Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Hiker

May 1, 2009 Locations and Sites
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    Estimated reading time — 2 minutes

    I was through hiking the Appalachian Trail last year, when I got lost and found myself off the trail, in a strange, dark hollow with heavy moss and one running stream. It was getting dark, and starting to rain. I found a cave just above the creekbed, and there were no bear-tracks, so I went in for shelter. 

    Sometime in the night, a bear DID come, right into the cave, and I had no way out! Keeping my head, I crawled deeper into the cave and found a passage too small for the bear to fit. It led to a long crawlway ending in a little alcove.

    I had no light, and was terrified. But the sound of the bear in the bigger room faded away. This new room was cozy, with what felt like mounds of soft moss and crackly leaves all over the floor. A breeze blew through, and the leaves, though I couldn’t see them, seemed to move all over, they tickled me all night long, making it hard to sleep.

    The next morning I crept back out to see if the bear was gone – he was. So I exited back into the hollow. I had a terrible rash all over my body from the itchy bedding I had slept on, and couldn’t stop scratching as I gathered my stuff and went down the creek looking for a road and some directions back to the trail.

    I found another trail along the creek, and in a few hours, it ended at a dirt road. There I rested, trying to decide which way to walk for help. My skin was bleeding in spots now, and pustules were forming at the itchiest places. I thought I might need some cream or something.

    A Game Warden jeep came around the bend, and when the Warden saw me sitting at the trailhead, he stopped.

    “You planning on going up there?” he asked, gesturing up the trail I had come down.

    “No, actually-” I began, but the itching on my skin made me stop short to scratch.

    “Well, if you are, just stay the hell clear of Spider-Nest Cave.”

    Credited to BlackEyedClown.

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