We spent the weekend in Gatlinburg at Laura and Stewart's Mountain Springs Chalet in Chalet Village. Sarah brought her friend Grace, and we got them to pose with this bear statue when we walked the parkway yesterday morning. Laura drove up while we were in town, and she came with our family's Grace and her friend Evie. They stayed down the hill at Buckberry Chalet, and Leslie was an hour so behind them, though she only came up for the day.
We walked from the parking lot at the intersection of the parkway and Ski Mountain Road all the way down to the aquarium and back. The kids couldn't resist playing with the big stone globe in front of Ripley's Museum.
We spent part of our afternoon enjoying the deck at Buckberry while the kids played inside.
We finally dragged the children outdoors and across the creek to enjoy Buckberry Creek, which was very low because weather has been so dry this season, not that it is a big creek to begin with. Still, there's a nice little spot on the creek where the little kids could climb around on the rocks and the rest of us could just enjoy the sound of the water running and the coolness of the creek.
Sherry suggested we drive the Cades Cove loop road, and we got everyone on the road relatively early to beat the worst of the traffic, although we encountered some. We saw four turkey, these two deer and a young bear that had been treed by about 15 to 20 camera-wielding tourists, despite signage throughout the cove admonishing visitors to keep at least fifty yards between people and wildlife. As a reminder, bears are wild animals and there are many reasons to give them plenty of distance. One is to preserve the bear in its wild state so that it does not become acclimated to people, become a nuisance and have to be killed. An even better reason is because they can and do attack and eat people. It was only the third wild bear I've seen in all my years visiting those mountains.