Thursday, October 16, 2008

Black Bear Encounter

Most of you know that my family and I went to the mountains over the long holiday weekend. We had a wonderful time! Sweet Pea and I went horseback riding. It's the first time she's ever rode outside her practice arena. We both enjoyed the chance to trail ride and she's now convinced she needs a horse of her own ASAP. Great. More animals at my house.

We spent lots of time together just doing nothing and enjoying being together. We've all been busy and scattered lately - me especially. It was so nice to have the chance to simply enjoy each other. We all took naps, sat in the hot tub and roasted marshmallows on the fire pit outside our cabin.

However, the highlight of the entire trip has to be the 2 black bears we saw Sunday morning. We drove into the National Forest from Gatlinburg and it wasn't long before we saw a bunch of cars and people with cameras on the side of the road. We saw an adult to the right of our car as we passed by the melee but couldn't really stop without blocking traffic on a 2 lane road so we drove up several feet and parked in a designated area and walked back. Yeah. Probably not the smartest thing we've ever done.

I had Baby Girl with me and Sweet Pea was with 'Zilla a few feet back. The bear had moved closer to the side of the road while we were parking - about 10 yards away maybe. As it was eating and ignoring the people snapping pictures and making lots of noise I realized it was pointed straight for me and my babies, there was nothing between it and me, and that incline wasn't nearly as high as the one at the zoo. We turned and went back to the car.

A little ways down the road we drove up behind 2 cars parked on a 1 lane road. They were all snapping pictures and pointing. Zilla got out this time to investigate and I firmly told the girls they were to stay inside the car. Until we realized it was a baby. We did finally let the girls out so they could see the baby. And as we were watching it ran across the road right in front of us, stood up on its hind legs against a sign post, stretched and scratched at it - all while staring at us like he was posing for pictures. it was so cute! Of course, I was a little jumpy because we never did see mama.

So we had a great time, shopped, rode go karts, enjoyed each other, and of course the best part of the whole trip was free. Isn't that always the way it works?

Any encounters with wild animals you'd like to share? Or a really great vacation where your family had the chance to reconnect?



Problem Child said...

Sorry, but that sounds like a really good way to be eaten by a bear. Just sayin'

I could use one of those relaxing vacations. Disney is not what you'd call relaxing at all.

Smarty Pants said...

Now see, if it had been me, when I saw the baby bear, I would've gotten really nervous. Yeah cute, but there's always a mommy and she's usually not keen on people messing with her kid. The girls could watch from the car.

Black bears aren't quite as big or aggressive as brown bears, though. Unfortunately, they've gotten really used to people.

Glad you had a good relaxing trip. Probably made coming back to your hectic life that much worse... :)

Liza said...

The first time I went with my sister and her family to Disney was crazy, except for the one day my sister and I took just the two of us. We spent most of the day at Epcot walking through all the countries. Then we went to the Magic Kingdom and got to see the best parade. That day was the best part of the whole trip for me.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I've never seen a bear! But no, I don't think I'd get out of the car to do it. Deer are one thing, but bears?

My last vacation was a Caribbean cruise last Christmas. Think I'm in need of another one...

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Knoxville, about an hour and a half from the Smoky's. Our favorite family outing was to "take a picnic and go to the mountains."

When you said cars were pulled over and people were taking pictures, I knew exactly what was happening. Funny how that hasn't changed in the 50 years.

PC's Mom

One favorite family story is my aunt taking a picture of a bear with an old Brownie camera. Looking through the camera, the bear seemed to be far away. Everyone was screaming at my aunt to run and she finally looked up and the bear was only a few feet away! She ran!!

Bears are very interesting to watch in their natural habitat. The last time I saw a bear in Caves Code, he was moseying along, flipping over rocks and looking for grubs to eat. We kept our distance and he ignored us.

Thank you for sharing your vacation adventures. It brought back many happy childhood memories of family trips to the mountains.

Playground Monitor said...

When we went to Alaska in 2000, we rented an RV for both our means of transportation and our lodging. One morning as we were dumping the gray and black water tanks at the waste station in the camground parking lot, a mama moose and her twin calves sauntered right by the camper. Do you have any idea just how big a moose is????

Glad y'all had a great trip to the mountains.


Anonymous said...

Grrr! I'm not sure how "PC's Mom" got in the middle of the post. I'm think Blogger hates me as much as I hate it.

PC's Mom

Playground Monitor said...

When PC's mom mentioned folks lining up on the side of the road it brought to mind a memory from a trip to Yellowstone. You'd see lines of cars by the roadside too and usually they were taking photos of moose or elk or buffalo. In addition to photographing the wildlife, I also liked taking close-up photos of the wildflowers. I spotted a particularly nice patch of Indian Paintbrush by the roadside and asked the DH to pull over. I was crouched beside it, getting some good close-ups and all of a sudden several cars pulled up behind ours, the occupants got our and ran toward me yelling, "What is it? Where is it? Is it an elk?" They had cameras out and ready.

They were terribly disappointed when I told them it was only a patch of Indian Paintbrush and stomped back to their cars.

Kathy said...

We took the kids out onto a field to get pictures with elk at Yellowstone. Though the picture angle makes us look really close to them, we weren't. :)

We saw a mama moose and her baby cross the road in front of us too.

I can tell you some horrible bear stories from Alaska. No. I wouldn't get close to a bear. Just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

Ran into 2 bears yesterday while riding my horse. Bears bout 10 to 15 feet away and facing us. Cantering & horse froze. I locked eyes with the larger front bear. Bear then stepped toward us and that was when my horse freaked. He spun and took off at a dead run. Never had him do that before and took me completely by surprise. I hadn't been concerned with my horse. Had just been staring at the bears and deciding whether to hold ground or slowly back away. It sucked. Took a bit to get horse back under control and almost came off at one point. Hope to never come upon bears again. The horse freaking out freaked me out and he was spooked and anxious the entire remaining 4 miles back to the ranch. Me too.