Sunday, August 26, 2012

Does a Bear Crap in the Woods? AKA our Summer Vacation

8/26/12 Authors Note - I wrote up this post when we got home at the end of July but apparently never published it.  I just noticed it was in Draft mode.  It is also a posthumous post featuring Karma!  Oh!  I later learned that bear crap is really called scat.  I didn't bother to update the post. 

Usually by January / February we have all our camping trips booked.  This year was a different story.  Since we weren't sure what was going to happen with selling / buying houses we were saving our vacation time just in case.  

Although Steve did sell his house this summer it doesn't look like we are going to move this year so it was time to start burning vacation time.   Thanks to a friend at work selling us his campsite we were able to score a week at Holly Bay.

Redneck camping at its finest
Last year when we spent a week at the lake it was 2 weeks before Lake Logan so every day was spent swimming, biking & running.  It was nice not to have to worry about getting my scheduled trainings in this time.

We got to the lake Monday & got all setup.  Of course it is July, so it was hot.  As soon as we could, we walked down to the lake to cool off.  I am not even sure what we did for the rest of the day.  Probably went something like this, swim, eat, sit around campsite, drink beer, walk Karma, shower, eat, etc.

Karma tried to keep cool under the camper
Tuesday morning we did head out for our one & only trail run.  I planned to do my usual 5 minute walking warm up, followed by 2 miles then a walking cool down.   Steve ran ahead of me & cleared spider webs for me.  He even spotted a snake on the trail basking in the sun & waited for me to catch up to warn me.  Gotta love that!  Chances are I would have been oblivious or seen it at the last second & freaked out.  I ran by it real quick & the sucker didn't even move!  The rest of the run was uneventful.  

Wednesday was our first kayak trip of the week.  Last year we only did short paddles so it was nice to do a couple of long trips this year.  Later that day we broke out the bikes & rode around the campground.  I didn't bother bringing my road bike on this trip - Jake & I are not seeing eye to eye these days but this is for a later post.  Instead I brought my Fuji hybrid to cruise around the campground.   

As we were cruising the campground one of the hosts in another loop stopped us & asked if we had heard about the bear.  Nope.  Hadn't heard of that yet.  Apparently a bear was up in someone's campsite snacking on all the food they left at their site.  After we got back to our site Steve mentioned that he did see some crap on the trail but didn't know it was bear crap.  Nice.  So instead of worrying about local druggies stealing our stuff we had to be concerned about bears.  Honestly, I am not sure which is worse.   

On Thursday while I hung out at the site & read Steve went on a 25 mile bike ride   I may have felt slightly guilty for not riding but I must admit hanging out reading all afternoon was pretty enjoyable.  Before leaving I picked up Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz that has been sitting on my book shelf for years.  It was a good vacation read.  I finished it by Thursday afternoon so I had to spend the rest of the week reading my Swimming Technique book & writing up some blog posts.

Friday we spent the better part of the day kayaking again.  The details of both kayak trips are in my July N2U post.  

After we got back from our paddle we went to find a couple of geo caches for Steve.  He found the first one easily.  We were heading along the trail to find the second one when we came upon a bunch of bear poop.  I said heck no I'm heading back to the truck.  We were told the day before that there were now four black bears in the campground foraging in people's coolers & such.

Karma still loves the trail
When we got back to our site we found this on our picnic table.  

This is why we only went on 1 trail run all week.  I had planned to go on 3 trail runs this week but once I found out about the black bears I scratched that idea.  Especially since they are following the trails that we would run.  

Thanks to the Bears we didn't go on too many hikes either.  Basically we hiked down to the lake & back.  We didn't even hike to the marina this year.  We drove there instead for our ice cream.  There is no way Karma could hike that far anymore.  She still wants to go with us but it is too hard on her to hike any long distance.  She did hike down to the lake with us a few times & she went with us to find the geocache which meant she got to smell the bear $hit.   I think that may have been the highlight of her trip.

We started Saturday with a run.  Since the trails were out of the question we ran from the campground to the Dam / Laurel-Whitley county line and back.  A cool front came through over night so the humidity & temperatures were lower.  We started early enough so the majority of the run was in the shade which felt great.  

After breakfast we hauled the kayaks back to the site.  When we got back a couple of camp hosts stopped & told us there was a bear behind our site.  They had been trying to trap it for an hour but no luck.  Around 7PM they came by again & told us that everyone had to be out of the campground by 9AM Sunday morning.  They were going to close it until they could get the bear situation under control.  It was disappointing to have to get up so early on our last day of vacation but it was nice to be home by 10AM.

We never did see a real bear.  Just their poop and that is just fine with me!

I know vacation recaps aren't really exciting for anyone but those involved.  I always forgot the details of the trips.  I have found that it has been super helpful to go back & re-read old posts about race reports, vacations, etc.  

Thanks for reading!

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