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From left to right: Chuckles, Happy, Peg Leg and BG


Four hikers start their ascent. Four miles in BG starts puking straight liquid. He’s breaking out in hot sweats, pulling his hair back to puke, his face is purple. He’s struggling. Maybe it was the altitude, maybe it was the warm cask of white wine passed around the car that morning, they don’t know, but PegLeg wants to keep going.


They do keep going, they’ve still got 4 miles to get to the designated camping spot, and it getting dark. They’re walking along a narrow trail with a 1000 foot drop on one side, they’ve all got their headlamps on …BG’s puking.
Chuckles and Happy finally pull Peg Leg aside to reason with him. They have to stop, BG is really sick. There’s nowhere for BG to pitch his hammock, and they’re in grizzly bear country so they decide to all sleep together on a tarp for safety.

At the backcountry permit office, they were made to watch the grizzly bear safety video. “We watched it at Yellowstone!” they protested. “Watch ours.” Glacier National Park has the highest density of bears in the lower 48. Their video basically says “If you see a bear, don’t approach it. If it approaches you, play dead. However, If it starts to eat you, fight back. “

So the hikers hang their bags away from where they will be sleeping and settle down for the night on the tarp. Then they hear running steps coming towards them and all freak out. On of them shines the light around them, and see a bulk elk, 10 yards away with its huge rack down, like its ready to charge. They all jump to their feet and clap and make noise. It goes away. 10 minutes later, they hear it again. Clomp clomp clomp. “Everybody up!” This happens over and over, its red eyes in the flashlight. Its like some cheap horror movie.

At around 3am they figure that they’re obviously in its teritority, so they decide to move, dragging everything 100 yards away. It makes no difference, it comes back.

Finally Chuckles and BG light up a cigarette, and it leaves! But then it comes back, so Chuckles lights up again. He’s alone now, everyone else has gone back to sleep. He’s smoking to keep them alive. Staying up late, smoking cigarettes with a terriost Elk on steroids, he starts to plead. “Leave us alone. Don’t hurt us. We are good people ya know.” He gazes up and surrenders to the situation…

“So this is what my life is now.”

BG had to catch a flight back to Mississippi the next day so hiked out the next morning. Chuckles carried on through to Polebridge and then came back to camp a night with us and pick up the car. And PegLeg and Happy are still out there on the trail.


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