Whitehouse Mountain Cliffs, Wilderness Falls, and More

A few words about ‘Bastard Bears’…

‘Bastard Bear’ is a descriptive adjective (that can reasonably be confused as being a noun) I use to describe a particularly steep, or difficult hill-climb, or anything formidable and tough to manage, really, and has now recently been associated with a ‘low trail gear’ for climbing even.  I remember the first time I ever heard the phrase being used; it was Dave (‘Nurse Without A Purse’) Bigard in May of 1991, while hiking the Georgia and Southern North Carolina section of the Appalachian Trail.

View from first 'white blaze' on Springer Mtn. Georgia

View looking South from first 'white blaze' on Springer Mountain, Georgia

Some background information:  ‘Rat Patrol’ and I met Dave near Stover Creek Shelter on our 1st day of 12 out on the trail.  He went on to Hawk Mountain Shelter that afternoon, while we camped in the soft pine needles next to the creek (before the big flood that swamped our tents).  We accidentally caught up to him again the next evening after we had hiked 16 miles, mostly in the cold, pouring rain, the last 2 miles in the dark.  Anyway, it was at the Gooch Gap Shelter that we became friends with the ‘Nurse Without A purse’ (‘NWAP’ for short) and another cool hiker/adventurer named ‘Dr. Faustus.’  While the shelter had been full the night before, and Rat and I camped out in the rain again…the next morning I woke up with a pond inside my tent, and we both were still exhausted from the 16 miles the day before, so we decided to take an entire day off, trying to recuperate and dry out somewhat, watching it rain the entire day and night from inside the shelter.  Dave and Gwen (‘Dr. Faustus’) had decided to stay at the shelter, also, and we soon became ‘the gnarly family’, hiking the rest of the way to ‘Rainbow Springs’, NC, together.  There are many stories I could tell you about that trip through Georgia, like how Dave carried ‘a bear horn’ and fired it off every night before retiring to his sleeping bag, or how I had 30 pounds of trail mix, or even how Dr. Faustus kept us all entertained and inspired; every day was a new adventure, but to make a very long story a bit shorter, I will get back to the ‘Bastard Bear’ part of the story.


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