We Saw a Bear in the Great Smoky Mountains

This Bear Wasn’t Scary

A simulation of our reactions if we had seen a bear up close in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Plus, we did see real bears, too.

A simulation of what would have happened if we had actually seen a bear up close in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. No bears were harmed in the making of this photo. No people, either.

As we were walking along the trails, there were occasional warning signs at the trailheads about possible bear activity. We read all the warnings, along with all of the precautions you should follow if you were to see a bear. But who has the time to remember those when they actually see a bear?

If we had indeed seen a bear while we were on the trail, we probably would have screamed like this and then run away. I don’t think we would have actually taken a selfie, but who knows? And this bear in our photo was just friendly and wanting to say hello. I’m not sure all bears would have been that friendly, however.

Real Bears

And yes, we did see real bears while we were in the Great Smoky Mountains. But every time we saw bears, we were in the safety of our vehicle along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

For our first sighting, Brant and Karen were in the car with us. Some cars ahead of us had stopped, and a couple of people were out of their cars with their cameras. That helped us know where to look. A mother and two cubs were down at the base of a tree several yards away. We got a pretty good look at them, but we did not linger long so as not to block traffic behind us. Courtesy to others is always a plus, after all.

On the next day, as we were leaving to go home, Laura and I took another drive along the Roaring Fork trail. Once again, cars ahead of us were stopped, and people were pointing at a tree. A bear cub was up in the tree, and another cub was at its base. After a few moments, the cubs ran across the road, and I am pretty sure I saw their mother in the trees there. Laura rolled up her window just to be safe.

Here are some grainy, blurry photos that came from having the phone zoomed in as close as it would go:

Bear in a tree in the Great Smoky Mountains

A bear cub in a tree

Bear cub crossing the road in the Great Smoky Mountains

A bear cub crossing the road

Just a reminder - if you do see a bear, treat it nicely. And also treat it respectfully. And if you want a good photo with a bear, it might be best to make up your own, just like we did.

Bible Verse

Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly. - Proverbs 17:12

About the Photo and Artwork

We took lots of selfies while we were out on the trails. All selfies were taken using various iPhones because we had those with us. Because I did not have a wide-angle or fisheye lens, I could not get all four of us in the frame with my camera. An iPhone was the next best thing, and we got lots of good photos of ourselves.

I added the bear by importing the photo into the Procreate app on my iPad and then drawing in the bear. While he still looks somewhat cartoonish here, he actually does not look as cartoonish as he originally did. This bear is much toned down from the first one I drew. And about the final bear as seen in the main photo above, Brant said, “That bear looks less intimidating than Yogi Bear if that is possible.”

As a bonus, here is a more normal photo taken just a few moments before our “bear sighting” photo:

Great friends in the Great Smoky Mountains

Great times with great people in the Great Smoky Mountains!

World Bible School

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Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.