Saturday, June 13, 2015

Black Bears, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We are deep within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park today. What images come to mind when I say those words? Mountains, forests, rivers or perhaps fog, rain, smoke. Well, you would be right about all of those things. And then there is the wildlife. Elk, Deer, Fox and Black Bears just to name a few. On this particular trek the day my journey began, I was driving toward the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail when I spotted Black Bears alongside the road.

A female Black Bear, a mother no less, was feeding heartily next to the roadway while her two cubs were off in the brush a short distance away. This is almost the same place I had encountered a Black Bear off in the distance on another visit to the park a year or two before.

My camera was zipped safely away in my equipment bag. Darn! I reached back and unzipped the bag and pulled so as not to break anything on the camera. I got out of the car knowing the Bear was getting ready to head into the forest, but still kept the car between me and the Bears. You just never know. Keep in mind I have a 300mm lens on my camera so while it may seem I am right on top of the Bears, I am a safe enough distance away. If there is a safe enough distance away from such a powerful animal as the Black Bear. Keep in mind while photographing mother Bears that they will charge and fight should you get too close to their cubs. After a few minutes, the Bears had moved further into the forest and disappeared but I was glad to have seen them.

The following day having changed my plan of direction going into the park due to impending thunderstorms, I drove across the main road that eventually takes you to Cherokee, North Carolina. You pass Newfound Gap and the road to Clingman's Dome as you make your way up the side of the mountain and around the mountain and back down on the eastern side. As I reached the bottom of the mountain on the other side of the park, now in North Carolina, I encountered a group of cars. I knew full well it had to be a Bear sighting. This Bear was a large male Bear munching way off in the brush by himself. He spent some time in one area before moving away farther into the forest. You will notice as I cropped this image closely, this Bear is tagged. I hope it was not due to being a nuisance. If so, and he causes a nuisance by getting too close to humans, he could be put down. Let's hope the tag is for a study.

I enjoyed seeing the Black Bears and knew there were plentiful sightings from the alert posted on the park's website before I left home. Hope you are off to a good start to your weekend. Back soon. ENJOY!

Linking to Saturday's Critters


  1. Hello Carol, I love to see a Black Bear in the wild. And the Smoky Mtns and the Roaring Fork Motor Trail is a great spot for bear sightings. Your photos are wonderful, great series. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

  2. This is so " Close up and personal", and they are indeed magnificent animals. Looks like they have plenty of feed, and out after a winter of hibernation maybe . Superb shots.

  3. That is quite the bear ~ lovely shots and what a gift to travel and photograph nature's gems!

    Happy Weekend to you,
    artmusedog and carol

  4. I'd love to see a magnificent animal like that in the wild - from the safety of a vehicle, that is. Thanks.

  5. That's quite a scary concept getting up close to them but you did well :-)

  6. Great bear sighting! I love the Smoky Mtns!

  7. Hi Carol,

    Just letting you know that I'm enjoying the recent posts that I missed whilst traveling.

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