That One Time A Bear Walked Right Past Me

Black bear walking down the road in Smoky Mountains National Park Tennessee

It was mid-November, and I thought I would go up into the park and shoot some Fall colors. The trees were fading fast and there were not many leaves left to be photographed, so I hopped in my car and headed for the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which is located just outside of Gatlinburg. To get there, turn out of downtown Gatlinburg at stoplight #8 and follow the signs to the one-way Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It’s a beautiful, somewhat short drive that makes for a great afternoon of nature appreciation after being in crowded downtown Gatlinburg.

So I had just turned in to the national park, rounded a corner, and lo and behold – this bear is walking directly toward my car!! I got exactly this ONE good picture of her, because I had my 70-200mm lens on my camera, and she was just too close to me to get good focus on her with my zoom lens on!! Notice the bumper of the car that’s coming from the other direction – we stopped and chatted out our windows for a moment as we passed each other, marveling at this site that we were just so privileged to have witnessed.

The rest of the day was pretty much a bust because the leaves were basically gone from the trees, but this one moment was enough to make my day complete!

“The gypsies believe the bear to be a brother to man because he has the same body beneath his hide, because he drinks beer, because he enjoys music and because he likes to dance.”
~Ernest Hemingway

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