Everyone's favorite hiker, Sharon "MamaGoose" Smith is always helping someone, hiking a trail or both. I've lost count of everywhere she's been. We've met up in Maine and Georgia.
She's thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Mountain to the Sea Trail, Benton MacKaye and more. In early August 2016, she was finishing up her thru-hike of the Pacific Coast Trail, cut short last year by forest fires.
Just after midnight Eastern time, on August 4th, MamaGoose posted on Facebook.
I've clearly made an animal mad that I am here!!! He or she is snorting and stomping around loudly!!!!!! I'm staying and that's all there is to it?
It's definitely a bear. My friend ... called and I put her on speaker phone and we yelled and I used my whistle. I don't hear her/him anymore right now. Holy [poop]!!!!!!! My heart is racing!!!!!!! This is the stuff that scares me. My food is outside about 75 feet away. She/he can take all they want!!!! Just leave me be!
Her friends prayed and gave her all the encouragement we could muster as we all waited for morning to break. We were relieved to read her update seven hours later:
I'm up and getting outa here. I was awakened about 30 min ago by snorting again. The sun can't come up fast enough this morning!!!?
Thank God, MamaGoose is safe and on her way to her next campsite. If you encountered a bear on a back trail, what would you do? Here's some advice from BearSmart.com:
Sometimes a bear that feels threatened will 'act' aggressively to defend against a perceived threat. This is often the case with a mother bear with cubs, a bear defending a food source, or a surprise encounter. The closer you are to the bear when it becomes aware of you, the more likely it is to react defensively: it may pop its jaws or swat the ground with its front paw while blowing and snorting, and/or it may lunge or "bluff charge" toward you in an attempt to get you to leave.
In this situation, the bear doesn't want to fight any more that you do. It is simply trying to communicate that you are too close. Try to appear non-threatening by remaining still and calm. Ready your bear spray by removing the safety lock. Speak in an appeasing voice and back away, increasing your distance from the bear. Leave the area immediately.
Carry bear spray, let folks know where you are, don't yield to fear and don't forget to pray.
Tags: Appalachian Trail, News, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Hiking Safety, Sharon "MamaGoose" Smith, and mamagoose and the big bad bear
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The Forest Service's Bear Necessities for safety in the woods include not leaving food outside and what to do if you encounter a bear in the woods.
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