1997 Backpacking Trip

Davis Boys complete 35 mile trek
Sunday, July 13, 1997

Eric, Scott, Mark, Matt, Brian and Adam at the start of the hike
Eric, Scott, Mark, Matt, Brian and Adam at the start of the hike

The legendary Davis boys completed a 35 mile backpacking trip over the Fourth of July weekend in Potter County, Pennsylvania. The three day trip on the Susquehannock trail near Ole Bull State Park nearly duplicated a 4-day trip done with Boy Scout Troop 160 in 1995.

On the trip were Eric, Scott, Mark, Matt, Brian, Adam and Dr. Mike. The highlight of the trip occurred on our second night. Just after dusk, as we were settling down under our tarp, a bear walked boldly into our campsite. Dr. Mike heroically lept over two of the boys and hid behind Brian so that he’d be eaten last.

The bear grabbed Adam’s backpack and quickly got into the Gorp and next day’s lunch. While he was doing this, Eric was trying to get the fire built to a roaring blaze and the rest of us tried to scare him by yelling and banging pots. The bear obviously knew he was in charge and wasn’t the least bit bothered.

The bear became more bold, sauntering up to within 5 feet of Mark in his search for more food (the bear was searching for more food, not Mark).

After about 30 minutes the bear, who apparently had another appointment, left as quickly as he had arrived.

We saw another bear the next day as we continued our hike. This bear was a bit shy and ran away as we tried to get close enough for a picture.

The trail was only marginally maintained, with trees frequently blocking the way and many areas where the trail was difficult to find. At one point the trail narrowed to about three inches wide as it rose up the side of a steep mountain. With a fifteen foot dropoff on the left and a steep rise covered with stinging nettles on the right, the narrow trail in front of us had washed away. There was a five foot gap from one ledge to the next. Being young, strong, and slight of build, Eric leapt to the ledge and helped Brian across. With his great strength, Brian was able to catch each of us as we made the jump.

Matt made it over, and bragged saying “I am very dexterous in my new boots”, at which point the trail beneath him gave way and he slid down the embankment. Scott and Brian were able to lower some branches and help pull him up. Luckily, he wasn’t injured. Even more luckily, it wasn’t Mark since they’d never have been able to pull him up.

The trip was a great success! We had a great time doing all the manly-man things that boys and their dads should do together. The scenery was awesome, the companionship was perfect and the food was wonderful. It was a special joy to have the four older Davis boys and their dad be able to share this event together.

By the end of the trip our legs were sore and tired, and most of us had huge blisters on our feet. Each step was painful – and the pain lasted the rest of the week for some of us. But it didn’t take long to start talking about a possible trip for next year.