Last night we rolled into the town of Hope, Idaho where a kind fellow by the name of Erik invited us to crash at his house for the night. We gladly accepted and had a marvelous time swapping travel stories with Erik and his wife, Jen, over food and drink. In the morning, I walked to the enclosed carport to grab some stuff off my bike. I was a little disappointed to find my bike tipped over in the dirt since Clancy’s bike (which was leaned on mine) had been carelessly moved elsewhere. Dammit Clanc - I thought to myself - have a little more consideration. It was then that I noticed Clancy’s bike about 40 feet away, laying in the driveway on its side with one pannier (pack) missing. Oh crap, time to start talking to the neighbors about potential vandal/thief activity. I run to wake Clanc and we come back to inspect the scene more closely. His bike looked a little roughed up after seemingly having been drug to its resting place. “My cooking pack is missing,” he exclaimed, “the one with my stove and food.” We looked at each other in disbelief and it hit us at the same time - a bear. We let Jen know what had transpired and began searching for remnants of the shredded pack. Jen found the pannier up the hill - the top had been opened carefully in order to remove the dry bag inside which contained food. The dry bag had not been opened with as much care, as it laid shredded on the ground among many wrappers.
We got lucky, real lucky. I suppose we should have taken more warning from the black bear sighting on the road yesterday. You can bet that we will be hanging our food from here out - even if the terrain is less than rugged.
As we made the long pedal through the morning wind and rain, and eventually into Montana, our spirits were not dashed. Funny how a close encounter can give you a renewed thankfulness for your state of well being. Touché Mr. Bear, touché.