poorly; that was just one smart bear.

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