Practicing the Bear Hang

COUNTDOWN – 7 Days!!!

HikeItForward-Final-MediumI can hardly believe it – this is the last Saturday hiking the local MetroParks and State Parks. Next Saturday it will be the real deal – the Appalachian Trail. I remember as a little boy sitting in front of the TV and watching “The Wonderful World of Disney.” Occasionally they would produce a show from Disneyland in California (this was before the creation of Disney World in Florida). I was so enamored with this dream world from Main Street to Fantasy Land; from a saxophone quartet playing live on the streets to the spinning Dumbo ride; from Cinderella’s Castle to Mickey and Goofy shaking hands with all the kids. What a dream to walk these streets. I never made it to California but Florida was doable. I missed it as a boy but showed up as a dad. But when I entered the gates and walked down Main Street I saw it all through the eyes of a ten-year-old. The Appalachian Trail will not be that drastic of a reality check but I think it will be a surreal feeling to actually begin the path that I have been reading about for almost two years.

I headed out to Caesar Creek today to hike the loop trail (maybe for the last time until the fall of 2014). I took my Bear Hang directions and made my first few hilarious practice runs at flying my food bag. If I would have taken my iPad and made an instructional video for youtube, the comedy of errors would have lasted 35 minutes, including at least

Bear Hang

Bear Hang

twenty tosses before successfully clearing the correct branch, and almost hitting myself in the head with one of the errant tosses. After moving to another location, my second attempt was so much better – making some subtle and not so subtle changes the bag was hung in under a dozen tosses and the process repeated several times. Leaving the trail realizing that I should have been practicing this technique for months, I am determined to hone my skills to the novice level prior to stepping onto the A.T.

Yesterday Cathy and I saw an alumnus and his son hiking at John Bryan State Park. It was great to see Jeremy walking with his son and enjoying a beautiful waterfall together, I was reminded of the reason for my adventure – enabling families of alumni to attend a Christian school. Today at Caesar Creek as I was walking to my Civic after completing the loop trail, I was approached by a distinguished gentleman dressed for hiking himself. He asked if I were preparing for a long hike. I barely got out my plans for the thru-hike, when he asked if I were Hike It Forward. He introduced himself and I realized that he was Todd the Hiker – a fellow blogger! We have been connected online for several months but never crossed paths in the forest. We have been on the same trail at the same time but never met. It was such a joy to finally connect face-to-face with this Christian brother and his lovely wife. After a brief but encouraging conversation I left the parking lot feeling like I had made a friend.

Check out Todd’s blog at

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Bear Hang, Caesar Creek, Hiking, Todd the Hiker | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Practicing the Bear Hang

  1. It is not too often you see someone at Caesar Creek with a backpack loaded for a long distance hike. I had been hoping that we would cross paths on one of our hikes before your departure! It was such a joy to finally meet face-to-face after following your adventures online for the past several months. And now only one week before you begin your journey I can say that I know (and not just via the internet) someone who is hiking the A.T.

    There no random chances when it comes to our God, clearly it was his providence that we meet. You will be in my prayers daily! May God bless you and keep you and safely guide your every step!

    “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways.” ~ Psalm 139:1-3 ESV

    Your brother in Christ,
    Todd the Hiker

    • Thank you for your kind words and your prayers for me. When I return, maybe we can meet again and I can share some of my adventures. God’s sovereign crossing of human paths is truly amazing – and always perfect in timing and location!

      • The group that Leah and I were waiting for on Saturday when we met turned out to be even larger than I had anticipated. We were able to share your story with many from our church. I posted a brief version of your story on my blog the next day as well, hoping to bring you more support and prayers.

        I believe you may have also inspired my wife to consider the possibility of beginning to section hike the AT in a couple of years…time will tell.

        Praying for your journey!

        Todd the Hiker

      • Todd – what a great turn out from your church. Thanks for taking the time to share my story with them! Your blog post about my adventure is so appreciated.

        Tell your wife that section hiking the AT is a great way to experience the trail. You can do as little or as much as you want while you enjoy the beauty of 14 states. She should start thinking of a good trail name.

  2. janloyd

    So cool, you two!
    And for you to meet up with Jeremy & Carter…so like God!
    We are getting excited and even a little nervous for you, Dave! And we will be praying all the way!

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