Date Range: May 12 – May 17, 2016
Summary: We cross the Blue Ridge Mountains over to East Tennessee. We stop at Bush’s Beans Visitor Center and visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – and see some bears!!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- We had no idea bears could climb like that! Or that they liked to eat the tops of young trees. Turns out, their shorter curved and sharp claws evolved for climbing trees which they do to escape predators, find food, sleep and rest. They also target many plants in the spring when young shoots are most digestible and nutritious.
- Don’t be that person to go stand underneath a bear in a tree. I believe that is why she came down, and it could have been dangerous especially with the baby bear who-knows-where in the woods. I know it is tempting, but please don’t ever be that stupid just to get a photo. Plus, it is ILLEGAL to approach within 50 yards of a bear. (Since she approached us initially, I think we are in the clear. 😉 )
- The Great Smoky Mountains are FULL of black bears. We saw 2 more before we left. Be on your guard when hiking around, and carry bear spray just in case.
Bears inhabit all elevations of the park. Though populations are variable, biologists estimate that roughly 1,500 bears live in the park which is approximately two bears per square mile. At one time, the black bear’s range included most of North America except the extreme west coast. However loss of habitat has resulted in a significant reduction in this range.