June 14, 2011

The Surprise at the End of Our Hike

Being surrounded by such natural beauty, Matt and I felt we really needed to take advantage of being in the Smoky Mountains and do a bit of hiking.

We both have hiked and camped in the Smoky Mountains as teenagers with our respective church youth groups {one of our many parallel life experiences before we met}. We didn't want anything quite that serious, but rather a moderate hike lasting a few hours, so we chose the hike to Grotto Falls.

It ended up being a 2.6 mile round trip hike with the first half being a continuous uphill hike back to the falls. 

The sun was shimmering through the leaves, the birds were singing, and the air was freshened with the sweet scents of the forest. It was lovely.

And here is Grotto Falls. One reason we chose this hike was because visitors can walk behind the waterfall.

We thoroughly enjoyed our hike and jumped back in our car to begin descending the mountain's narrow, one-way road. Along the way down, visitors can stop and explore a few preserved homesteads. 

We stopped to enjoy this little piece of history and then continued down the road in our car.

Suddenly, as we were rounding a corner, Matt shouted, "Look what's on the road!"

This black bear only trotted along the road for a moment and then went into the woods just off the road. We pulled up next to him and happily observed him from the safety of our car for several minutes as he was busy doing bear-things, like looking up a tree, licking his paws, and scratching behind his ear.

We were SO grateful not to have met this guy on the hiking trail!

After we drove off from the bear, we came upon another homestead. We noticed a young mother and father and their four very small children sitting outside of it and eating lunch.

Seeing as how they were in such close proximity to a black bear, we felt obligated to stop and let them know.

However, after sharing the news, the couple just shrugged it off.

"Oh yeah," they said. "Someone else told us they saw a black bear a little bit ago, too."

Maybe they were locals who knew enough to know if they were really in danger or not. All we knew is that we had read a sign at the beginning of our hiking trail warning that bears in the mountains have become accustomed to humans and now equate humans to food. Yikes.


Our time in Tennessee was the perfect little getaway for me and Matt. We had the perfect mix of delicious leisure time in our cozy cabin and time spent enjoying the mountains and little towns.

We treated ourselves to an afternoon couples massage and spa bath, played mini golf, visited the Titanic Museum {really excellent}, ate lots of yummy food {the corn fritters with maple pecan butter were my favorite}, and of course, drank lots and lots of sweet tea.

It was the perfect little vacation for me and Matt to celebrate our reunion and recharge for our return to Michigan where, finally, our lives shall return to normal.

1 comment:

the woolseys said...

did you see your wedding ring at the titanic museum :) love you, deanne!


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