Re: Another trip to Little River
Russ, I believe the old saying is "Descretion is the better part of valor". I don't blame you ,you did the right thing.
A mountain lion would have had you before you knew it. (There are alot of valid reports of cats coming back to Southern Appalachians.) A gal was jogging over above Tremont a year or two back, and had a bear follow her in a similar pattern of behavior. From what I've read you might have been stalked by a bear OR it could have been squirrels or birds. I 've read and seen several accounts of young male Black Bear attacks following that pattern. The lady who was killed by the bears back in '99 was stalked from the description I heard. I always carry a small flashlight with me either in my vest or a small fanny pack (survival-first aid kit). The root along the trail might be a copperhead or just high enough to twist an ankle. The stream valleys stay dark longer and get dark before I usually want to leave.
I take a lot of ribbing for it but carrying a canister of bear spray does not hurt. I'm not "a siss" or have chronic "bearanoia" either. Even if following bear protocal, your no longer dealing with a "wild predictable animal". If it were a bear it could have been just curious, but there is a thin line. Bear closing and problems seem to be more and more frequent.
Having reached into an undercut in high muddy water and touching the arm of a drowning victim, has made me reassess the value of somethings WE DO to get to the "one pool" or to get "a better drift". If it doesn't feel right don't do it. THERE USUALLY IS A REASON IT DOES NOT FEEL RIGHT. My brother and I had a guide on the S.Fork of the Shoshone last summer. The water was high, we had fished a long distance, etc. I did not felt comfortable about crossing the stream at the mouth of a small canyon. My brother and guide , both younger and stronger than I, went on tried crossing and barely made it back without a swim.
Tenneswede- Been there. I've get splitting headaches to where I sick to my stomach. I had migranes allegries occur when I've backpacked in. I always Keep a supply of "pills and med's" with me. They take the edge off so I can function.