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PCT Day 69 The Lone Bear Cub

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24th June 2015

Mileage 21.7

Sonora Pass (1018.4) to Bushcamp (1040.1)

I emerged from the comfort and security of my tent for sunrise. It was hidden in some bushes near a large valley overlooking the east. The nearby fire had tainted the sky with smoke causing the sun to appear blood red. I chillaxed in front of its warming rays dreaming of a real coffee.

The time had come to start the long ascent up from Sonora Pass to an unnamed pass that separates the two valleys. It took quite a while to ascend to the high point. As KC and I sat there on the high point enjoying a snack a black bear cub went running past us at full speed. It was about 80 meters away. It had also climbed the same high pass but for some unknown reason charged down the steep hill, crossed a patch of snow then disappeared into some bushes.

We sat expectantly waiting for mother bear to arrive but she didn’t. Curiosity got the better of me. I walked the 80 meters across to where the bear cub crossed the pass. No sign of mother bear. Nothing. Why does a cub, alone, run at full speed across a 10500 foot pass? Why was the cub there, it was a stoney, baron, volcanic, rocky area with little vegetation or food? I was somewhat perplexed.

The PCT continued downhill for several miles giving us our first views of smoke ahead. We knew in advance of this dangerous wildfire and knew it didn’t threaten the PCT. It looked like the fire was in the next valley.

But it wasn’t long before the trail veered uphill to the left, away from the direction of the smoke. From that point the trail was a roller coaster of uphill and downhill sprinkled with sporadic flat sections. The trail passed close to two unusual volcanic cones. I think they are called cinder cones. Extinct volcanic domes where lava flowed. 

By late afternoon we decided to head to a small camp by a small stream. Not before time. We were both tired. KC and I chatted for quite a while into the evening before yawns overtook conversation.  

could you imagine a bear cub runniing down this hill
10am

Next : Day 70 Smoke and Magic

The Best information about the Pacific Crest Trail:
Complete Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail
Resupply Guide for the PCT
PCT Gear List

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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3 thoughts on “PCT Day 69 The Lone Bear Cub”

  1. One thing I’ve read before is a male bear wanting to mate will kill the cubs, if not his, so the female will come back into heat. Mom usually will fight the male to keep her babies safe. Maybe she will also have them run away… Another blog I’ve just read also mentioned seeing a cub by itself.

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  2. That’s sad about the bear cub, I hope it found its mama!
    Your pictures are beautiful, I especially like the one of the white wildflowers.

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