Tag Archives: black bears

Bear Under the Deck

A bumping outside the window woke me this morning around 4:00. Edging over to the open window, I listened to the bump and then heard the snort.


Our garbage cans are kept under the deck. Only one had trash — one bag — but the full-grown black bear was in the process of knocking them all over to be sure there wasn’t anything more than what he was able to drag out and spread all over the ground.

I shined my small flashlight out the window and caught the shadowy outline of our woodland visitor. Padding across the carpeted floor, I gently shook a sleeping Mr. Mitchell.

“Hmm?” he responded, groggily. Guys sleep through anything.

“There’s a bear in the trash,” I whispered. I wasn’t sure what he could do about it but it seemed only reasonable that I should share this pre-dawn moment by disrupting his sleep.

He stumbled out of bed and disappeared into his man cave, coming back with a handheld spotlight. Did I hear him say it was a million watts? Whatever it was, it was bright.

Positioning himself at the widow, he pointed the spotlight in the direction of the bumping and snorting. There it was … a full-grown black bear pawing through our discarded water bottles, empty cans, used paper towels, and all the other assorted odds and ends found in the family trash.

With iPhone in hand, I snapped some photos but the combination of darkness, the screen on the window, and distance made it difficult to get a clear picture. The bear ate. I took pics. The bear pawed through the pile. More pics. More pawing and eating.

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Black bear breaks into vehicle on BRP near Humpback Rock

Black bears 1 (2)

Mother black bear with cubs at Loft Mountain. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

After a weekend of aggressive bear activities including a black bear breaking into a vehicle, the Appalachian Trail has been closed in the Humpback Rock picnic area (MP 5-ish). This comes on the heels of Thursday’s bear encounter at MP 5 of the Skyline Drive just south of Front Royal when a hiker’s dog was chased and killed by a bear.

A notice went out Sunday afternoon about the bear encounters and trail closures. By way of Appalachian Trail friend Rockfish to Reeds:

Received via email (AT TRAIL & CAMPING CLOSURES – between Paul Wolfe Shelter and Dripping Rock – 9.5 miles):

Good afternoon everyone,

We wanted to advise you that the Blue Ridge Parkway has experienced a number of bear incidents this weekend in the Humpback Rocks Picnic Area on the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The picnic area itself has been closed for the past week due to bears approaching visitors looking for food.

This afternoon a bear broke into a car at the Dripping Rock Parking area north of Humpback Rocks. In addition, two hikers along the Appalachian Trail near Humpback Rocks saw two bears which refused to leave the trail.

Out of an abundance of caution we would like to implement a trail closure and closure to all camping along the Appalachian Trail between the Paul Wolfe Shelter and Dripping Rock (approximately 9.5 miles). We realize this will be an inconvenience for many hikers using the Appalachian Trail through this area, however, based upon the current bear activity we feel we must err on the side of safety.

The National Park Service is in the process of reviewing the alternatives for managing the 2-3 bears we believe responsible for most of the on-going activity.

Any thing you can do to help get the word out about the above closures would be greatly appreciated. We will be posting signs at the effected trail-heads along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Best regards,

Tom Davis
Natural Resource Specialist
National Park Service
Blue Ridge Parkway
1670 Blue Ridge Parkway
Floyd, VA 24091

Black bear activity has caused trail closures the past several years in Shenandoah National Park and along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is not to alarm but a heads-up to be safe and alert.

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It feels like fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains

By Lynn R. Mitchell

9The Blue Ridge Parkway around milepost 4 in Virginia. Fall-like temp at mid-day was 53 degrees — sweaters and sweatshirts were on tap on this mid-September Sunday.

10Looking over Stuarts Draft / Augusta County in the Shenandoah Valley. In the distance are the Alleghany Mountains.

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Black bear ambles into Humpback Rock picnic area

By Lynn R. Mitchell

6Sunday afternoon in Humpback Rock picnic area, as families grilled and set up picnics on tables scattered throughout the wooded mountainside on the Blue Ridge Parkway, an unexpected — or perhaps not so unexpected — visitor showed up to sniff the air and look for hand-outs. The young black bear had discovered easy pickings in an area populated by people and … food.

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Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

By Lynn R. Mitchell

19Wildflowers and wild bears … all part of enjoying the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Fawn triplets return

By Lynn R. Mitchell

??????????Look who returned to check out my flower beds this afternoon. On Wednesday I posted photos (see Morning coffee and watching local wildlife) of these three as they spent the day lounging in my yard, napping, and nibbling flowers and grass. Today Mom was with them for a while, then she wandered back into the woods and left the triplets to explore on their own. Neighbors across the street have a young black bear hanging out in their back yard. It’s been an active wildlife season in western Virginia.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
June 29, 2014

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