Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cade's Cove is truly a gem basking in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cade's Cove features vast farmlands, historic buildings where the settlers of yesterday once thrived and various wildlife which you will encounter as you take the scenic motor tour through the valley. You can stop at any number of visitor stops and go inside many of the cabins and out buildings. You really get a feel for what the settlers lives were like when you venture out of your car.

Along this particular drive turkeys were grazing in various fields as I entered the cove. Just past the entrance, I spotted a black bear and her cubs making their way through a field to a nearby woods. Continuing on, I passed a huge valley floor with a large assortment of hay bales dotting the landscape. And then it happened, the unavoidable traffic jam. In the middle of Cade's Cove, there can only be one reason to encounter such a traffic jam, bears. I sat for probably 15 minutes and then finally decided to pull my car off to the shoulder, get out and walk up to the head of the traffic jam. Just as I walked closer to the head of the traffic, about six cars up what should come tromping across the road between two cars and disappearing into a field of tall grass, but quite a large black bear. WHOA! I'm pretty sure it was a Papa Bear too.

As the traffic jam dissipated, I get back in my vehicle to continue on the drive and what do I immediately encounter but a deer and her babies running at full romp across a pasture, hesitating at the fenceline, then jumping the fence, crossing the road, and disppearing into the adjacent woods. Something tells me a black bear just might have disrupted their leisurely afternoon. I hope you enjoy the picks as much as I enjoyed the drive through Cade's Cove. Needless to say, some of the animals were moving kind of fast that day while the vehicles were moving quite slow. Sounds about right to me.

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