Short hike into Bailey for a resupply and to get cleaned up. It’s a sad day when your dog smells better than you do.

So…that’s what my blog post was originally going to say….until we reached the car at the trailhead. As we crested the last hill and started down the other side to the trailhead where we were picked up by Cannibal, the car came into view. It looked like I’d left the driver door window open. Oh crap. It rained hard and for a long time last evening. The car was going to be flooded! As we got closer, I kept looking, certain that the window was down but certain that I hadn’t left it down.

We crossed the road and reached the parking lot where I could see I hadn’t left the window down at all. It had been smashed in! WHAT?!?!?!? Oh crap. My mind raced trying to remember anything valuable we’d left in the car. I immediately felt violated and betrayed by the hiking community. How could someone do this to a fellow hiker? There was an unspoken trust between hikers. You could go camping and leave your gear stashed and not worry about being robbed. You could backpack in, leave you pack resting against a tree at the bottom of a mountain, grab a water bottle and go summit a 14,000 footer and know that your pack, your means of survival, would be untouched when you returned 8 hours later. You could scatter your gear in a shelter on the Appalachian trail along with 6 others people and know that not a single thing would go missing. Any faith in human decency that I had was suddenly gone.

We started walking around the car and sizing up the situation. It had definitely been done that morning since the interior was completely dry…and MUDDY!!! What the…? Sandy came around the corner and asked if I’d seen the note in the car. Huh? I looked through the missing window. Laying on the driver’s seat amongst the broken glass was a ticket from the forst service. WTF? I was getting cited for something? I could feel my blood pressure rising. I read the note on the ticket:

“Looks like a bear to me. I’ve filed a report. Please call xxx-xxxx.”

It started to sink in. The mud all over the interior, the long hairs stuck to the outside of the door, our valuables still there. Nothing seemed to be missing except some fudge we’d left. The container was mangled and the fudge was gone. My trust in the hiking community returned.

I assessed the damage (broken window, scratches on the outside of the car, muddy interior, glass everywhere) and started calculating what all I needed to do. Call the forest service person. Call my insurance company. Find a glass company to replace the window. Suddenly getting a shower and a big juicy burger weren’t top priority anymore.

We drove into Bailey and started making the calls. Within an hour we were on our way into Denver (windy ride!) to meet a mobile auto glass company at the hotel where we’d be spending the night. The window was repaired by 4 pm! Wow. AND I had the “claim of the day” with my insurance company – “A bear broke into my car and stole my fudge.”

Car taken care of, we headed into REI to get a repair kit for my dead water filter and to drool over all the cool gear.