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by Doris Gove
Photo Credit: Jean Bangham

Let me tell you about the time that:

--I saw a mama bear near Shuckstack with four cubs.

--Two teenagers spit at me from the Mt. Sterling fire tower. Fortunately it was very windy.

--I arranged a key swap with a fellow hiker on the Wayah Bald-Tellico Gap section of the AT and we missed each other in the middle.

--I grabbed a rhodo trunk on the way up the waterfall scramble at White Oak Sink and stirred up a yellow jacket nest. My hiking companion was carrying my daughter in a backpack, and he claims that I kicked him in the face (of course not!) when I yanked the baby out of the pack and levitated up the bank. We both got stung lots of times. The baby got no stings but cried all the way back to the car.

--The same baby observed an agitated copperhead from the safety of her backpack and offered it her pacifier.

--The same baby, by then aged 7, was coaxed up Mt. Le Conte with frequent stops for Brie. M&M's didn't work.

--I came to the last creek crossing on the way down Forney Creek Trail. It was raining. I hadn't seen anyone all day (most hikers have enough sense to avoid that trail in the rain. But hey, it wasn't raining when I started.) The few tips of rocks above the rushing water were much too far apart for me, and I didn't want to go back up Forney Creek Trail. As I despaired, two hikers, a very tall one and a somewhat tall one, appeared out of the mist on the other side. The very tall one hopped across, dropped his pack, helped me across, then helped the other guy across. They were both from Ireland.

--I was accused of chasing a rattlesnake toward Wildflower Pilgrimage guests on a Courthouse Rock hike.

--I got lost on the way down from the Chim...never mind.