Cassi Creek: I had Loki outside this morning, about half an hour ago. There was no hike with Mike this morning. Loki displayed interest in a deep ditch that borders our property and the road.
At the same time, one of our neighbors was on-line describing an encounter with a black bear and three cubs in her front yard. That placed the bears about 0.1 miles from our driveway. I might have seen them if I had focused more on the uphill view than on the down valley view.
Our property sits entirely within a bear preserve. Bears are frequently seen traveling through the valley.
Today is also trash pick-up day for this part of the county. Most residents don’t pay for trash service, having several other options for disposal. (Roadside dumping seems to be the most widely practiced). I think that there are less than 15 houses on Cassi Road that pay for trash service.
Our trash can has been permanently dented by one or more bears jumping or pounding on the lid. It also has several deep claw scratches and at least one prominent canine tooth puncture.
There are some residents in the valley who make it a practice to leave food out to attract bears. Some of these people are hunters practicing unethical baited hunting. Others are best described as just marginal in several manners.
There is a federal wilderness area to our south and the Cherokee NF runs southwest to north east with borders less than 100 meters from our back door. We’ve seen most of the game animal, most of the raptors, and most of the big game animals that populate the valley and its surrounds. While the NPS may be shut down, the word hasn’t filtered down to the local fauna.