However, I do a lot of exploring in wilderness areas and National Forest lands far off the beaten path. In years past I would see a fair number of wild animals. Over the past couple of years I am seeing almost none.
Take my backpacking trip last week into the Linville Gorge Wilderness. Now, that's a heavily visited wild area, but it wasn't what I would call crowded while I was there. My hike out I saw only a couple of people, and I didn't see one other person camping on Shortoff Mountain the night I stayed there.
Keep in mind that the title for my YouTube channel is "the Quiet Hiker" for a reason. I hike and backpack alone. I don't even talk to myself. If my sinuses are bothering me a lot I might breathe heavily, but that's about the only sound I make. Because of my quiet behavior I should see a fair number of wild animals. But...nothin'.
On my trip from Table Rock to Shortoff and back (about 12 miles round-trip) I saw one toad, one fence lizard...and nothing else. I didn't even see any birds. I heard some birds calling, but didn't see any. Not one. Not even a buzzard or a raven or a junco--birds that are pretty common when I go into the forests.
By this time, it can't just be the luck of the draw. I'm not seeing wildlife because populations are diminishing. It's very disturbing.
|Lots of scenery. No animals.|
|The Black Mountains. Two days, one night. I saw zero wildlife, despite seeing no other humans.|
|The last time I encountered an animal of note while hiking--a grouse in Virginia over a year ago. Many, many miles hiked and backpacked since then.|
A wilderness landscape absent animals.