Sunday, June 12, 2011

Work and BEARS!

Saturday I worked from 11 to 8:15. I had a helper with me, Matt, from Atlanta, and he is in his fourth year at UA (Go, Tide!) He had worked at Dollywood last year, but only in Merchandise, not foods, so I was his teacher. He was very quick and we worked well and hard all day. The rides closed for about an hour due to thunder in the area. Safety mandates that rides shut down at first lightning strike/thunder and not reopen for 30 minutes after last strike/thunder. The mini-melt stand is next to the newest Dollywood ride called the Barnstormer. While the rides were closed everyone wanted some ice cream, so we made a lot of money in a short time. This night, Gary's phone was working, and he picked me up right after work.

The new medicine (steroid) worked wonders, and his face is half as swollen as it was when I left for work this morning! YAY. He can breathe easier and see better.

Gary felt well enough to go for a hike to Abrahm's Falls off the Cades Cove loop road. We packed a lunch, grabbed our walking sticks (Gary is almost finished with his), and headed out. Yes, we knew it would be crowded being Sunday and all, but it was a five mile hike, so we hoped we wouldn't see a lot of people, just wildlife. About a mile in on the driving loop, traffic was at a stop, which always means there's something to see. Just follow the direction the cameras are pointing and you'll probably see it. Yup, there was a bear along the edge of the woods about 200 yards away. It looked around, and then ambled into the high grass and was gone. After that, there was another jam. People were pointing up and there were two rangers on the edge of the road. There was a bear asleep in a tree quite close to the road. And here he/she is:

We drove on and parked at the Falls entrance where there was another ranger that notified us of a mother bear and two cubs about 1/2 mile in on the left. Here we are with a family that decided to take their baby's stroller with them on this trail. They all helped pull, push, lift and carry this thing on some really rough terrain. We never saw them on the return trip, so I'm not sure they decided to carry on after they snapped our picture on one of three little bridges over streams.  The little guy is in the arms of Mom taking a shot of hubby and grandpa trying to get this over a 1 1/2 foot wide bridge.  You can see how narrow this is by looking at us.  Brave or ??

Gary is now standing in the middle of the river pretending to look through the binoculars.  We trudged up hill for a couple hundred feet and met people going both ways and resting a lot at the top of the inclines.  Here's a pic of the trail at an easy point.  Often there were tons of rocks and roots and steep inclines and declines.  We found a little spot to play in the water to cool off our tootsies and marveled at the beautiful rhododendrons in bloom.

We asked people on the way back if the bears were ahead, and they said, "Yes, Mama is on the ground the the babies are up in a tree about fifty feet from the trail.  Hmmm.  I' m not real fond of bears, as I've seen how they can hurt people, but no one seemed the least concerned (not even the ranger) so we carried on.   Finally we came upon a group of people all looking up.  The bears!  Mama was indeed near the river and two little ones were high in a  tree.  She rooted around a little and then decided to climb the tree to check on them.  Can you see her teeth?

Then she started climbing down with them and we all decided we should probably go.  There had been a lot of damage from the storm a month ago, and there was a lot of work on opening the trail that had needed doing.  But it was just beautiful.  We could hear birds, but not see any, and all we noticed was this little many legged creature.  
One more little bridge and we had made it (along with many others).  The falls were beautiful and Abrahm's Falls has the most water cascading than any other falls in the National Park. 

 Soothing to the soul.  We found a shady spot and had our lunch watching water spiders dance on the surface.  I left a little momento on the rock with another rock.  But at first rain, it will wash away.   Can this be the first sign of fall?  We are so looking forward to coming back to see the leaves in all their fall glory. 

We stopped at my favorite old house in Cades Cove: the Dan Lawson house.  I could move into that house tomorrow.  What a view everyday from that front porch.  The cars might have to go, however... 

It was an pleasant ride home and as we were cooling off, Billy the CG manager stopped by to ask me if I'd like a position in the office.  Every camper knows that if you work for the CG, your rent is $0.  So that is an attractive offer.  We need to find out what Gary's schedule is, and then ask Dollywood if I can work around Friday and Saturday (my days in the office), so we'll find out on Tuesday!

It was one of those days you cherish forever because it was so perfectly lovely. 

1 comment:

  1. What a great post. Glad to hear Gary is doing better! Loved returning with you two to Abrahms Falls!! How wonderful you had a chance to see momma and baby bears!!! Then you end the day with the cool job offer!!! Just remember the all work and no play thing ;o)))