GSMNP Consolation Prize: Bear Sighting

Each day that Daniel mans the counter at Little River Outfitters Fly Shop in Townsend, Tenn. (which serves as one of the doorways into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park) he answers various forms of the same question dozens of time.

“Where’s the best place to fish?”

I don’t know what he tell everyone else. My question was fairly specific and he kindly give a fairly specific answer, including a rough, hand drawn map and a request in the form of a suggestion that it might be better if the name of the stream didn’t appear in “the newspaper” or anywhere else. No promises were made.

I never reached the creek in question. A midday thunderstorm lasted long enough to muddy the waters. The rain was badly needed so I didn’t complain.

However, during the drive out from the washed out fishing trip we rounded a curve and met a black bear. A big one; shoulder high when standing next to a mailbox. It stepped onto the road and brought traffic to a halt. A bear sighting becomes the instant highlight to any GSMNP visit. This critter ambled across the road and up the driveway of a house with a park ranger’s car in the driveway. The photo is from the bear in the driveway. The bruin sniffed around the trash can then continued through the backyard and into the woods.

As for the undisclosed creek . . . it isn’t going anywhere. I’ll be back.