“I saw a bear!”

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We set out from Gatlinburg toward Wears Valley, where I had scheduled exciting plans for the children.

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The road we followed, called Little River Road, conveniently wound alongside the Little River:)

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As we were driving along, Rebecca exclaimed, “I saw a bear!” I jerked my camera back toward the riverbank where she indicated.

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Not fast enough, unfortunately.

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Terry found a place to turn around safely, and we doubled back, but couldn’t find Rebecca’s bear:( We believed her, though, because we’d seen many warnings regarding black bears in the area.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States where black bears can live in wild, natural surroundings.

Bears inhabit all elevations of the park. Though populations are variable, biologists estimate that roughly 1,500 bears live in the park. This equals a population density of approximately two bears per square mile.

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Crossing this bridge, we noted a fisherman in the river, whom you might be able to spot if you squint. [Many miles away from Rebecca’s bear sighting;]  This one-lane bridge is in an area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park called the Metcalf Bottoms.

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Ahhh…Wears Valley…peaceful farms in the center of several mountain ranges.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Little River Road from Gatlinburg to Wears Valley, TN


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