Bears Bears and More Bears
My second full day in Great Smoky Mountain National Park was the highlight of my visit because it was the day I finally saw bears. And boy did I see them, I saw 8 different bears before the day was over. As my friend Tim can attest to, one of my goals when visiting the Smokies is to get a photo of a bear. Tough to do when you don’t see any which was the case of my first two visits. This trip more than made up for it.
The first bear I saw was on my way into Cades Cove early Wednesday morning. The male bear was on the side of the road foraging for food. Unfortunately since it was before sunrise and still dark out, the photos that I took did not turn out too well.
The next bear I saw moved too fast so I wasn’t able to get any photos.
I was on the Cades Cove Loop when I finally was able to get some bear photos that actually turned out which is the first photo on the slideshow. I hung around him for about an hour taking photos. He was too busy looking for berries and acorns to care about the 10-20 of us taking his photo. I’m guessing the Smoky Mountain Bears are used to people shooting (with cameras) them.
After shooting him, I started to head out of the park for an appointment when I heard about a mama and her two cubs. I parked the car and headed into the woods. Since nothing is more dangerous than a mother protecting her cubs, I stayed further away from them then I did of the other bears I saw. Though in all fairness, I was still closer than the NPS recommended 50 yards. The second photo in slideshow is mama up a tree and the fourth is one of her cubs.
The next bear I saw was in about the same spot as the first bear but since I had an appointment, I didn’t stop to take photos.
After my side trip to Pigeon Forge, I headed back to Cades Cove where the last bear I saw was causing a traffic jam on the road to the Cove. I must have spent an hour taking photos and of the about 800 photos I took that day, 400 of them are of him. Third and and sixth photo is of that bear. He was not far off the road and didn’t care that he was causing quite a stir among the park visitors. He stayed in the area for at least an hour eating acorns. He was still there when I left.
As you can see in the photo, my souvenirs from this trip (and that is not even all of them) have a definite theme. This trip was definitely Bears Bears and More Bears.