Day 70 – Bears Aren’t Real!

We’re 70 days in on this trek, and if I’ve come to one conclusion, it’s this: Bears aren’t real! We’ve done everything possible minus “bear hangs that are too good,” and all we’ve seen are 2.5 bears. I’ve night hiked with a pack full of fajita meat, camped in bear restricted territories, we’ve even hiked without our bear-deterrent dog (Stanley), and still no bears. Sure, we could be grossly negligent and cook our dinner inside our tents, but that would just be asking to be bear supper. I can come to no other logical conclusion after hiking through over 800 miles of the most bear-infested woods this country has to offer. Bears aren’t real! They are government robots used to conduct hiker surveillance and hiker nutritional analysis. End rant. (steps off soap-box)

So what happened on day 70? Weather was great. We got a chance to dry our gear. We hiked 10 miles and gave Sip a chance to catch up. We decided our tramily theme song is “Witchy Woman” by The Eagles. Mostly because Rabbit changes the works to “Witchy Doctor” or “Sippy’s Woman.”

We passed the 800-mile marker. I made it through my first roll of toilet paper, which lasted just shy of 800 miles. I’ve also gone through two travel-size tubes of toothpaste.

I started reading the book “Catch 22” yesterday. The accuracy to military service is uncanny and hilarious. Especially since the unit described is an aviation unit and the doctor in the book is a Flight Surgeon. All units and jobs I was assigned to in the Army.

Also, we come to the conclusion that we have been lied to, hoodwinked, swindled, and bamboozled. Much like the planet, Virginia is not flat (despite what David Sanders would have you believe). We’ve been joking around how, even on the flat parts, the local trail clubs will come up with piles of rocks and embed them into the trail to make it more challenging. That said, the final 185 miles of Virginia look pretty cruise-y.

We stayed at Brown Mountain Shelter. The hike in was very chill and followed a creek the last 4 miles or so. Tomorrow is a 22-mile day to The Priest Shelter that apparently has a juicy logbook with many confessions. I’ll have to soul-search for what to put in the book.

Until then, stow away in my pack for day 71 on the Appalachian Trail.

You can follow Witch Doctor on Instagram @barkleycharles



David Sanders

I’m so freaking proud of you my dude. To have a book published, while still killing it in the Army, is truly remarkable. You are the realist of the real ones, and one of the best fathers I know. It’s all made even more impressive by the fact that you think the Earth is flat. I look up to you big time, and hope our paths cross again soon.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 7

  • Charlotte : Jun 24th

    OMG you, Sip and Rabbit are so entertaining! Great books you’ve chosen for your thru hike! Catch 22 was marvelous! So was the movie! Look forward to your next installment.

  • thetentman : Jun 25th

    Nice post. And the pics were superb.

    Catch 22 was/is great.

    If you really want to see Bears. Keep your eyes open in NJ and stay at the Fingerboard shelter in Harriman State Park in NY.


  • Vince : Jun 25th

    Lots of bears on the Kittatinny ridge in NJ. Had a young 150 lb. or so male bluff charge me there. Fair winds and following seas.
    Vince aka The Dude, SOBO, LASH, 16, 17, 18, and beyond.

  • Ray : Jun 25th

    I love that…”Bear hangs that are too good” I wonder if everyone got the reference?

  • Jingle Bells : Jun 25th

    More areas restricted than ever before (seemingly ?). A woman got bit. Has seen one yourself every ~320 miles but the headline is “bears aren’t real? If your average continued to the end that would be nearly 7 bears on the trail but they’re not real. Lost me on that one.

    • Lauren : Jun 25th

      It’s a joke. This post also contains references to other bloggers and their bad takes about bears 🐻

      I am sure every single thru hiker knows about the hiker who got bit. This blog is poking fun at people who cook in their tents, sleep with toiletries in tent and snack wrappers in pockets, and camp in areas closed due to bear activity … And then react stupidly when (surprise surprise) a bear bothers them at night.

  • Lauren : Jun 25th

    Hmmm. I guess your bear hangs just suck, LOL. I did get the reference and I loved it. My eyes rolled so far back in my head when I read about the “too good” bear hang, they’re actually stuck that way now. I guess some people really struggle with logic.


What Do You Think?