Trekking the Great Smokies

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
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225
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Trip End Nov 04, 2008


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Where I stayed
Smokemont camping - $20, no showers, bears!

Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Thursday, August 21, 2008

NOTE 23rd September: we found the photographs again so we have included them. So some parts of the entry do not make sense. This applies for next 4 days.

Photographs: sadly we had a problem when burning the photographs on a CD for this entry and the few pictures we had were deleted. So we have put a few links to make reading more pleasurable. "For your understanding, we thank you very much" (read entry on Chile cruise to understand the phrase better).

After a much needed rest we decided to drive all through the National Park to the other side, to Gatlinburg in Tennessee. Link: http://www.gatlinburg.com/

We had a wonderful and incredibly fattening pancake breakfast at the "Pancake Pantry" in Gatlinburg. And boy, was that place popular! We got the last free table in a corner. The portions are huge (as everything in USA), so Vero had half the brekkie packed for her and we could have it the next morning in the camping. Link: http://www.pancakepantry.com/

We did a little tour of Gatlinburg, which is a bit like Disney of the Alps, and Marcos was delighted to see all these T-Shirt Shops with items like 'Mess with me, and you mess with all the trailor park" or "Don't follow me, I just farted big time" (Matching T Shirt and panties).

So, we decided to have a good old trek at the "Rainbow Falls", as we desperately need to get fit again. We parked our car and started the hike up to the Rainbow Falls. After about  30 minutes, a man rushes down to us and warned us of a bear he has just spotted, he even took a photograph of it on his mobile. Link: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/

The bear was climbing a tree. He described very well where he saw it, so we were prepared. After another 10 minutes or so, we reached the spot, and sensed the strong smell of urine (non human and it wasnt ours!). Then, a woman came down towards us, still shaking. She also saw the bear, in fact it came right up to her out of a bush. She was so shocked, she threw a packet of nuts to the bear!! (Which is out of all the thing NOT to do!).

While we were still talking to her, we also spotted the bear! He was lingering near the trail, and appeared huge to us. It was a Black Bear (we never ever want to encounter a Grizzly, which is far bigger!).

A latino family passed us, and we warned them about the bear, considering at this exact trail there had been an attack only last week. But they walked on, even excited and pointing out the bear to us. However, having had enough Adrenalin for the day, we decided to join the lady on the way back to the parking. We had no weapon whatsoever to defend ourselves against a bear (and why would we...). The lady told us that a friend of hers was killed by a bear in 2000......

Link to bear attacks:
http://www.emsresponder.com/article/article.jsp?siteSection=1&id=8044

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America_by_decade


So, we returned happily to our camping, and had a nice little camp fire, and made sure no rubbish nor food was left behind, because one bear a day is truly enough! We also gathered that due to lack of showers in the camping our body odour would keep the bear away for some time...
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