Friday, August 14, 2009

Black Bears, Barns, and the Beautiful Smoky Mountains

Waterfall in the Little River, Townsend, TN

Little River

Old barn at the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.

View of the Smoky Mountains.

Cabin with a view.

Black Tail were very common in the Cades Cove area of the Smoky Mountain National Forest. They were very tame and easy to approach. These two pictured here were running towards a couple of other deer near the roadway.

Odd moss and fern-like growths on the sides of trees throughout the area.

One thing we hoped to see, but really didn't feel we stood much chance were the Black Bears. My daughter asked me if I thought we would see a bear and I answered by saying that the chances were probably pretty slim. We rounded a corner, and there was a large mama bear reaching up and pulling berries out of a tree. A few minutes later our daughter spotted one crossing a creek. Several miles down the road people were standing around looking up in a tree. We stopped and looked, and found two baby black bears and a mama. They were eating cherries out of the tree tops. One little baby was precariously hanging from a tree limb, several times he almost fell. Mama lost sight of them a couple of times and would jump from limb to limb until she could see them again. The tree would shake under her weight, and those little babies would hold on for dear life. They were so cute. All told we saw 6 black bears and got far closer than we thought possible.
Baby Black bear climbing a limb trying to reach his mama.

Gorgeous orange mushrooms in the timber.

Update: I finally got an ID on this mushroom--- it is Caesar's Mushroom (Amanita caesarea). They are named from being the favored mushroom of Roman emperors. This mushroom is found within oak woodlands, sometimes mixed with conifers. This mushroom is highly prized for its flavor, although best to be careful as it can be easily confused with other mushrooms within this genus that are highly poisonous.

Black Tail Deer in the woodlands.

Joey, Joel and Shaylyn touring an old mill settlement. We tried to figure out why this barn was built the way that it is. Does anyone have any ideas why it is elevated?

Update: Joey did some research and discovered the reason these barns were built this way was to provide shelter during inclement weather for livestock. It also provided and area for the farmer to shelf corn.

Tree tops--Smoky Mountains

Water chute at the grist mill.

Paddle Wheel at the grist mill.

Paddle Wheel House and Paddle wheel at Cades Cove.

Old Barn within the Smoky Mountain National Forest.

And you know you are in the South when you drive down Interstate 40 and as you enter Tennessee you spot a Rebel Flag!


  1. A very beautiful series of pictures, which show that Missouri is like a heaven on earth.

  2. Thank you Birdy for you kind compliments. Although these pictures were taken in Tennessee, our neighbor to the east. There are some areas in Southern Missouri that look very similar to this, and we do have black bears in Missouri.

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