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Bears and Hiking Trails

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It's nice when you have a popular hiking trail all to yourself--that is until you find out why no one else is on the trail.

A couple of Sundays ago I went to church with a young couple here in the campground. After church went to lunch and then off for a hike up one of the mountains. They had found a hiking trail they had been on a few weeks earlier and they want to show me the view from the top of the mountain.

The trail was only about four miles, but it was steep. The guy had just gotten out of the marines and the girl was training for another triathlon. They were in their mid-20s, so as you can guess, the hike wasn't strenuous for them. I kept up, but I did huff and puff some.

We did see some beautiful views and especially at the lookout point at the top of the mountain. There were no waterfalls on this hike (hiking to waterfalls is one of my favorite things to do), but other than that it was a great hike.

It was a wonderful hike and it was a popular, well-worn trail, but we didn't see another hiker the whole way. That was surprising and especially for a Sunday afternoon. When we got back to the beginning of the trail we saw a sign that we had not noticed when we started out.

Here's the sign. Now we know why there were no other hikers on the trail.

I don't see how we missed that sign, but we did.

Thank goodness bears can read. I think the reason we didn't see any bears is that the bears read the sign and they knew there wouldn't be any hikers on the trail to eat.

I have seen some bears in the campground here occasionally, but that's usually only on Sunday nights. There are a lot of tent campers here on the weekends and the trash cans are not emptied until Monday mornings. That means Sunday nights are feast time for the bears. I think they have it marked on their calendars.

I lived for 20 years on Hilton Head Island and there were a lot of alligators on the island. They were on the golf courses, in yards, and on trails. Alligators and black bears are not normally aggressive, but sometimes they can be. And when they are, they can be dangerous. You just have to learn to give them their space.

Bottom line: I do a lot of hiking and the one thing I have learned from this experience is that from now on, I'm going to pay attention to signs.

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