Bear Spotting — The Writers’ Block Goes to Cade’s Cove

What happens when a bunch of folks from The Writers’ Block head to the Smoky Mountains in tourist mode? Keep reading. I’ll tell you. 

I’m late making this post, since everyone else who went to Cade’s Cove with us that day has already shared their stories and photographs. In my own defense, we came back inundated with work trying to catch everyone up on how the meeting with @instructor2121 had gone, and where @thewritersblock is headed next. Below, you see @sk43 animatedly discussing something technical with instructor2121, who looks on from the far end of the sofa. Conversations haven’t slowed down much since. It has been a really busy week.

But here I am now, typing away. Looking at all these photos and video clips, I’m transported right back to Gatlinburg, where so many good things started. Saturday morning, June 23rd, we were already amped after our meeting with @instructor2121. Then lo and behold–a wild Enginewitty appeared.

He’d brought his good friend Abi along, and they decided to hang out with us after the meeting. A “light” lunch at Golden Corral turned into further shop talk about @sircork’s “Triangle,” not to mention the fact it was @GMuxx’s first American buffet experience–a study in caloric excess.

We also got to witness Muxxy’s first brush with American subculture as a group of oddly-dressed ___________ walked into the restaurant. Feel free to fill in the blank – I’m not going to because I don’t want to offend, and this surely would. Regardless of complete political incorrectness, I managed to catch his reaction on video and it is priceless. You just can’t help yourself around Muxxy–you’re gonna laugh. Guaranteed.

We headed out to Cade’s Cove, about an hour’s drive from Gatlinburg. Cade’s Cove is a National Park that preserves not only the natural beauty of the land, but the animals and the historical sites located on those acres. It’s an eleven-mile one-way loop, and we took two cars. Sircork and Gmuxx rode together, while sk43 chauffeured the rest of us, who were @jayna, @enginewitty, @abigale, @catherine813, and me. 

In the photo below, you see several TWB guys standing around looking important. Left to right: GMuxx, Sk43, Sircork, and Enginewitty.  Notice the camera in Sk43’s hand You’ll see in a minute why he was reeeeally glad he had that with him.We hadn’t made it halfway around the loop when we started seeing some interesting wildlife on the move. Storm clouds on the horizon probably had something to do with that; wild turkey and deer were looking for a place to bed down from the rain. At one point, GMuxx saw his first wild American bear, which prompted us to all stop and pile out of our cars like the tourists we actually were. GMuxx got a nice long shot of the bear, which appeared to be a juvenile frolicking in a patch of blackberry bramble. Completely without his permission, I’ve shared Muxxy’s photo that he took of this little bear as we watched from afar. He might allow me to leave the photo in place here, though, since if you click it, it will take you to the post he made about the Cade’s Cove trip.

Muxxy’s Bear

Here we all are looking at the little bear as he played. Left to right: Catherine813, GMuxx, Abi (with binoculars,) Enginewitty (on the car,) me, and Sk43. 

Bear Spotting

The picture above is Enginewitty and Sircork watching the Bear. Click the photo to read Enginewitty’s post about this day. He has a cool meme contest going that features one of the photos you’ll see below.

From there, we closed in on the halfway point of the loop, and to our delight a magnificent coyote darted from the cover of tall grass carrying a meal in its mouth – either a small rabbit or a bird. There was no time to ready a camera. But the split-second pose the coyote struck just before bolting between cars to vanish in the tall brush across the road would have been the photo of a lifetime, had one of us been able to capture it.

Not far from that spot, on a straight stretch of road with overhanging tree branches and a tall embankment on the right, I saw movement. Something black. Something close.

“Bear!” I shouted.

Sk43 (who is my husband, in case you didn’t catch that part) said, “Where?”

I pointed past his nose to the bear, who had made a ninety degree turn and was now walking parallel to our car, on the ridge above us, so close he could have jumped onto the hood without much effort. “Right freaking there!”

Scott (sk43) was halfway out of the car before he remembered he was wearing a seatbelt. He scrambled with the belt, finally remembered to put the car in park, threw his cell phone somewhere down on the road while Enginewitty in the seat behind him was beating the window: “Open the door! Let me out!” (Child locks. What can I say.) Scott freed Enginewitty, and there went everybody pouring out of the vehicle except me. I figured somebody would need to drive us all to the hospital pretty shortly.

Behind us, GMuxx was also leaping from the car as if he didn’t carry a cane. They converged in the road, safely away from the bear, until …

…the bear changed direction again.

Enginewitty, bless his heart, was oblivious. He was checking his phone, looking at the photos he’d already taken of the bear, and Catherine was looking at him, because he’d probably just said something that almost got him slapped, based on her expression. Scott was the only one in that moment who actually realized the park rule about staying so many feet away from wildlife was about to be violated in a spectacular way.

The bear came straight down the embankment and passed directly behind Sircork’s car. There are probably more pictures of that bear floating around on Steemit right now than there are Haejin diagram thingies.

The photo below was taken by Scott just before the bear headed down the embankment. Click to read his post about it.

Scott’s Bear

We had a good time at Cade’s Cove. It was a day I’ll never forget. Great things accomplished, great friendships, great way to spend an afternoon. We were wiped out afterward, though. My little dog Abercrombie took full advantage of Catherine snuggles all the way back to Gatlinburg.