Labor Day in the Smokies

Amy had the idea that we should take Jackson hiking in the Smokies today, so we packed up and went to Cades Cove in spite of the fact it rained on us the entire way (check out the pics here).  Once we got there, I had the same epiphany I always have on my rare trips to the mountains–we absolutely must do this more often, like monthly.  Being in the mountains, getting the heart rate up a bit, and being with Amy and Jackson are good for me on a soulish level.  Weeks of soul-damage are made right with one simple hike in the mountains.

Not that we did anything like hiking.  With Jackson it was more like herding and often like carrying, but it was such a joy to enjoy his enjoyment of streams and bridges and horses and leaves on the path.  We were about halfway through our planned hike when he asked to "ride the horsey" which means ride on my shoulders.  From his perch he pointed out and named everything he could see, and I commented in passing to Amy that "we didn’t need to worry about sneaking up on a bear." 

At which point he exclaimed, "There’s a bear!"

And sure enough, there it was.  About the size of an adult Labrador, walking parallel to the path and 30 feet into the woods.  I’m astounded that Jackson saw him at all.

Well, Amy declared the hike over at that point (last year’s mauling of a tourist in the park by a black bear is still fresh on everyone’s mind) and we turned around to go back.  The bear stayed ahead of us for a while before crossing the path ahead of us.  Amy was about 20 feet from him when she got this picture:


I’m hanging back with Jackson on my shoulders, a rock in my left hand and my 1.5-inch Swiss army knife in my right hand (what was I going to do with that?).  It was a way cool moment and a sweet gift from the Lord that we got to see this.  I’ve seen bears from my car before, but never on a trail and never this close.

We drove to the Cades Cove visitor center in the rain (the rain seemed to know when we’d be in the truck), had a picnic in the truck, and toured the historical houses there when the rain died down.  Jackson loved the barn, and my inner engineer feasted on an inspection of the working water mill.

My soul is quite happy today.


1 Response to “Labor Day in the Smokies”

  1. 1 Jason September 5, 2006 at 1:14 am

    What a great day! I have to say just yesterday I was thinking to myself that I really need a few days away… really away. You have just confirmed that for me.

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