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Intense Standoff - Marshall 7/9/2019

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  • Intense Standoff - Marshall 7/9/2019

    I guess that I could write about every observation, the little things that went wrong and the things that went right at Marshall... But, why when I have a story like this?

    We were heading out of the woods after a long but really fun climb of Marshall. I turned a corner in the vicinity of Scott's Lean-to.

    (OH SH--!)

    I had startled him and he certainly startled me. He looked to be about 600 lbs with dark black fur and a white snout.

    "Hey, you gotta get outta here!"

    He stared me up and down from 20 feet away. I could see every detail of his face and I know he saw mine. My safety wasn't my primary concern. But, Kailee's was. She was about 20 feet behind me.

    "Kailee, I really need you to do me a favor. Stop and stay still."
    She listened and did as asked.

    I began clapping and shouting more "You gotta get out of here's."
    He wasn't having it and began pounding the ground with his massive paw, huffing and puffing while blowing ursine snot-rockets.

    "You have got to go!'

    He bluff charged.
    (f---, f---, f---, f---, I'm dead... This is it. This is how I'm gonna go down).
    I clapped a few more times,
    "Dude, you've gotta get going!"
    He didn't want to leave. This was his play space... not mine.
    He began pounding the ground again continued puffing snot-rockets.

    It was a full blown standoff.

    I continued clapping and yelling at him and he continued his routine for about five minutes.
    When he finally walked away, he moved at a painstakingly slower than syrup pace... He proved his point. He was walking away from the fight. Not running away from it. He obviously would've won. The monster continued making noise and threw in a final bluff charge which sent an incredible shot of adrenaline through my veins.
    I watched until he was far out of sight. And, then watched some more. At this point Kailee joined in on the yelling and we were quickly riding the adrenaline wave and yelling all about it to each other.

    The whole experience was an extreme rush of emotions all at once: Concern for Kailee, concern for myself, pure amazement, being terrified, unadulterated & unfiltered adrenaline, and "is this my last thought?"

    Once the area seemed totally clear, we resumed our walk and continued to yell about how "crazy" that was. I kept an eye over my shoulder the rest of the night.

    I asked her if she actually saw the bear.
    "No. To be honest, I'm glad that I didn't."
    I am too. She composed herself perfectly in a scary situation. Very proud of her.

    I'm very thankful to the tremendous bear for getting "out of here," so that we could "Get out of here."
    It was his choice to walk on... Not mine.

    No. I don't have a picture of the bear. I'm not that freaking crazy.

    Mount Marshall.
    MacIntyre Range Completed.

  • #2

    Kailee is gonna have the best "What I did this summer" story for the first day of school this year.


    • #3
      Wow indeed.

      FYI, I too ran into a behemoth 600-lb. black bear. It was near the summit of Nippletop. There were 4 of us, and he eventually sauntered off the ridge.

      Later on, I talked to someone who had analyzed his footprint. It was a juvenile, probably 175 lb. HAHAHAHA (true story)
      ADK 46/46W + MacNaughton, Grid 277/552
      Photos & Stuff


      • Learning The Trails
        Learning The Trails commented
        Editing a comment
        Ha. I've had a number of run ins with bears through the years without the kiddo... I scared one off as recent as last week while camping in the Western ADK. This one in Indian Pass was the biggest I've encountered. And, the first to go through the full stomp, huff & bluff routine.

    • #4
      jesus f'ing christ dude! i'm glad you're both ok!

      i always say i'd rather run into a bear on a trail in the daylight than be startled awake by one in the middle of the night, but i don't mean being 20 feet away from one that won't budge!


      • #5
        Great story - Thanks for posting it. It's encounters like that, that put the WILD in the wilderness!


        • #6
          so....what's your guys' most memorable peak so far then? lol.
          sounds like my check-my-drawers-after-20-ft encounter with the lake colden big guy last summer when I came around a blind corner and smelled him before I saw him.
          We have to remember though, it is their home first and we are just visitors. Doesn't make encounters like that any easier. Hopefully hikers are being more careful with food and stuff, so new generations aren't as brazen or bold as some of these big guys that have gotten food thrown at them when they do their show, or have been otherwise habituated to humans.
          35er #3133
          46er #11779

          "Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds"


        • #7
          "bluff charged"?????? Yeah, that would have given me a heart attack for sure. Nice job!!

          I met a small bear in the woods last year at night about a mile from the JBL. We were also about 20' or so apart. I was so terrified it took me at least a minute or two to be able to form words. The difference in my case was that the bear knew I was there before I saw him and he was just hanging out watching the headlamp bounce down the trail. Kept looking over my shoulder every few yards the rest of the way to the JBL.
          Me - 41/46
          Mrs - 17/46

          A trail without mud is like a day without sunshine.


          • Learning The Trails
            Learning The Trails commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you. The two bluffs were - by far the worst part.

            I remember your TR! After you have an encounter like that, you definitely keep an eye over the shoulder!

        • #8
          This is when you wished you had brown pants... You sir have now achieved superdad status.


          • Learning The Trails
            Learning The Trails commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you very much for the "Superdad" compliment.
            I was wearing tan shorts... And, no joke I tore a hole in the crotch climbing down the Marshall herd path... With the proper wiggling - maybe a hideous poop mess could've been avoided... LOL!

        • #9
          Wow great story! However, I wonder about one thing. Why did you not back down? Do you think this would have been less of a standoff if you had backed slowly away, rather than standing your ground?

          Anyway, glad all was resolved safely in the end. Definitely you and Kailee got a good story out of this hike!


          • Learning The Trails
            Learning The Trails commented
            Editing a comment
            I would've been backing "up" a hill on tired and nervous legs.
            Previous encounters, I've stood firm and told the bears to get lost and they usually scamper right away.

        • #10
          Yeah, I would agree with ideally backing out of there. Also, I've never seen a black bear with a white snout. Could he be rabid, as in foaming at the snout?
          I might be kidding...


          • Learning The Trails
            Learning The Trails commented
            Editing a comment
            Likely a very light tan snout with some (or a lot of) gray in there... Middle aged men don't like to talk about that.
            After 7PM, it's white. Very white :O.

        • #11
          LTT, you're going to become a legend.


          • Makwa
            Makwa commented
            Editing a comment
            But hopefully not like Legends of the Fall.

          • Learning The Trails
            Learning The Trails commented
            Editing a comment
            Haha! Thank you Dennis! Love your Dix wilderness bushwhack TR's. Can't wait to try a little of that some day!

        • #12
          LTT, that's extremely solid work. I bet you were ready to throw down at full power, with the baby girl there. Maximum adrenaline. (I think that's actually good for you, periodically.)

          Great story. Thanks!


          • Learning The Trails
            Learning The Trails commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks TCD. Her safety was the number one concern. I had the adrenaline rush still running strong well after we got home.
            I need to include this tidbit to my TR when I add it to my blog... But, I think you'll enjoy it as you like the Hammond Pond WF.

            Four years ago when I was taking Kailee on her first camping trip at Sharp Bridge she said
            "We might see monkeys!!!"
            "No," I replied "We won't see any monkeys."
            "But, it's a jungle!"
            "It's not a jungle. It's a forest. But, we might see bears!"
            Pure terror encompassed her face. Tears started falling...
            "Dude, don't worry! You've got a Dad with you! Bears don't wanna mess with a Dad!"
            I repeated that until she was calm.

            After our Indian Pass Bear encounter, I recalled the story to her.

            "See? Tonight, Dad delivered on his promise."

        • #13
          I am not even gonna tell my wife about this.
          Leave No Trace!


          • Learning The Trails
            Learning The Trails commented
            Editing a comment
            I want to like this comment at least two more times.