May 23rd: A Bear Mace Story

Published: May 27th 2007
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Just read over my last entry (after sending it) and hope Matt cleaned up all of
the spelling errors. This device I use has a keyboard that is about 8" wide and
3" tall. I type with only my index fingers and try to hold it down with the
rest, or as now in the tent. I support it on my thumbs, clamp the middle of the
device between the ring and middle fingers and type laying on my sleeping pad.
Sorry for not saying which town we were in, it was Pearisburg,VA. I get on a
roll and forget what I have typed and what I said to someone on the phone. Got
out of town late, 10:15AM! The mountain behind town was still 3,000' worth of
elevation gain and the packs were heavy. The trail designers were nice to us and
had plenty of switchbacks after the first 300'-400'. We did the climb in 2hr
15min. Town was 1,600' and the top just above Angels Rest was 3,600' and 2.4
miles all up hill. We then rolled along the ridge for about three miles to
Pearis Mtn at 3,440'. Next came Doc's Knob Shelter where we ate supper and
tanked up on water for tomorrow. We arrived there at 4PM and had covered the 8.2
miles in 5.75hrs. We pulled out after cleaning up the supper mess and hit the
trail for a bit more mileage. Managed to get 2.2 miles behind us in just over an
hour. We ended up just past Sugar Run Gap. The north bounders had been telling us
there were no tent sites for quite a few miles, so we were on the lookout. Just about 7PM a sharp peal of thunder rolled through
the clouds that really concerned us. We knew the Lord would give us a place for
the tent, we just needed to find it. We crossed an old forest service road with
potential. We scouted up and down the road and found the best spot there was. It
is not perfect and had a bit of slope to it, but is better than some of our
other sites. We got the tent up just as large drops of rain started to fall.
Good thing we did not need to cook :-) We managed to squeak in 10.4 miles today
which is .2 mi more than we need to make Damascus by the sixth.
I have not listed any of the hikers we have met on some days, so here it goes.
M&M, Sniper, Castinets, Mr. Easy, Little Red & Wolf, Achilles, Sapra, Nitro,
Deiatra, Pootz, Inch Worm, Kiwi, Stealth, General Lee, Marked by the hand of
God, Daybreak, Two Dawgs, Long Step, Boggie & Slim, Matterhorn, Yellow Shoes,
Bronx Betty, Catchup, Skiman, Jimmy Cricket, Tree Whisper, Ring Master, Eore,
Grandbo, Lynx, G-Force, Critter's Dad, Cahoda, Walking Stick & Music Man, Awego
and last but not least a pair of section hikers we have named Tom & Jerry. These
names are listed quite in any order and the last two are fellows we met today
just after our lunch break.
Jerry is tall with a lumbering gate. Tom is short with more of a waddling
gate. Jerry had on a large external framed backpack, cotton T-shirt, denim jeans
and high top hunting boots (camouflaged) and a bandanna for a head band. Tom
also had an external framed pack with all sorts of accoutrements attached at
various points. Of which I could identify a full sized ax, tent complete, small
shovel, medium sized propane bottle, rain gear and no less than three cordura
bags with zippers all the way around them. He wore a cotton T-shirt, camo high-
top hunting boots and a pair of camo trousers that came to just below his knees.
Both of their pack loads extended well above their heads, and Tom had stuff hanging
to the back of his knees. I only thought of taking a picture after we had gone
our separate ways. Jerry told a story about Tom and his fear of bears. Seems Tom
keeps a "fire extinguisher" sized can of bear repel in one of his cargo
pockets. Jerry throws stones into the brush while Tom is looking the other way, causing him much anguish. After one such
"rock chuckin’" event, Tom was so startled he grabbed for the bear spray. In his
excitement the safety bail came off and he sprayed his own leg and filled his
pocket with "Off Spray" for bears. This spray is a combination of mineral oil,
Cayenne Pepper and some other stuff I can not spell. Tom covered his face
expecting some misty fog to envelope his head causing him to go into fits.
Nothing happened except for a wet feeling running down his leg into his boot. By
Tom's own account, "Man did it ever burn my leg up for the next few hours!" As
they walked away we pondered how far we have come since starting our walk in
Harpers Ferry.
As of today we have done 397.1 miles. Tomorrow morning we break the 400 mile
mark! We can hardly believe we have made it this far:-) The thunder storm never
really got it's steam up and sort of fizzled out. All is now quiet here in the
Jefferson National Forest. A lone owl hoots now and again. CC is doing a SUDOKU
puzzle and I'm running out of stories for today. 8:58PM, almost hiker midnight.
Time for bed.

Patrick, Deborah Mooney aka OD & CC
All Who Wander Are Not Lost


28th May 2007

I just got the link from Bethany for you guys. It sounds like you are really having a good time. God bless you and keep you and surround you with His love while you enjoy his creation. We went hiking today and I was so awed by the beauty of it all. I envy you guys being able to make this extrodinary trip of a life time!!!!

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