This is the black bear we saw at Cades Cove. I know these six layouts are all the same . . . I have ten pages to do from Gatlinburg and I decided to make them all look alike, instead of trying to come up with different ideas for each spread.
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Our last day we drove to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and through Cades Coves, an eleven-mile loop through a preserve. We saw a lot of wildlife. Besides the horses and the turkeys, we also saw a lot of deer. At first we were enamored, and craned our necks to see every deer we could. Often we would walk along a short trail and there would be deer wherever we turned. About halfway through, the deer became just another animal. The turkeys were entertaining; ugly and awkward, they trotted along and made their funny sounds.
When we started the loop, I said, if I see a black bear, my whole day will be made. Maybe even my month! I love wildlife but am very rarely in the right place at the right time. About 85% of great wildlife photography is being there when the animal is. I was fairly pessimistic, but enjoying the drive regardless.
Through the morning we heard reports from other visitors that they had spotted bear and bear cubs. Not us . . . then, when we were about a mile from exiting the park, we saw a bunch of cars pulled to the side of the road in front of us. We pulled over and I jumped out, asking what folks were looking at. Sure enough, there was a black bear, hanging out in a clearing by the road. There was a park ranger there making sure people didnít try to get too close (not quite like approaching a turkey, I suppose!) and directing traffic. I had my long lens but not my L series, which is a much better lens. I did manage to get one great shot. I didnít want to block other peopleís views of the bear. About five minutes in, the bear hopped up on a fallen tree and posed. Seriously. He stood straight and still, turned his head toward the crowd, and stood quietly for about two minutes, then hopped down and wandered off back into the woods. I was so excited I couldnít stand it. I know for people who live in the country itís not a big deal to see a wild bear, but Iíve never seen one that wasnít in captivity, and I love wildlife. It made my day!
| Date: Sun February 2, 2014
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Registered: September 2007
Location: Apex (Raleigh), NC