Yesterday evening, I went with seven companions from the Oconee County Hiking Club in search of bears. Actually, we were pretty sure that we would see them because there has been a lot of bear activity in the area that we were headed to.
After arriving at Bad Creek Access, we needed to hike only maybe 200 yards or so along the Foothills spur trail to a wildlife meadow at the edge of the forest.
Two members of our group, Martha and her husband Melvin, had been here two days before and had seen at least eight bears. Martha had not been able to get any photos because the batteries on her camera were too low on charge. She decided to go back with fully charged batteries and she took a group of us with her.
When we hiked in, there were no bears that could be seen at first, but there was plenty of evidence of bear activity. There were several trees that had many broken tree limbs at their bases.
There was also tons of bear scat all around. I had to watch my step or I’d surely have stepped in a pile of bear poop.
It’s no wonder that there are bear in this area. There is plenty of food. The bear appear to be mostly eating the accorns.
We waited as quietly as possible at the edge of the woods and after about twenty minutes, a couple of bear cubs walked across the trail between us and the trailhead. The mama bear followed moments later.
The mama bear stopped and looked back at us. She seemed to be assessing what danger if any that we posed to her and her cubs. Although she didn’t display any aggressive behaviour towards us, I was armed with bear spray just in case.
The cubs spent most of the time climbing trees while she foraged down below.
Black bear are both beautiful and scary and I have a healthy dose of respect for them. I feel priveleged to have seen them in their natural setting.