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 The Morris Hill Encounter

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Number of posts : 562
Age : 64
Location : Beaverdam Creek
Humor : If necessary
Registration date : 2009-02-22

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PostSubject: The Morris Hill Encounter   The Morris Hill Encounter Icon_minitimeSat Mar 12, 2011 11:46 am

It was an early May late afternoon when we arrived at Morris Hill, a National Forest Campground some 30 miles north of Covington Virginia, deep in the mountains, a morning's walk away from the West Virginia border. After driving a good few hundred miles, we picked out a decent campsite, but before making camp all of us had an ice cold ale to cut the dust. As my companions unloaded provisions and pitched our tent, I stood watch as was expected of me
With that out of the way our Weber Grill was made ready for rib eye steaks and roasted camp taters.

Following a bit of refreshment, my two companions busied themselves preparing our supper. 'Flip' cut spuds into chunks with his Puma brand hunting knife while barking at me to lend a hand.
Opening my 3rd ale I reminded him - "I'm home guarding"
"Home guarding hell !" Flip returned rather sharply. He was a strange looking character to say the least and at times I wondered about him being completely human. Flip's head was extremely narrow with a thin almost lipless mouth. Set above a large beak-like nose were two dark beady Crow-like eyes behind a pair of thick glasses. Flip's hair was long, dark and oily looking and confined by a red bandana worn in Apache fashion. He was also called upon occasion The Birdman. Being half Lumbee he was dark which added to his strange appearance, if the vintage 70s short sleeve, wide collared, un-tucked, shirt sporting little sports car prints was not enough.
"It's enough having to fetch you ale and listen to your crap, while you chop taters with last year's fish gore and scales on that knife of yours. You better cook them there taters a good long time"

I stayed clear of Bear as he hovered over his grill for good reason.

Pretty particular about his grilling, Bear would not hesitate whacking the shit out of anyone daring to come too close during this very important ritual with a pair of heavy steel meat tongs. A good hand and a half above 6', half as broad as he was high, The Great Bear was not to be bothered with during this time. A rather savage looking fellow, he had long thick, shaggy brass colored hair that fell below his shoulders and a long bushy beard of the same hue, but with hints of red. Being of the old German stock which settled west of the coastal English colony during the early 18th century, with Bear's huge frame, wild appearance and stormy grey eyes, all he was lacking was a Spangenhelm and long shirt of scale mail to pass off as some ancient Teutonic Chieftain from around 400 AD. Near his grill was a large Bull's horn I had fashioned for drinking and given to him as a gag-gift some years ago. He brought it along each time we visited the high country.

In short time the aroma of grilling meat, roasting camp taters and beans drifted about our Heathen Camp.
We had been taking part in what our Heathen Band called Spring Celebrations for many years. Always they were held in Virginia's Appalachian Mountains during the Season's middle full moon a time of good weather conditions and even better fishing. We looked forward to getting up tomorrow morning, going for either Smallmouth Bass at nearby Lake Moomaw, or catching Brook, Brown and Rainbow Trout in the Jackson River. Both were right below the flat mountain on which our small party camped upon. At times as many as 2 dozen or more of us would be gathered at some wild wooded lofty location to throw down, cut loose, get blasted in a way the general populations of our more civilized suburban neighborhoods would care to experience, let alone tolerate or understand.

As always our banner consisting of a large Snapping Turtle skull and Deerskin strands adorned with Osprey feathers was lashed to a sapling in front of camp. We were those who either originated from or loved these Blue Ridge highlands, but lived and worked on the lower peninsula jutting out into Virginia's Chesapeake Bay where our brother the Osprey fished brackish waters. Since there were only 3 of us, Flip brought only a large, sleeps 6 Coleman domed tent and a smaller cheaper affair in which to store supplies for these few days in the high and lonesome. Our campsite included a rough hewn picnic table and iron ringed fire pit. If it wasn't for the thick Spring foliage we would be able to look down upon Lake Moomaw a place the three of us had visiting for about 4 or 5 years. At 12 miles long and about a mile across at some places, Moomaw had been damned from the Jackson River and was teaming with Lake Trout, Small and Largemouth Bass and a variety of pan-sized Sunfish. Tomorrow night with any luck, we would have Trout for the skillet.
Although we were somewhat shaded from the sitting Sun, it's final rays set the new green leaves a glow, lending us a weird light to cook by. Soon it would be time to make the First Night's Fire, feast, quaff fine spirits and pass the Pipe as tradition called for..
We feasted like Heathen Chieftains, woofing down our food with lip smacking relish. Having not eaten since morning the great empty spaces in our bellies was filled with decent camp fare. Having stopped for provisions at Covington, along with bait and tackle at a halfway point Outdoor Sporting Goods store, we were well stocked. Our bar boasted of 2 bottles of top shelf vodka, 2 cases of fine upland ale, a case of imported German beer, bottled water, sodas, lemonade and coffee. What caused us to arrive late at Morris Hill was the trip we made out of our way to purchase a jug full of fine homemade Shenandoah Valley sipping whisky from near the town of Luray as it was a must have. As far as food was concerned, we had ham, bacon, eggs, taters, spices, seasonings, sliced bread, buns, rolls, hotdogs, summer sausage, beans, and ears of roasting corn, all cooled with bagged ice in our coolers. As there were only three of us with only two of us partaking we did not bring along Our big Pipe, but had a couple of smaller ones and a good supply of Whoodee. Having camped at places picked clean of available dry dead firewood, we brought in a good bundle of Oak and Walnut along with pine kindling. The Great Bear, Flip and I had enough on hand to want not here atop Morris Hill this warm May Evening as the Spring season of 1993 got well along into Dusk. Finishing our meal, we quickly washed dirty cookware at the campground water spicket and secured all food stuffs as this is Black Bear Country and there was no desire to have unexpected night time visitors.

With our evening chores completed, Flip made a fire as I prepared the Whoodee.
With the exception of a few fellow Fishermen lodging over on the other side of this campground, we had Morris Hill all to ourselves so there was no need for Flip and I taking the Whoodee inside the tent. Then again there was always the chance a State Park Ranger would drive by to check us out. Pulling out my stash pouch, I proceeded to load-up my Steatite pipe. Carved from stone out of a nearby quarry, it had been with me for many years.
Having given up Whoodee almost 8 years ago because his place of employment started 'piss testing', seemingly The Great Bear had taken on an Anti-Whoodee stance or attitude when ever we decided to 'fire-up'. I remember when he burned more of the Whoodee than both Flip and I. Sure I understood Bear liked and wanted to keep his gig, but his pissing and moaning about our festive traditional practice was little called for.
Quaffing down an ale he asked - "You still smoking that shit ?"
"Got a problem with it ?" I returned - " All the way up here we couldn't smoke in your Bronco, so we're sparking up now"
"High time !" Flip added for good measure.
"Well don't blow any smoke my way" The Bear so ordered upon a belch.
Flip laughed then stated - "We won't as long as you direct those mouth farts in another direction"

Although we did not have our big Pipe, I still offered this smaller one to the four winds then accepted the gift of butane flame from Flip. Of a rarely seen reddish hue, this sticky Whoodee emitted a pungent scented smoke swirl as I drew upon the stem. Getting in a good one, my lungs expanded to the point of coughing. Passing my pipe to Flip, he took it and did likewise.
Upon exhaling I felt nothing, but knew the creeping way this Whoodee would sneak up and whack the inside of one's skull. It was good shit for a change and not that generic green hydroponic stuff I had become tired off.
Flip held it in as long as he could, coughed out his exhale and then gasped for air..
My pipe went back and forth a few good several times, and no sooner than I secured it back into it's Doeskin pouch, the Whoodee had sneaked up on us. Having not burned anything since this morning, I felt a good one come over me, but looking at Flip, he had really caught up with this lofty Appalachian altitude. Eyelids drooping halfway down over glassy red tinged dark beady eyes he displayed a slack jaw smile and said - "Wow, this is some really good shit man" then asked - "Where did ya get it ?"
Laughing into his narrow face I returned - "Come on man, you know better than that"
The last time I turned the Birdman on to a connection, he pissed the fellow off by taking more than his sweet time paying the guy off for a fronted bag, causing me to get scolded for introducing Flip to this Kat. "Hey man, don't you have some Whoodee as well ?" I inquired knowing that Flip would often hold out and smoke up someone else's supply.
"Yeah, but it's no ways as good as yours"
"That's alright Flippy, every little bit is appreciated"
With that he pulled out his own little pipe bag and loaded up with the same generic stuff previously mentioned. True not as good as the red, but nothing to turn one's nose up at either.

After that Flip and I could see over top the tall neighboring ridge, or at least thought as such in a substance addled way. All through this recreational ritual I took notice to Bear one who didn't want any Whoodee smoke drifting his way, he was doing alot of sniffing.
paying rather close attention as the pipe passed back and forth across our picnic table..

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Number of posts : 562
Age : 64
Location : Beaverdam Creek
Humor : If necessary
Registration date : 2009-02-22

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PostSubject: Re: The Morris Hill Encounter   The Morris Hill Encounter Icon_minitimeSat Mar 12, 2011 12:00 pm

As Dusk deepened a sudden light rain fell briefly as swiftly changing weather conditions were not at all uncommon for this Highland area, good thing Flip had strung up a wide plastic tarp above our picnic table. The rain came then went in just a few short minutes, but our fire survived and with the aid of more pine kindling, along with a good squirt from Bear's charcoal starter can it leaped into flames.
With the passing of light rain and the moisture it had bestowed we were entertained by a chorus of Gray Tree Frogs.
Our small neighbors continued their shrill chirping until The Bear, who now, no doubt having a slight alcohol buzz going demanded - "Music !"
With that, Flip began to fiddle with our boombox in attempt to find a decent Rock-n-Roll station, only to locate cheesy bubblegum top 10 stuff, or some of the more depressing Country Music formats, but finally by playing with the antenna got a hold of some good classic rocking songs. For a short while this beat set a good tone about our camp until it ended with grating radio static. I suggested he try the AM band.
Turning the knob and occasionally stopping we heard such broadcasting which included a call in talk show concerning hemorrhoid discomfort, another, where some ultra conservative, right-wing host was inciting his callers to whine about Clinton and a Fire and Brimstone religious program from over the border in West Virginia. Flip opted to put in one of our many combined cassette tapes.
Although I could hack it, The Great Bear was never a fan of lonely guy type ballads from the stadium rock band called Journey, but he endured. After the Journey tape played through Flip put on some 'Air Supply' and with that, this huge shaggy brute rose from his seat, ejected the cassette, then promptly tossed it in the fire, where the soft rock sounds of this 70s band became a melted blackened mess. It was the way such things were here in our Heathen Camp. Thus was the past fate of my Frank Zappa, 'Bongo Fury' tape and Bear's bootleg live concert cassette of a very Drunk Hank Williams jr. So much melted plastic.
I suggested Flip put on my James Brown tape, which Bear did me the justice of asking me to remove it. We settled on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon and decided it was time to uncork the Shenandoah Wonder.
It was a good several years ago when we requested and got permission to hunt for old arrowheads in a old farmer's field beside the Shenandoah River near Luray Virginia. On that first hunt, the Old Farmer called us in to one of his barns, where he had a couple of Oaken casts filled with what we later called Shenandoah Wonder. Distilled from spring water, wheat and a hint of peaches and wild berries, this was not the usual 'White' or clear homemade corn and sugar processed whisky. The old man had perfected a fine sipping liquor which far surpassed any top-shelf, store bought booze. He installed a tap and poured us both a coffee cup full. It spread through me like a friendly, warming, comforting liquid fire.
Over the years we attained this wonder through simple trade as there was items from the Chesapeake region this Old Farmer wanted. For more than one reason, it was a sad day when we learned of his passing.
Upon uncorking the gallon jug I had bought at a mountain roadside sale and later painted a XXX label on, my companions extended their cups/horns for a warming draught. Trying to pour a practical measured amount in Bear's horn, he bade me to continue until it was halted with a "When" Flip and I had only small ceramic refreshment cups my wife purchased from Colonial Williamsburg years ago. Three of them made up the content of Bear's drinking horn, but he had quaffing in mind instead of sipping. Guess I did too, slugging down my first cup.
Pulling out a new deck of cards Flip asked - "Is there anyone here interested in a game of luck and chance ?" to which we produced a good amount of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies always brought along for such an occasion. This bit of friendly gambling had long been part of our traditional Spring Celebrations.

Poker was the game and we all tossed a nickel in the pot.

I've always been lucky in cards, especially camp poker and this evening was no exception. First Bear and I cleaned Flip out, then there were only two. One a natural card player who cared little about losing some pocket change, the other using all kinds of methods he had thought to have mastered in an all out attempt to win. With only a couple of bucks in change left, Bear tossed down his cards and proclaimed - "I quit"
I left the winnings in a pile on the table as an invitation for another go later, it being quite normal for the pot to be divided up again. For awhile we sat in the blissful glow of our lofty camp as evening deepened into Night. Having about enough of our cassette collection of burned-out hits I found an old time Blue Grass station on the AM. We quaffed more of the amber hued Shenandoah Wonder, never failing to raise our cups in cheers and memory of those who could not be with us on such a fine Virginia Highland Spring's Night.
In time the 3 of us were over half snockerd and Flip suggested we burn more Whoodee as he claimed the ridges were blocking his view. Totally understanding I again pulled out my stash pouch and proceeded to pack the bowl with potent red Whoodee. I couldn't help but notice Bear paying close attention to this process. Passing it this time to Flip, I blessed the bowl with butane flame as he drew in. Handing back to me I had a good puff and rather liked the way it tinged with the Wonder. A couple of more hits was all we needed before my pipe got placed on our table to be forgotten as Flip and I engaged in substance addled gibberish which could hardly be passed off for normal small talk. As we blathered away Bear however rose from the bench and started pacing back and forth near table's edge where my pipe lay, all the while tugging on his bushy beard. Turning away from whatever weird conversation we were having, I watched what appeared to be a struggle going on behind Bear's grey eyes. Each time he passed the pipe, he issued a strange lip-smacking sound. Now Flip had taken noticed of this odd behavior. It was if Bear was weighing out something inside his thick Teutonic skull, but Flip and I remained silent while we watched an event unfold.
One big paw darting out he grabbed a butane lighter off the table, we watched the other snatch up my pipe. Hitting it like he couldn't get enough, Bear tapped the ashes out of my spent bowl and with a weird whispering voice requested another. "Alright" I said - "You best go easy on that stuff as it ain't some low-grade crap from the street corner"
"Just load it " He demanded with a twisted grin. After doing so he snatched it from my hand and went at it again.
It didn't take any lengthy observation to determine that Bear was blasted. As Flip and I had caught up with the lofty elevation, Bear was now soaring over ridge tops. For a short period of time following our last pipe, he silently scanned the thick, shadowy surrounding foliage with bloodshot eyes and a very tight-lipped grin.
"Wow Bear, 8 years, you must be really up there" Flip mirthfully chuckled. Taking it abit further I bolted from my seat, snatched up a coil of nylon cord and suggested - "Better anchor him down Flip,, here tie one end of this round his ankle while I lash the other end to a table leg"
Bear turned his attention from the dark highland wood, took a long look at Flip, then fell into a fit of uncontrollable hysterical laughter. His face turned almost scarlet as tears of substance induced joy were running down his cheeks. A few times Bear attempted to speak, but the words tinged with his guffaw thus rendering anything he was trying to say unintelligible.
"Slow down " I advised him - "Breathe"
"Yeah Bear, you better get some oxygen to your brain" Flip suggested with a friendly smile while he tapped his own narrow head with a finger.
With those words the Great Bear stood up, almost fell over the bench then proceeded to toddle around our camp like a 1 year old child while taking in big gulps of air. This went on for about 2 minutes before Bear caught his breath and regained his old long legged slightly staggering stride. In no time he was getting around like any other normal drunk on a Friday Night. Yet there appeared something different about those bloodshot grey eyes as they blazed in a savage feral-like glare which complemented his weird clinched-tooth smile.
Taking his own beady eyes off Bear, Flip shot me a quick glance and inquired - "Did you bring the tranquilizer gun and darts ?"
We keep a close watch on him, expecting anything.
If inquired upon during casual campfire conversation, I would have to rate the Red Whoodee as 2 or 3 hit stuff, maybe 6, especially when out of civilization's close quarter confines and well away from closed minded public scrutiny. Here in the wilds there were no wives, kids, neighbors, citizens, or local bar patrons to embarrass one's self in front of, thus causing no embarrassment for them as well. Bear had got in a good 8 or 9 and after such a long time without partaking, he was no doubt tripping his brains out at this very moment. I knew Bear was really up there when he reverted back to his old habit of what we called double talking,, in his case, loudly talking then repeating what he just said in a whisper . Turning to us he demanded - "WHAT THE F#CK IS IT ?" then swiftly followed up with - "What the f#ck is it"
"What the f#(k is what ?" Flip threw back at him, yet instead of replying, Bear walked over to our fire at a fast pace, grunted, then leaped somewhat over, but mostly through the flames. He stood like an image of primordial intoxication for about a half minute, glaring at us while nodding his head.
"What are you gonna do next Bear ?" Flip asked as if our large friend was this night's entertainment. At first The Great Bear cocked his head as if puzzled then he tilted it back and issued a wild and weird call up into the Night Sky which started as a roar, then ended with a long savage howl. At that the forest fell silent, but only for a short while. Just as we were about to clap and cheer, Bear's call was answered in a similar, yet more savage way as it flowed down from neighboring Oliver Mountain. Where Bear's weird call sounded barely human, the answering call did not sound human at all.
"Shit Fire Myrtle ! what the hell was that ?" I demanded while still feeling the chill down my spine.
Flip no doubt trying to make sense of it, returned - "Echo ?"
"That was no damned echo, man ! It was too long in between"
Still lofty-headed, but ever curious we spoke of Screech Owl calls, Fox cries and wild hair-lip dogs. Flip even suggested it was a Coyote as there were reports of these animals in the mountains. Having once traveled the Southwest and heard Coyote howling I ruled that out as well. We had to end up settling on the call as coming from another human, perhaps some love-sick inbred hillbilly woman in season, or maybe from the maw of a very disturbed Black Bear.
Paying us no mind, Bear turned about and lumbered off into the downhill woods behind our camp. At first I thought he was going off for a piss, but after hearing him crash about in the undergrowth below us I requested Flip build up the fire to serve as a beacon for his return.
It seemed our old friend had heard the call of the wild.

Shouldn't we go after him ?" Flip asked with some concern.
Not worrying overly much, I returned - "Bear's alright, he'll stumble around on the mountain side for awhile until he gets it together, then come strolling back into camp, just like he did at Loft Mountain back in 76 after taking that mescaline" Of course It took him all night and half the morning as he had met up with another group of party people and couldn't tell them quite where he was camping although it was only about 200 yards away.
Settling back into our seats and what was left of this first night at camp, we threw back some more Wonder while planning tomorrow's activities. I couldn't wait for either getting down to the lake or else hooking into some Brown Trout in the Jackson River below Gathright Dam. Despite any small concerns of Bear's safety or sanity, we enjoyed our fire's warming glow and also reveled in these Moonlit highland surroundings. Turning off the Blue Grass station we listened to a myriad of Night's Wild Highland Forest Music such as Katydids, Crickets, Tree Frogs and the occasional hooting of a Great Horned Owl. Off to one side of us Flip and I also heard the distant sound of branches or sticks being snapped, but figured it was Bear crashing about somewhere down there, that is until he came, half covered with dirt, staggering into camp from the other side from the distant snapping. Judging from the yellow-brown dirt and small branch of twigs tangled in his shaggy hair it was quite evident Bear had taken a few slips along with probably going through a thicket or two.
Without so much as a word to us, Bear wobbled over to our tent, unzipped the door flap and more or less fell inside..
Just within a matter of a few short minutes a low rumbling snoring was coming from our tent. "Out for the count" Flip laughed and then asked - "If Bear's in there passed out, then what's down there breaking sticks ?"
"Maybe a Black Bear breaking into a Bee hive, or tearing up a dead tree looking for grubs and Termites" I returned with hopes of no Bears visiting our camp tonight. Suddenly the stick snapping, wood splintering sounds ceased and after a few long minutes waiting for it to start up again, we were relieved it did not. Deciding this would be a proper time to have a couple of stiff nightcaps(2 cups a piece) as it was usually a good idea to knock one's self out because Bear's snoring could wake the dead.
Finishing up in several gulps, we decided to it a night as morning fishing would come early.
Once inside the tent, Flip cut on his small battery powered camp lantern and in it's luminance we saw Bear stretched out on the bare tent floor as he hadn't bothered with rolling out his sleeping bag, but did manage to remove one shoe. We both laughed seeing the small branch still tangled in his shaggy hair. His snoring was like a long thunderstorm. "His big ass is sleeping in the Bronco tomorrow night" Flip hissed none too pleased about trying to sleep with so much racket. Like me he had forgotten his foam insert hearing protection, but for what little they could do, there were cotton balls in our First Aid kit.
Attempting to reduce or alter this noise even more, then again maybe just for a laugh I pulled Bear's cigarette pack from his shirt pocket, removed two, and while he slumbered like a cold river rock, stuck one, filter first, up each nostril. As Bear was out cold, I could of stuck cotton balls in his nose, but that no doubt would cause the mouth to emitted a even louder more raspy snoring. This partial blocking of the nostrils reduced the noise by half. Along with the cotton in our ears we should be able to get a little shut-eye, but now Flip and I laughed at the tusked 'WereWalrus laying on it's back, beached, many miles from the sea.
Crawling into our sleeping bags, the lamp went out as we officially called it a good first night, as no one got injured, sick, or fell into our fire which now burned low in it's iron ring. In no time I dropped off into a dark, dreamless sodden slumber..
It was a combination of light, having to urinate, a putrid stench and somebody poking me in the shoulder that brought me back into the waking world. "Hey man, get up" It was Flip's whispering voice - "Get up"
"Whaaat,,what ya want ? Damn boy, who shit their pants ?" Now I could really smell it now.
Putting a finger to his lips - "Shhhhhhhhhhh, keep it down,,, something's out there"
Rubbing my eyes and trying not to breathe through my nose I inquired in a whisper - "Somebody take a crap just outside the tent ?" noticing it was coming in strong through our screened tent window.
"Nobody shit" Flip returned as he turned off the lamp.
Raising up and seeing nothing through the widow, I asked - "Think it's a BlackBear ?"
"Don't know" then he added - "Could be,, don't think it's a Skunk"
Taking a big whiff I stated - "That's for damn sure"
I heard Flip's hunting knife sheath un-snap and his blade being slid out. Reaching under a travel bag I found comfort in the handle of my pipe tomahawk. A useful camping tool, being an ax, weapon and smoking device all in one. As this was a National Forest, we carried no firearms, but were armed to the teeth with edged weapons. In my travel bag there was also a 14" Khyber knife. Just as I leaned over to un-zip that bag, Bear's rumbling snoring changed into a mumbling gurgle. Outside however, I had yet to hear anything. Just as I was about to chalk this up as yet another carcass rotting stench coming in with a breeze, there was a sudden crash, then the sound of cooking foil being crinkled.
"The grill" Flip hissed.
"Maybe a Bear getting at those steak drippings, The Bear should of cleaned that up"
Whatever it was out there, I now could not only hear it's heavy footfalls, but it's heavy breathing as well. At times it would issue snorting sounds, kind of like the feral pigs that have been known to root around these hills. The clanging of our cooking pots however prompted me to think otherwise.
The noise was enough to pull Bear out of his drunken dreams - "What the hell goes on ?" He growled, followed by a butane lighter sparking into a dim light, but just enough for us to see that one of the Marlboros still sticking out of his right nostril.
"Shhhhhhh, and kill that light Bear " Flip said - "Something's out there"
" A Bear ?" Bear asked in a whisper, then demanded to know - "And who the hell stuck a cigarette up my nose ?"
"Don't know" Flip returned - "Shhhhhhhhhh" Now we heard it rifling through the other items left upon our table. Following the sound of Bear's big Bowie knife leaving it's leather sheath, Flip commented - "What ever it is,,, it's big"

By the sound of breathing, snorting and heavy footfalls, it now approached our tent. We all fell silent, tightly grasping weapons and ready to cut our way out if need be. It moved around our tent and I thought to have saw a dark shadowy shape pass the window. I tensed for the spring as it now fumbled with the dew and rain cover. Expecting at any second for claws to rip open our lodging, my nape hairs rose as tent fabric was the only thing between us and it. The Great Bear's savage low growl told me he was ready to kill or be killed. At that we heard what ever it was back away from our tent.
I remember someone loudly saying - "I'm sick of being scared" then hearing the sound of our door flap being un-zipped. This was it,, the 3 of us should be able to prevail, then have coffee or maybe a stiff drink. We've chased Black Bears out of camp before with screams and whistles, but a 12 gauge pump surely would come in handy right about now.
Flip and I were the first to stick our heads out with Bear close behind for a look see.

We were met by a thick putrid stench that was somewhere between an extreme case of bad body odor(wet hobo) and rotten cabbage along with the sound of thick brush being rustled. Turning our heads we were just able to see a tall, massive, dark upright shape amble off on two trunk-like legs into a large clump of Rhododendrons. As it merged with the shadows of dense leafy brush we heard the same branch snapping as before. For a few long minutes we heard it rustling through the undergrowth and were very relieved when all sound of it finally faded into naught.
Weapons still in hand, one by one, we carefully exited our tent, all the while scanning surrounding foliage. For a few more tense minutes we formed a defensive triangle, blades out, each of us watching the other's back. A little convinced nothing was going to charge us or drop out of a Tree upon our heads we slowly disconnected, each of us swiftly off to perform emergency tasks. Flip shoveled out old ash, soon having a good bright kindling blaze, Bear went about striking our propane lamp and looking to any damage while I slowly circled our camps perimeter so my companions would not be caught suddenly unaware. There was a creepy feeling of being watched from the outer darkness which became further away as our fire blazed brighter.
Bear busied himself with putting our grill back together, while Flip placed a couple of seasoned Black Walnut chunks onto the fire, then set about picking up pots, pans, paper plates, drinking cups and a scattering of cassette taps some trampled into last Autumn's leaf litter. With that squared away at no real damage, Flip opened up his Coleman propane camp stove, fired it up, then proceeded to procure bottled water and French Roast for our coffee pot.
Ambling up to the table with ash and soot on his hands, Bear snarled - "Damn Bear !" at that both Flip and I stopped what we were doing and shot a him a glance - "That was no Bear" The Birdman informed him..
Flip, now inspecting the outside of our tent, called both Bear and me over - "Look at this, that was no Black Bear" Aiming his flashlight beam at the loose loop and button attachments for our tent's dew cover, Flip repeated himself again - "Won't no Bear, Bear"
"No paws and claws did that " I said, knowing a Bear had not the dexterity to unfasten those small, thin, tight nylon cord loop type affairs.
Flip determined to press the issue stated - "A Bear wouldn't go into that brush on just two feet"
"You know, I've read about this kinda stuff" I added - "Could of been one of those Big,,"
"I thought those critters only roamed up in the Pacific Northwest" Flip broke in.
Attempting to make a little light of this strange event I implied - "Maybe it's on vacation, like us"
With all of this weird passing, none of us had bothered looking at the time until Flip did so, informing us it was now 4:45AM. Not a lot we could do as far as looking for clear signs until dawn. For now Bear, Flip and I would be content with coffee near our blazing fire although each of us were left with the knowing that something very strange had occurred. The Bear seemed more spooked than us. Before this early mountain morning, he did not know of, or hardly believe in such creatures, while Flip and I thought it could be possible, but never heard of them here in the East.
As a strong breeze sprung-up and carried away most of the stench, Flip spoke of what his mother’s people referred to as Mountain Devils and Bear-Men which long ago would come in at night to steal food or sometimes women. - "He said they can smell food from far off, but will usually back off and run away from people, but just like some Bears and Humans, there are crazy ones who kill without reason or else to eat"
Thinking more on the level of the few Cryptozoological accounts I read and a movie called the "Legend of Boggy Creek"
I brought up the possibility of Skunk Apes to which Flip responded - "I thought those critters lived in the Southern swamps"
"Maybe on vacation, like us" I repeated, then added - "Well at least it gave us an early wake-up call, so we can get down to the water when the fish start biting"
We sat, sipped coffee and tried not to pick it apart all that much as not to speak of the devil on this gloomy pre-dawn mountain morning..
As Dawn's first slivers of dim light cut through the leafy branches we looked for spoor and any other sign of this creature's visit, but as the ground was more or less covered with leaf litter and a little short, thick grass there were no tracks to be seen. Using our memories and the height of the Rhododendrons for an idea of scale, we estimated What Ever IT Was to be anywhere from 7 or 8' in height and about 4' wide at the shoulders. Perhaps it was a good thing we only saw it's back. Going a bit into the undergrowth, we backed out quickly after seeing several Tree saplings and Rhododendron branches snapped off. A symbolic marking of territory ?
The rest of our time at Morris Hill Campground went on without further strange incident as we fished, hiked and spent our evenings at camp, but now keeping an ever watchful eye out for all un-invited visitors.

Leaving on a Tuesday morning, Flip and I were already talking about coming back next Spring, but The Great Bear seemed ill at ease with such plans.

But we would return and more than once.

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PostSubject: Re: The Morris Hill Encounter   The Morris Hill Encounter Icon_minitimeSat Mar 12, 2011 2:07 pm

You do know how to tell a story Jim.

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PostSubject: Re: The Morris Hill Encounter   The Morris Hill Encounter Icon_minitimeSat Mar 12, 2011 4:11 pm

Reunite wrote:
You do know how to tell a story Jim.


Thanks Reunite

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PostSubject: Re: The Morris Hill Encounter   The Morris Hill Encounter Icon_minitimeSun Mar 13, 2011 7:21 am

Yes great story telling. So you were that close to a Bigfoot creature? Wow. The stench is something that seems common with folk that have encountered one of these beings.

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