The poem below was written by Jeff who recently left The Trail House to 3/4 thru hike the Appalachian Trail. As you will read, they had one very interesting night a few days ago..

The Bear of Garrison Spring

The night was young, our bellies fed
the food was hung, we in our beds
save one lone hiker, late to eat
was cooking teriyaki treat
When from behind a rustle came
the hiker
sought what was to blame
and turning round, he saw below
not ten yards past, a cunning foe
his muscles tense, they’re eyes did meet
the hiker jumped back from his seat
“We have a bear!” he said aloud
with whir of zippers came the crowd
And there before us, midst the grass
sat the cause of hikers’ fast
His coat was shining, black as pitch
I sighed and thought, “son of a bitch”
We cursed and shouted, stamped around
rocks were thrown as could be found
Without a flinch, save for a grin
the beast approached, despite our din
Then suddenly, some hikers three
came off the trail and out the trees
They with their dog and bright headlamp
did chase the fiend off from our camp
“Please stay with us!” we did implore
“Your group is a most welcome four”
“We thought to stay, but dash it all
that’s no small critter we just saw!
We’re off to further, safer sites.
Good luck, goodbye, as well good night!”
We watched them go, the daylight dim
the lack of dog made faces grim
“Perhaps the brute is gone for good”
Seconds passed and there he stood
Our shouts renewed, we did exclaim
but too familiar was our game
He spotted quick the bags aloft
and forth he walked with footfalls soft
Five men believed the creature bore
A hundred weight and hundred more
We watched him come, what could we do?
right to the tree, ourselves in view
He glanced about and noticed then
this tree to climb was much too thin!
But our relief was soon dismay
for he knew of a better way
He clawed his way up larger trunk
and twelve feet high, he turned and jumped
onto the slender tree he clung
and from his leap, the bag it swung
right to that waiting, practiced paw
A single swipe, and that was all
He slid in haste down to the ground
and up the hill our thief did bound
I marveled at his prowess sure
though half amused, was worried more
The sack to which he first did steer
was filled with all my cooking gear
I wondered if he’d think it rude
this decoy bag with lack of food
The darkness full we shook our heads
re-hung our bags and went to bed
“Surely” we thought “we now are safe,
our food is in the perfect place”
An hour later brought the rain
and then we heard the bear again
Scratched, scuffles, branches crack
we knew just what had brought him back
And though greatly annoyed was I
I much preferred to remain dry
“Damn the rainfall in the air!
Damn the food and damn the bear!”
So warm at rest within our tents
we trusted luck to our defense
The morning came and I awoke
and fast remembered branches broke
Then rising shortly after dawn
I looked and saw my food was gone
In disbelief I went to search
just how my bag had left its perch
There was no large adjacent pine
from which to leap after a climb
There were no claw marks in my bark
still chosen branch fell in the dark
But then I looked and understood
from gouges left in other wood
Some paces back, a hickory
did intersect my line to tree
and climbing up he found my string
knowing at once, here was the thing
From his great tug the branches cracked
and on the ground he stole my sack
The evidence was plain as day
just how our crook had got away
We all agreed we did our best
and thankfully he spared the rest
I told the others “I’m amazed
he knew so much of hikers’ ways”
said the lone hiker “I declare
he’s smarter than he average bear”
We made our search among the trees
til pot and stove was full retrieved
from tooth and claw left in the dirt
When tested found was still to work!
With hunger fierce and patience done
we quit the spring called Garrison
But down the trail the story rang
of master thief and my Bad Hang