Are you getting tired of our family vacation posts about Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains yet?? Well, rest assured, this is the last day to post anything mountain related until our next trip to the mountains (which with me can't be over two years apart.) I'm so sad! We leave in the morning, and then the day after tomorrow it is back to work. How did it pass by so quickly?
Well, we had a few things on the agenda for today:
1. See a bear.
2. Go to Cade's Cove.
3. Get some more "Christmas card" quality photo possibilities.
4. Hike to a falls of some sort with the baby.
Would you like to guess which of those things on the list got accomplished??
I'd like to think that we checked off numbers 1-3!! Yes!! We saw bears!! And I did use the plural word because there were three bear sightings for our family today!!!! Ahhhhh!!! (Background info to new blog readers: I'm an avid mountain lover. I have spent several summers in Montana. I absolutely love bears, and I just make it my goal to see one on every major National Park trip if I can!)
Here's the bad news.
I did not get one. Stinkin. Picture. Of. A. Bear.
Well, we set out from the cabin at our leisurely ten o'clock in the morning for Cade's Cove. It is a fairly famous locale in GSMNP (Great Smoky Mountain National Park) known for being one of the first permanent settlements over into Tennessee. Or something history buffish like that. There are several original cabins and churches you can visit on an eleven mile road or "cove" that sits in a beautiful valley nestled between the mountains.
Blah, blah, blah.
My reason for going? I had heard many a tale of active bears this season in the Cade's Cove area. Boy, active is an understatement of the century.
So we're driving along this beautiful river on our way to Cade's Cove. See exhibit A--
We decide to get out to take pictures of the river, cascades, and the waterfalls. See exhibit B:
Flowing water pictures.
See Exhibit C:
Mommy entertaining baby as Daddy takes more pictures.
See Exhibit D:
Me in the water with the baby.
See Exhibit---oh, wait. NO BEAR PICTURE.
Here's what happened. We were driving down the road, when we see some cars stop in the dead center of the road. Now, if you are not into the National Park scene, let me clue you in. If you see everybody stopped in the middle of the road--DON'T HONK! THERE IS SOME KIND OF GREAT ANIMAL TO SEE.
Sure enough, Mr. C goes, "Look!! It's a bear!!"
There in the middle of the river I had just been frolicking in above, was a black bear fishing on the side of the road!! It was GSMNP heaven, my friends!
Me: "Oh! Get your camera! Where's your camera? Get the camera!"
Mr. C: "I think it is back there."
Me: "Back where??"
Mr. C: "Um, back there."
Me: "We have to take a piiiiicccctuuuurrree! It will be a great blog post!" (Freaking out.)
Mr. C: "We have to move, traffic is backing up."
Me, fumbling around in the backseat. "WHERE IS IT?!?! PULL OVER!!"
Mr. C pulls over and gets out Mack Daddy Super Zoom Lens.
Me, handing Mr. C the finally found camera: "Go back and get the picture! Just don't get charged at by a bear or eaten or killed. I don't want to be a widow."
Mr. C gets out of the car, walks back towards the bear (yeah, we're dumb...whatever you'd do it, too), gets camera ready to aim for our bear in the stream pictures...
AND A STUPID CAR HONKS AT ALL THE OTHER STOPPED CARS.
The bear runs off into the woods.
Mr. C returns to the car.
Me: "Please tell me you got the shot before the honk."
Mr. C shakes his head.
Me: "NOOOOO!!!!" Then I proceed to throw a hissy fit saying mean illogical things towards Stupid Honking Man over not getting my bear picture. You see, we were the third people to see this bear. We would have had a golden shot because no one else knew about the bear yet. Oh, I was so mad!!
Instead, I get to show you some deer we saw upon entrance to Cade's Cove.
Who apparently couldn't do anything but look directly at us.
Isn't that all the luck?
But before we actually got to Cade's Cove...guess what we saw again? Oh, yes my friends. Another bear. Only this time the bear was high up in the tree, millions of people were swarming and pulled over to view the bear, Park Rangers were yelling at people to "not stop in the road", and I sent Mr. C with his camera (yes, again!) only to not have a lens able to see the bear because by this point he was too far up the tree. Mr. C said the bear looked like "a squirrel" he was so little. Oh, well. Onto Cade's Cove.
At least we saw some turkeys. I mean, who doesn't think your Smoky Mountain trip is complete without a picture of these guys??
Can you feel my pain?
When I finally got over the fact that I would never have my Smoky Mountain bear episode documented on film, I decided to at least document my cute ten month old. So we got out of car, let him have some fun playing in the open field below the mountains, and take pictures. I think we got some cute ones!
Then, in an effort to find "Christmas card worthy" photos, I posed with Micah.
Our family posed together.
We took pictures of the gorgeous (albeit bearless, nope, not bitter) scenery.
We found a tree stump to take Micah's pictures. (His shirt says, "You moost be joking" with a picture of a moose head in honor of our mountain adventures.)
Mr. C took some candids of nature.
This pic hasn't been photoshopped yet, but I think when it is lightened up it will be really cute of our little butterball. :)
By this point, my idea to go to Cade's Cove had turned into an all day affair. Who knew that an eleven mile loop could take four hours? Oh, yes it can! Especially if the car in front of you is going somewhere between 2-5 miles per hour taking pictures out of their sunroof the entire time.
Micah got in some good sleep, though. We pulled over, and while he slept played around with the camera some more.
Me in the middle of Cade's Cove.
My man in the middle of Cade's Cove.
Aren't we cute?
Ninety seven hours later, we were finally leaving traffic congested Cade's Cove with a vow never to go back during peak holiday season. By this point, it was four in the afternoon. That didn't leave us enough time for a hike, so we headed back to our cabin leaving all the beautiful fall foliage behind--oh! And another bear sighting on the way out also blocked by park rangers. We didn't even bother trying to get a photo this time. We just kept driving.
Day seven (Saturday--today) was spent shopping and enjoying our last day being lazy at the cabin. No pictures were taken, but...
We will miss this place! It was a wonderful week!!!