August 9, 2021
I had a good night’s sleep in the tent, and got up at 4:00. As quietly as I could, I went into the trailer and made coffee. Sleeping on the couch, Josh waved and promptly went back to sleep. Martha and Melissa were in the bedroom, so I closed the doors in between. With no internet or cell service, I loaded pictures onto the computer and wrote up the events of yesterday.
I was surprised to hear Melissa’s alarm go off at 6:00. A little voice pleaded, “Alexa turn it off! Alexa turn it off!”, until she realized she wasn’t at home. She usually likes to sleep late, but she wanted to drive the loop and look for more wildlife. We filled our coffee mugs, took some snacks and headed out, some still in their pj’s.
It was a successful morning. We saw 21 deer, including lots of bucks and two bears. We see plenty of deer at home, but the bucks have learned to stay hidden. Since they aren’t hunted, they are out and they are very healthy. With miles of fields of grass and wildflowers surrounded with forests and mountains, they have a perfect habitat. There were also countless crows and a great view of all the horses they use for trail rides.
At the Dan Lawson Cabin, there was a bear up in a cherry tree! A park ranger, named Mark, was keeping people away from the tree. He explained how the tree had lots of cherries on it this year, but last year there weren’t so many. The bears break the limbs to get to the cherries, so they do a lot of damage. There are three or four cherry trees beside this cabin. I guess the good side is the bears spread cherry seeds all over the park.
Back at camp, we made sausage and eggs, and the kids got involved, helping on the grill. After breakfast, we hiked up Anthony Creek, 45 minutes up, then turned around. The kids complained all the way up, then danced and chased each other all the way down, giggling and laughing and playing in the stream.
After lunch came quiet hour and a nap. Melissa was back in the hammock, swinging away. In the afternoon, we went tubing down Little River, which took about two hours and was great fun. There were three rather thrilling rapids. A little ice cream at Burger Master on the way out of Townsend, then back to camp.
After dinner everyone wanted to take the Loop drive again. We saw a young girl standing in the sunroof for a better view. The find of the evening was probably the same coyote sitting in the middle of the road, looking at us just as hard as four cars were looking at him or her. When she had gotten her fill, she got up and started up the road, looking over her shoulder to see if we were coming.
We were all amazed at how easily the rather large bear got around in the tree, with total disregard for the crowd of humans below. The 11-mile drive is gorgeous, and the kids were so excited to see bears up in a tree and a coyote. They voted to come do it again in the morning!
If you Google Cades Cove Loop drive and go to Google Maps, you can take the tour all the way around in pictures! https://email@example.com,-83.8217267,3a,75y,55.43h,73.61t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sWnmA85WNJQFNZ7jgDpQYxw!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DWnmA85WNJQFNZ7jgDpQYxw%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D165.32419%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656