The Bathroom Bear

It was about five in the morning when I stepped out of the restroom at a Shenandoah National Park campground. 

While I walked to the restroom in the dark, my eyes were having trouble adjusting to the blackness after being in the fluorescent lighting. So just a few feet removed from the restroom, I turned on my headlamp. 

And there, directly in front of me was a black bear.

I’ve encountered a lot of bears in the wild, but I had never been this close. I was close enough that I could feel his breath. I could have reached out and touched him.
I froze.

I stared at the bear. 

The bear stared at me. 

This went on for several seconds, but it felt like an eternity. Then the bear grunted, turned, and walked away. 



Dave is a nomad, avid hiker, and ultralight backpacker. He covers thousands of miles each year on foot, primarily in North America. You can find him traversing the desert, backpacking in the mountains, or running your local trails.