Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tennessee: Bears in the Woods

Momma Bear along the Laurel Falls path
I saw my second and third bears of the year, yesterday, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park -- and they were up close!

A cub and her mom were hanging out in a tree when I spotted them along the Laurel Falls trail. Shortly afterward, momma bear decided it was high time to climb down -- baby bear quickly followed her.

Come on down!
A handful of tourists took off up the trail, but most stuck around to see what would happen. Basically, the bears ignored the tourists and shutterbugs and hung around under the tree for a while.
Not too close.....
I walked on up to the falls -- nice, but not spectacular -- too crowded.

Earlier in the day, I was caught in a traffic jam on the parkway. It must have been four or five miles long -- apparently another bear and its cub were along the roadway and everything came to a stop. It felt like being back in DC on the Beltway -- this delay was 90 minutes, but the view was worth it -- amazing fall colors.

 At the higher elevations in North Carolina and Tennessee, this is/was probably the peak weekend.

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