As I write this article and reflect on experiences close to the 4000 mile marker hiking the Quabbin Woods. The last two weeks have seen a first time blunder and last weekend a bear approached me in the twilight of dawn. Both will be most memorable in this hiking journey
Several weeks ago, while bushwhacking I was starting to overheat so I stopped took my vest then rolled it up and stuffed it in the large open pocket on the outside of my pack. The corner of this pocket is where my bear spray is stored. Sometime while bushwhacking the plastic wedge that prevents the plunger on the bear spray from be pushed fell out. While stuffing my vest into the pocket it triggered the bear spray. Luckily it was pointed away from me. Unfortunately, when it sprayed it ricocheted off the tree in front of me just catching the corner of one eye and my lips. My exposure was minimal , all I can say is OMG , that was uncomfortable. The worst part was yet to come. When I arrived home, I immediately flushed my eye out, some of the spray made it into my eye. All I can say is LESSON LEARNED !!!
Last Sunday I hit the trail at the twilight of dawn. You could just make out the silhouette of trees. I was walking a road that leads to deep woods, hoping to catch a bull moose on the move. Wouldn’t you know it, a bear steps out into the road ,looks away from me , then turns and starts walking towards me. It took a few seconds before the bear looked up and realized I was there , then it disappeared. Of course, who would have ever figured something like this would happen. First time in ten years I’ve ever thought about pulling out bear spray ( which I had none of)