Friday, October 12, 2012

Bear in the Lost Coast

Last week, Jeff, Bear (our 13 year old Rottweiler), and I ventured into the southern portion of California's Lost Coast. A trip to the Lost Coast the beginning of October has become a tradition as we kick off the celebrations of the month of October (birthday month for both of us). We were looking forward to some camping, mountain biking, hiking, paddling, and lots of rest and relaxation.

As any who have traveled to the Lost Coast know, there are only extremes. The shore breaks are steep and precarious.

The hikes and bike rides are equally as daunting with steep ascents and descents. Other common themes of the Lost Coast are rugged beauty and remoteness - after all this is the only stretch of the California Coastline that isn't accessible by Highway 1.  Of course in this type of territory, one would expect to challenge one's fitness, skills, and mental toughness as well as be treated to some quiet time in the wilderness and some nice wildlife watching.  We were not disappointed. Up, up, we pedaled and hiked. The scenery and views were spectacular.

We also enjoyed lots of quiet time in camp relaxing, reading, and birding - passerines gracing the edge of our camp, pelicans diving in the surf, hawks soaring through the sky, and even an owl who glided over our camp each night at dusk.

On our first day mountain biking, a mountain lion jogged down the trail about 20 yards ahead of us. On day three, an elk browsed at the edge of our camp.

Our dog Bear was up for the camping and relaxing end of our trip and was happy to lie in a shady,cool spot in camp while we ventured out. On a warm and sunny afternoon, this seemed to be the best spot for him.

Unfortunately the elk returned and roamed into our camp when we were gone.  Another camper noticed the elk in our camp and chased the elk off just after the elk stomped on Bear.  Without getting into details, Bear did not suffer.

I went for a long hike along the beach and left Jeff with Bear.  As I returned at dusk, a black shape emerged from among the rocks at the waterline.

At first I thought it was a 70-80 pound tailless, black dog.  As the creature scampered up the hillside into the wilderness, I realized that it was a bear cub . . . 

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