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10/8/2011
  I want to explore a lot of Hurricane Creek Wilderness Area so I headed back up there for another hike. Temp was around 60 at 07:00 a.m. and hit around 85 by 1:00 p.m., a might bit warm for October! The start point was on the eastern end of the wilderness area where Mill Creek converges with Hurricane Creek. The hike sent me up the creek for about 1.5 miles where a decent sized waterfall was discovered. This creek is not as big as Greasy Creek and has a smaller watershed. There was bit of fall color already even though the weather did not feel very fall-like. Here I turned south up a tributary and peaked out near Hurricane Knob at an elevation of 1770 ft. I pulled out my oxygen. Down the other side on another creek bed I bounded. This creek was small and steep and boulder ridden with lots of small waterfalls. When it finally leveled out Hurricane Creek was about 3/4 mile away. I looked up at one point and was surprised to see a large black dog standing sideways to me. My first thought was "that looks kind of like a wolf". It was about 100 yards or less from me and just as I was about to bark at it to scare it off I noticed that there were two more of them. One was the same size and the other was bigger. I then realized that the black dogs just turned into a mother bear and her two cubs! I have been wandering the forests of Arkansas of 31 years and have never seen a bear. Everything I've seen and read described a bear as being the most unpredictable when with cubs so I was thinking "hmmmmm....what to do?". The bear bell that was jingling on my backpack to protect me from hunters did nothing to alert these bears to my presence. It didn't help that the wind was blowing towards me either. Since they were moving in my direction I turned and walked back the way I came and worked my way up the hill to the left and bypassed them...I hoped. Finally Hurricane Creek was in view so I followed it back to the main road. There was a dirt road within the wilderness boundary that I assume accesses a rectangle of private land downstream. This kind of ruins this side of the wilderness area for me knowing vehicles had been there....there were lots of tire tacks.

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