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Bears in AT between Spinger Mtn and Neels Gap

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    • Bears in AT between Spinger Mtn and Neels Gap

      New

      Hi.My bothers and i are planning to hike from Springer Mtn to Neels Gap in Mid June.We are planning to spend the night at Gooch Mtn.What about bears? What are the odds we run into one? How do we keep our food safe during the night? Do bear sprays work? Any suggestions and ideas will be appreciated.Thanks
    • New

      Ivanjo wrote:

      Hi.My bothers and i are planning to hike from Springer Mtn to Neels Gap in Mid June.We are planning to spend the night at Gooch Mtn.What about bears? What are the odds we run into one? How do we keep our food safe during the night? Do bear sprays work? Any suggestions and ideas will be appreciated.Thanks
      there is a bear box at the shelter.
      2,000 miler
    • New

      Ivanjo wrote:

      Hi.My bothers and i are planning to hike from Springer Mtn to Neels Gap in Mid June.We are planning to spend the night at Gooch Mtn.
      in an earlier post you said this was going to be your first time.

      since you do not know your pace yet, i would suggest bringing enough food in case this turns into two nights camping. doing this section in 2 days is certainly possible and done regularly, but "most" hikers seem to take 2 nights and get to neels gap early on day 3.
      2,000 miler
    • New

      Yes, Bear spray works. Here is a nice article that summarizes basic best practices with regard to bears by Tom Smith, generally considered one of the world's foremost experts on bears. Not only is it accurate and well informed advice (in contrast to what you will find in most on-line discussion fora), but he is also very entertaining. He makes bear safety lectures funny.

      backpacker.com/survival/the-truth-about-bears-the-skills

      Dr. Smith published a definitive study on the effectiveness of bear spray and recommends taking it. His explanation of this position is particularly witty. It goes as follows: Step 1: If you encounter a bear DON'T RUN (worst thing you can do). Instead stand calmly and get your bear spray ready. FAQ #1 What do I do if I chose not to carry bear spray? Answer to FAQ#1 That's like asking what's the best way to be ejected through the windshield of your car in a collision if you choose not to wear seat belts.

      That being said, I would say that the vast majority of AT hikers (including myself) do not carry bear spray since on the AT, the chances of encountering a bear are small and the chances of encountering a threatening bear are much smaller than that. Many people hike the whole AT and never see a bear. Other (like me) have been fortunate to see one on every AT hike (for me, 1 day out of every 4). I would say that my encounters are typical. Mostly you just a glimpse of a rump as it runs away. Otherwise (like my Avatar image), they just sit there and pose for pictures. Thus most AT hikers consider bear spray unnecessary weight to carry. Your choice. One logistic issue is that Bear Spray is not allowed on airplanes (neither carry-on nor checked bags), so if you are flying to your destination, you would have to pick it up on arrival.
    • New

      at mountain crossings at neels gap thru hikers are given the opportunity for a pack shakedown by a store employee (who is almost certainly a former thru hiker). this is good for the hiker as many things are discarded (lighter pack!) and good for the store as many of heavy discarded items are replaced with lighter weight alternatives (sales!).

      one of the top items that is discarded as a result of these shake downs is bear spray.
      2,000 miler