Early morning again with coffee and grits. On the bikes again at 7.15, which seems to be our starting time. Some fast and fun grassy double track led us to more open forest than we’ve seen here. Lots of ‘hey bear’ yelling all morning long.
As we went down the gravel road, we came upon a disturbing scene of a dead faun, at which point I pulled out my bear spray to have in my hand and we kept moving fast. 5 dead rabbits were also in the road spread over about a 100 yards. We were pretty spooked and shouted ‘hey bear’ a lot and kept riding with the bear spray in our hands until we reached HWY 83.
It only took a split second to decide to turn north for a 1 mile ride to a restaurant that was supposed to be open. When we arrived at 9.30, the nice proprietor said they hadn’t been able to find any help so wouldn’t open until 11. No problem! We hung out in very nice grass playing rummy, doing some gear and bike maintenance and charging our devices.
The 1.5 hrs went fast and then an amazing lunch! Salad and some great dry rub wings! As we talked with the owner he said they had just bought the place last year and it has been crazy busy all year as people just stayed in their RVs and distance schooled their kids. He said that (similar to what is heard in the news but more real when you see it in action) that people are still not looking for work, but he hopes it changes soon as the governor just suspended the extra payments but he wasn’t hopeful yet.
A 3 mile run down busy hwy 83 to get back on the trail. We stopped at a campground to fill water for the hot 1200 ft climb to the ‘informal camping’ at a lake we were aiming for. I talked to a ranger there and they said they would check out the dead animals. Finished the 28 mile day at an absolutely amazingly scenic lake where we bathed and have the place to ourselves!
Extra caution now with cooking more that 200 yards from our sleeping area and hanging good bear bags in our odor proof sacks in bear proof bags also 200 yards from the tents. We had heard the person had had food in their tent and had moved it when the bear came around the first time, but it came back and people speculate the smell must have still been around.