Cades Cove Loop - Gatlinburg Tennessee

in Haveyoubeenhere8 days ago

Tennessee's one of the oldest states in the Union, officially admitted to the USA in 1796 as the 16th state with 34 to follow until 1959 when Hawaii became the 50th and youngest state in the country. The upper east end of Tennessee was part of the original 13 Colonies in 1776 before a new divide was drawn at North Carolina in 1861 following the American Civil War—there's a lot of history here.

40 miles east of Knoxville, Tennessee, and 40 miles west of the North Carolina border, surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains is Gatlinburg, a mountain resort town home to only 4,000 occupants. When touring through Gatlinburg or anywhere in Sevier County, Tennessee, reminders of 1861 are decorated on occupied buildings proudly displaying their softball-sized cannon holes suffered during the Civil War. Pura and I made the trip to Gatlinburg that day to tour Cades Cove—an 11 mile one way scenic loop road.

Images - phone

That was our intention—see a bear. Several locals here have told us it's common to see bear at Cades Cove and then @coloneljethro confirmed it. He's spent a lot of time exploring nature and told me he's only seen one bear—Cades Cove.

Well, Pura and I are both from California you see, where November and February aren't much different than March or September. In the Great Smoky Mountains, however, they have four seasons here which means it's so cold in November rain freezes mid-flight. Something bears prepare for—an elementary school lesson that came in handy only after we arrived. But I did see a chicken (me) after an unprecedented encounter with a turkey.


I didn't know what it was at first. I was about 100 yards away when I saw it scramble through the forest—I've never seen a turkey that big. Not on TV or in cartoons or anywhere, the thing was huge. You know those big exercise balls, the rubber ones? Not the medium size, either, the large one (usually blue). The bird was as big as one of those with that lengthy Adam's apple lookin thing dangling from its neck nearly touching the ground.

We made a quick stop at the souvenir shop at the loops entrance before committing to the two hour drive—11 miles, one way, single lane and popular. There's a forestry service right there, toilets, an adjacent campground overflowing with overnight campers, the parking lot's regularly loaded with tourists which means the whole area is protected and the surrounding wildlife knows it! All I wanted to do was see what the thing was. About the time I realized it was a turkey, I realized there's about five of them and they're not just turkey's—they're aggressive turkey gang bangers and they hate cameras.


I thought the thing was posing for me when I snapped that shot, we're distanced about 10 feet apart at the time. But when I clicked the photo, it let a sound that didn't go gobble gobble gobble, more like Intruder alert! Intruder alert! Intruder alert! And then I heard the feet of however many turkeys come crushing through the leaf fallen forest behind me—directly toward me.


Pura said it was a "weird Bruce Lee lookin spin move" before I ran like a chicken for safety. That's a nice way of saying weird ballerina all cracked out on energy drinks before I ran like a chicken for safety.


Look, I wasn't gonna get physical with the things, there's about 50 hysterically laughing spectators from the surrounding camp ground zeroed in on me like they're front row in the studio audience. One foot to the bird would've gone over about as smooth as brushing shark teeth. Judging by the surprisingly loud laughter echoing across the parking lot versus something like a heavy sigh of concern and rage due to a turkey field goal attempt, running like a chicken was a solid option.

So I did what anyone else would've done in that situation—jumped in the car like Dukes Of Hazard and hauled ass outta there!

Cades Cove Loop - Gatlinburg Tennessee






That's the best aerial view I could find with identifying markers—the loop's that yellow line. Inside the 11 mile loop is acres and acres as far as you can see of grasslands and valley. Immediately bordering the valley and single lane road is dense forest you weave through and around.

Park services were burning the grass in the valley that week but not on the heavily trafficked weekends. Exactly why they do that is here. In short, fire cleanses the landscape for new grass to grow back stronger and faster than the previous season.



There's many parking areas along the two hour tour to stop and take pictures or don't take pictures, or just relax if you feel relaxing. Often times we'd get stopped in traffic long enough I just aimed the phone out the window and clicked.

There's hiking trails and nature paths leading to scenic view points, secluded areas, rivers, and streams along the way. I don't think you could snap a bad shot out there if you tried. I enjoyed walking through the forest looking straight up at the sky, barely seeing blue because the Smoky's are so tree dense. I laid down a few times pointing straight up at the sky but they're just too tall.

Peaceful isn't quite the word I'm looking for to describe it but it's close, maybe tranquil. Paper shredding sound of trees brushing back and forth against each other in a mild wind tuned perfectly to the sound of running water in the distance, then right at your feet, then somewhere in the distance again. That and the only clock's in the sky—whatever word describes that.
















Loads of turkey's, no bears it seems. :)

My favoUrite Aussy, good morning @glaenkp, I appreciate your support on this one man. Thanks for checkin it out.

Yeah, lotsa turkey's, including the driver. :cheers mate:

Haha, favourite and only Aussie* quite possibly! 😂

All good mate, you always put together decent posts and whilst I don't always get around to them when I do I enjoy what I find.

They're there, they've just gotten better at hide and seek!

I knew this bear, used to like stealing picnic baskets with his mate, a smaller bear...Oh golly, the hijinks those two got up to! Lol.

for you

Cheers @eii! I appreciate your tenure sir.

Oh now that looked like a good day. The forests shots with the blue sky and the sunlight were perfect.

Now about the turkeys, you chicken, I can only imagine how funny that was to watch. Man, you probably couldn't survive living here on the farm. Those big toms are all over the place. They are so ugly, yet fascinating to watch. I have been known to chase after them when there's a big flock, hoping to get a few pix.

I know, I am a little nuts but nature turns me on, what can I say.

Have a fun weekend!

Oh @farm-mom I'm glad you made it by here, thank you. You always have the nicest things to say, turkey!

Yeah, I was center stage and that performance is one they'll never forget.

You guys must be about ready to leave, yeah? En route to Fla to escape this white shit falling from the sky?

A pleasure to read, as always!

You chose the better part of valor with those turkeys... kicking one of them may well have put you in the hospital. For them to flock at you like that, they were probably defending nests, and I can tell you from experience that just one of those birds can give a man the beating of his life. I got attacked by one when I was hunting, around age 10. I was just a little shit then, but one whack of that turkey wing knocked me right off my feet, and that turkey worked me over worse than the gang beating I took in KC.

If you miss the bears in Tennessee, try to make your way to Maine. Drive to any dump in Maine after sunset and you can watch all the bears you want from the comfort of your car. Just don't piss off any moose, they make turkeys look like church mice, and your car won't stop them.

Oh fuck dude, I laughed out loud just now, you painted a perfect picture—funny. Yeah, defending nests sounds about right, they were pissed!

Thanks man, I appreciate that. Don't ever hesitate to tell me nice things, whoever says they don't appreciate compliments can't be trusted. Like someone who says they don't play to win—liar.

That's two reasons to go to Maine now, it's on my list. I don't like lobster, can't stand it. Tried so many times and ways. Just ain't my thing. But I made a deal with myself a long time ago—until I have lobster in Maine, I won't finalize my decision.

Thanks a lot for stopping by @paradoxtma.

Stopping by is a pleasure, as always! I'm afraid you're not likely to find Maine lobster to be any better than, say Connecticut lobster. If you're into mussels, though, you can pull buckets of them from pretty much everyplace on the coast that I saw. The seafood restaurants right on the coast, with their own fishing fleets, will have the freshest, cheapest seafood you will find anywhere. People talk about the seafood up there, but the best part for me is the forest. There are places north of Moosehead Lake where you can drive for hours and not even see a utility pole.

Yeah but will I be able to access my email and what about navigation?! No poles for two hours sounds like someone's lost.

I've always lived in coastal cities, rarely am I land locked. We're in Tennessee right now waiting for these gates to reopen and I guarantee the worst fish in Maine kicks the shit outta the best fish in Tennessee. Never thought I'd say there's better crab than Northern Ca or Oregon and then I had some in Savannah. :zip:

Catfish, that's it. I love catfish, don't get me wrong, but when it's your only choice.....

Hey, @dandays.

Very nice.

Is any of that grassland actually pasture? I think they'd put that all to work here. We've definitely have our share of trees, forest service, BLM (the bureau of land management kind), and whatever other federal land agencies might exist.

re: turkey

Had a run in with one of those myself in 2019. It's too bad that pictures don't capture it because, as you say, it's a very odd sight, which makes you uneasy at best. There was only one, though, and it wasn't attacking, so you're experience was much more eventful than mine. :)

Good morning Glen! Oregon is gorgeous too. Coastline or not, the mountains are just as covered in trees. Some of my best times were spent there at Coos Bay.

Negative, no pasture. The land is all protected, originally settled by the Oliver family. Their settlements and old homes are still preserved. It's protected, private, and touristy, no farm animals grazing. Shocking, right?

Man at least you can relate! I figured even when they were coming toward me eventually they'd back off but they didn't. They actually made me turn my back and run.. Who's the turkey now? 👍🏿

No argument on the trees here. Oregon is very green and beautiful and very diverse as far as that goes. It's some of the people, the ones that tend to land in government or elsewhere influential that want to run everyone's lives and are allowed to do it that gets to me. I'd like a little more sunshine during the winter months, too, but I think both are pretty big ask. At least the rain contributes to the beauty, while the others do not.

re: protected

As I said, a lot of Oregon is like that, and were it the local people making those decisions, I'd at least know that it wasn't a decision being made by a federal government that only seeks control. Land ownership. That's a whole other topic for another day.

re: turkeys

Yeah. I don't know what happens if you stand your ground with turkeys. If they're like other animals, kicking the one through the goal posts may have made you their leader. Then you could be king of the turkeys! :)

:light bulb: Present Turkey King to Disney as a sequel to Lion King and maybe you won't have to hear your wife telling you where all you need to apply today.

Hmmm. Well, let's see. If it's a sequel...

The hyenas or some other animal herd with an axe to grind have somehow taken over, and this time they've taken out all the possible heirs. None of the other animals want to attempt to take back the pride lands, out of fear of death, until a wild turkey named Dandays is accidentally transported there by some means—probably a zoo or some sort of animal rescue organization.

Dandays is an outsider and so neither side really trusts him, but throughout the movie he's able to befriend some of the smaller animals and convince them that this can't go on forever. Maybe Pumba and Timon or someone we already know.

There's no way this plot has been building so the fact you just whipped all that up is impressive. Feel like I need popcorn and 3D glasses.

Looks serene .

Heeyy! Where have you been young lady? This is a pleasant surprise. You good? I hope you and yours are well.

Serene. Well said. Don't be a stranger.

Hiiii 👋. It’s been a while ....I’m good thanks .... how have you been ? Any interesting travels lately ?

No I wish! We're still grounded in Tennessee. The more we pay attention for flight schedules, the more we read about countries not allowing travelers without proof of Covid test. Then rumors about passports something something.

"No, I wish!"

Ha, damn turkeys. A bear is usually just curious/hungry, those bastards can be downright mean. You should've petted it, that's why they were after you!

Petting never came to mind, it's always the easiest tricks that work best.

I'll go out there out again this spring. I'm sure that valley will be colorful and the internet shows all kinda pictures of bear. Enough visits I'm sure one will scare the shit outta me.

I have a FB acquaintance who is a photographer and lives in the Cades Cove area.
Kellie Walls Sharpe
She makes a point of following up on families of bears.
This is from last Oct 2020


Oh damn! That's exactly what we're hoping to see next time we go. As in not for about five months next time. Oh, and I wanna see it from inside the protection of the vehicle too.

Thanks a lot for reblogging this @jerrytsuseer. I saw you just made a round through my articles, I really appreciate that. See you on the next one.

If you can get on FB and click the link, she has some FANTASTIC images.
Several years ago when all that area burned, it was tragic and she documented a lot of it though her heart was breaking

I'm one of the few who can proudly say I can't. To this day, I've never done anything in any of those instabookagram sites so I'm unable to access the links.

Ah, shucks!

All landscape photos are taken in East Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Additional Information
My name is Kellie Sharpe. I've spent all of my life here in East Tennessee. I've lived in these mountains or, in their foothills, all my life.
The Smokies are famous for having visitors turn into residents, and there's a reason for that....once you form a love for them, they become a part of who you are...part of your soul. leaving them would be like leaving part of yourself.
There's a softness about them.. a kindness about them.
To me they're like an old friend who's kept secret every part of my life which I've sat in their lap and whispered. They've allowed my babies to run and play in their coves and, they've allowed them to sleep at night to their cool breezes they send sweeping down to their foothills.
My kids have learned to drive on the one lane roads of Cades Cove and, I promised to marry the love of my life while standing on the highest peak you can drive to in the snow. The river's current taught my boys to swim and, it did the same for their Dad, their uncles, and their Papaw too.
My family is East Tennessee.. we are, and always will be, a part of the Smokies. My hope is that this page gives this amazing place, and God who created it, the credit they deserve.

Oh crap! That one worked sir. That photo called Cherohala.. I, @dandays - The Luckiest Guy I Know, have no words.

Hmmmmmmnnnnnnnn... Seems I've been missing your most recent posts from my feed list... How the hell did that happen...?!?!?!?!?

I'd bet those turkeys had something to do with it. They're known saboteurs of the highest order!!!

Unclick the mute button, turkey. Yeah, that really happened. Those things are aggressive.

How's it goin @angryman? You're not really missing my content are you? That is sabotage and should be investigated thoroughly.

I'm well, thanks. YES I 'AM' missing your recent content @dandays - must have something to do with the timing. Sometimes I check in here early in the day, while sometimes it is late at night. My life has no schedule that I'm aware of; probably never issued one prior to, or at birth?

Maybe I lost it and don't remember? Maybe it got destroyed by evil-doers...??? I don't know... Could be, it got stolen!!!

Either way, it can be confusing. I never know when to eat, sleep, do laundry, log in to Hive, shop or watch the sky for signs of extraterrestrials...

I've been curious what comes after forgetting what month it is. Thanks for being so clear.

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Hi dandays,

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This is a pleasant surprise, long time no see @curie, thanks a lot for checkin this one out. It's always a pleasure when you stop by. Thank you!

Yay! 🤗
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