Runner

College Runner Spends the Night in a Tree to Escape a Bear Attack

On August 18, Rachel Smith, 19, headed out for seven miles on the Big Otter Trail in the HaDaRonDah Wilderness Area, a trail she’s run dozens of times in her hometown of Old Forge, New York, tucked away in the Adirondacks.

Usually a morning runner, Smith, who’s on the cross-country team at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, left her house at 7 p.m. because work had kept her busy earlier in the day. She told her mom she’d be back in 90 minutes, tops.

Because of the fog, Smith opted to run on a snow-mobile trail instead of the main road, where cars would have a hard time seeing her. There’s no cell service where Smith runs so she never brings a phone.

Smith didn’t come home that night.

Just before the 3.5-mile turnaround, Smith saw two black bear cubs. An avid outdoors person—she attended Adirondack Woodcraft Camps for 12

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