There was another party of eight ahead of us and we fell back on the old adage of safety in numbers and kept them within sight just ahead of us. Obviously if anyone was going to cross that invisible threshold of bear tolerance, it would be the people in the front. A fourth of the way through our hike we came to a fork in the trail and the other party continued down the well worn trail while we, unfortunately, took the path less traveled. In fact, there was so little traffic on our route that we found ourselves alone wading up to our armpits through dense undergrowth – a perfect scenario to inadvertently stumble upon a bear. Our senses escalated to high alert and we started talking, clapping, whistling, yelling – anything to alert a bear to our presence and prevent a surprise encounter.
4 hours into the hike, we came to a fork in the trail close to the river (and a trail marker pole). By this time I had my fill of backtracking on the trail so we sent my husband off to scout out the fork to the left. He came back and said it looked like it was turning away from the river so we decided to continue straight ahead. That led us down to a wooden plank that crossed the river. The bank on the opposite side was really steep and I had read a report about someone crossing at one place and later seeing a better bridge. Since it wouldn't take much to beat a wooden plank we followed a path to the right along the stream to see if there was another crossing but we ended up at a dead end so we went back and crossed at the plank. Climbing up the dirt slope on the other side was quite a challenge. There was nothing to grab ahold of and the dirt kept crumbling away under our feet but we finally made it to the top. We figured we'd take the path to the right because Chugchilan was off to the right but it was a dead end. There was a fence between us and the town and we could see a path coming in from the left so we back-tracked and found a way around the fence on the left side.
At one point when Peggy and I were backpacking up the Beamer Trail we came to a fork in the trail and went left. (Yes, we did find the fork that someone had humorously placed in the trail. I was reminded of the Muppet Movie where Kermit came on a similar fork.)