My wife and I were hiking today on the mountain above our neighborhood. Mostly open woods, with some trails. Mountains of NC. A few minutes in, she saw a "creature" from a distance. Black and fairly small. I immediately thought about bears, but didn't want to sound paranoid or spook her. We kept moving, and in another couple of hundred yards we found a large pile of poop. Kept following the trail, crossed a creek, went up a steep incline with a switchback. Probably 500-700 yards from the spot where she saw the "creature" we found more poop. The trail wound around a ridge, and we found yet another pile of poop. All the poop seemed to be of the same vintage (very fresh). About twenty yards after that, we found the bear. It was running away from us by the time I spotted it. About the size of a large dog, but very stocky. I'd estimate 200 pounds. We immediately turned around and headed home, talking in loud voices. So my question is . . . did we see the same bear twice? Did we spook it at the first spot, and then inadvertently follow it up the mountain. Seems pretty unlikely. On the other hand, two bears in a small area at the same time sounds unlikely, too. That would double the number of bears I've seen in my life. Anybody have ideas? Did we scare the poor guy so bad he pooped three times in 20 minutes? Or are those woods crawling with bears?