Friday, October 16, 2009

Wild Adventure in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!



My kids had fall break last week, and we headed to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to spend some fun time in the mountains. We met my parents and my sister and brother-in-law to celebrate my parents' 50th anniversary. Whenever we go, we always stay in an older motel that sits nestled between the mountainside and the river. And one day while standing outside my parents' room, I glanced up and saw this site (you may have to click on the photo to see the detail). I wasn't sure I was seeing correctly, but as I watched, dumbstruck, I saw this next photo...a bear coming down the mountain toward the parking lot! I couldn't even speak. I just pointed and made funny sounds (which my family has teased me mercilessly about!). :)

When everyone realized what I was pointing at, my sister grabbed her camera and started snapping. She was saying, "Oh, how sweet," and things like that as she got WAY too close to the bear. He walked around the parking lot, sniffing.

Thankfully, my brother-in-law had thought to run close the back of the minivan as soon as I saw the bear coming down the hill. But apparently, there was something that drew him to another car. He stood on his hind feet, put his front paws on the top of the car, then seemed to look inside. Meanwhile, my sister got down and snapped this next shot under the railing outside our motel doors.


And the last photo was the best. This is not zoomed. The bear got within about 5 or 6 feet of us before we scampered into the room and closed the door. We figured we better not push our luck no matter how cute he was! :)
What excitement! But there's still something scary about looking into the bloodshot eyes of a black bear!

I'll share more photos of the mountains once my son emails them to me from his phone. It was gorgeous in the Smokies while we were there!
Have any of you made any trips to the mountains to see fall leaves?

15 comments:

Angela Breidenbach said...

Holy Cow! That was close. We have black bear and grizzly bear here. We do NOT take close risks. Whew!
Angie

windycindy said...

The bear is really cute! You are braver than I am. The area looks very beautiful.....
Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

Mindy Obenhaus said...

No foliage trips for us. Sigh. That's one thing I miss here in Texas.
However, I have had a bear encounter before on one of our trips to Ouray, CO. Definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

Mary Connealy said...

I can see the writing on the wall right now. Or rather the writing on the HEADSTONE!!!!!!!!!!!

Missy Tippens said...

Angie, I bet you do see a lot with the wilderness in Montana! And you're much smarter about it than we were. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Cindi,

Well, stupid probably says better what we were than brave! LOL But he was so cute, and didn't act too menacing. Until I got close enough to see those bloodshot eyes. Then I worried he might be rabid or something. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Mindy,

We actually didn't see much color on the way over the mountain. But by the time we left, it had changed a good bit. I bet they'll peak this weekend or next.

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Mary. Never fear. Didn't you know I wrestle bears in my spare time?? :)

Belinda Peterson said...

Missy,
He is cute!! But you guys got so close. Amazing.

Janet Dean said...

Great photos, Missy!! How fun to get that close up and personal with a bear, though probably not safe. You never know what a wild animal will do. I remember taking a very close shot of a bear in the Smokies when I was a teenager. I still cringe about how crazy that was. But hey, we all survived to tell the tale. :-)

Janet

Project Journal said...

Hey Missy!
Wow! That was close! Last year we had big problems with bears in backyards at the start of winter. They were going through trash, climbing trees, and even breaking into a few people's houses! But, yours was really close!
Hannah

CatMom said...

Wow Missy! What excitement! We love Gatlinburg (had our honeymoon there many years ago) and that's always been our "special" vacation place with our kiddos (before my Parents went to Heaven we used to take them with us too, and always had a blast!). But we've NEVER seen a bear (which is kind of sad...my Daddy loved bears) so you were able to witness something very special. (of course, I'm thankful the bear wasn't aggressive with you so you're able to share these great pics, LOL!!). Hugs, Patti Jo :)

Missy Tippens said...

Janet, we're such daredevils, aren't we? :)

Hannah, that would terrify me to know they're around my house! I would worry about my doggies being outside. I'm glad you didn't have any breakins.

Patti Jo, maybe we'll run into you there sometime! :) We almost always see someone we know while we're there. This year, we saw one of my daughter's friends and her family. I'll keep my eye out for you next time! :)

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

How interesting! I love the photos. As a matter of fact, we have made our reservations for a secluded log cabin in Gatlinburg for my birthday. Wonder if I should be concerned?...

Project Journal said...

Hey Missy!
I hope you get this...I have awarded your blog the One Lovely Blog Award on my blog(project Journal)!

Come on over to accept it : )
Congrats!!!
Hannah