Close Encounter With Bears

I recently hiked 7 miles at the Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area, near Jamestown, Tennessee – more about that in the days ahead. This post recaps two instances in which I encountered bears along the trail.

Highlights: the park offers scenic overlook areas of the canyon, substantial sandstone cliffs, interesting geological structures, and a canopied forest trail system.

Bear No. 1

Have you ever had the feeling that you’re being watched? That’s exactly how I felt as I approached a small stream at the base of the canyon. I had the sense that something was out there, and so I stopped to survey my surroundings, keeping still to remain quiet. I didn’t see or hear anything. Here’s a picture of the stream, which I photographed on my return:

The trail followed the stream, slowing gaining elevation with distance. I was at a point approx. 15 feet above the stream when it happened – an adult male black bear easily more than twice my weight (235 lbs.) had snuck up on me and was within 30 feet. This was, no doubt, the source from which I had pondered moments earlier. It was a shocking sight, to say the least.

I stopped moving and wondered what was next – should I turn back in the direction from whence I came, attempt to climb a tree (which was problematic – these trees were tall, without low branches), remove and unzip my backpack to acquire a knife, or begin making noise (I can whistle really loud!)?

I instead opted to remain still, concluding that the bear was aware of my proximity and deemed that I wasn’t a threat – an easy posture to assume, given a girth of 500 lbs.! Watching for a few minutes, it was clear that the bear was undertaking his daily savaging for a meal routine, shifting rocks in the stream to un-house potential sources of food. This was in fact what first alerted me to the bear – the sound of rocks being moved.

When I regained my composure, I took this video and followed the bear from along the trail, staying back a distance while attempting to remain less conspicuous behind trees:

The large rock casually moved around by the bear in this video probably weighs at least 100 lbs.. Glad he didn’t charge at me!

Bear No. 2

I saw another bear higher up – on the trail along the ridge – which was either a female or adolescent estimated at 300 lbs. or less. As I was walking and watching the ground so as to not roll an ankle, I happened to glance ahead and see a bear on the trail – looking directly at me.

This bear was probably 60 feet in front of me, and, when we made eye contact, took off like a bat out of hell racing downhill through the forest on an estimated 30-degree slope. I was truly amazed at how fast it bounded down the hill!

More To Come

I’ll be posting more information and photographs of my hike at Pogue Creek Canyon State Natural Area in the days ahead… stay tuned!

Hen Wallow Falls In The Smoky Mountains

Walking through a hemlock and rhododendron forest, I’d rate the hike to Hen Wallow Falls as moderately difficult. This 90′ waterfall is situated in the Smoky Mountains along the Gabes Mountain Trail, taking between 3-4 hours on a 4.2 mile round trip.

Because conditions on the trail are often rocky – or, covered extensively with tree roots – proper footwear is very important! More than the knees or calves, it’s always my feet which are most sore the next day, having hiked over such uneven surfaces:

Several signs are posted along the trail to help hikers find Hen Wallow Falls

Footbridges allow hikers to keep dry while crossing over several small streams –

Here’s some enjoyable landscape scenery you’ll encounter along the trail –

Finally, Hen Wallow Falls

Prints

You may not live near the Smoky Mountains, but you can nevertheless enjoy nature from your home or office with a print of Hen Wallow Falls. Please visit my gallery at Pixels to review several pleasant photographs from my hike.

Video

Thanks for stopping by!

Ozone Falls State Natural Area

Welcome

Situated on the eastern edge of the Crab Orchard Mountains on the Cumberland Plateau, in Cumberland County, Tennessee, Ozone Falls is the third tallest waterfall in the state with an elevation of 110-feet. And, after splashing into the plunge pool, Fall Creek disappears underground – like magic! Approximately 30-feet away, however, the creek re-emerges from under several huge boulders, at a lower point downstream.

I visited the falls following a day of rain. As such, I encountered many slippery rock-surfaces along the trail down into the gorge. Hikers should use caution – walking sticks are a good idea – and appropriate footwear is strongly recommended!

Photography

Here are some photographs from Ozone Falls State Natural Area

Prints

Perhaps you’d enjoy one of my photographs in your home, or office? If so, then please visit my gallery at Pixels to select a print type to suit your interests.

Video

From the base of Ozone Falls, near the plunge pool –

Hiking Stinging Fork Falls

Welcome

Located along the Little Soak Creek in Rhea County west of Spring City, Tennessee, Stinging Fork Falls is a picturesque 30′ waterfall in a gorge with a deep, refreshing plunge pool.

The trail to the base of the falls connects with the Cumberland Trail, including a few areas with stairs. Following rain on the day before, I would rate the hike as moderately difficult, given that most surfaces were damp and very slippery. Proper footwear is strongly recommended!

This was my second hike of the day, following a stop at Ozone Falls – more on that another time.

Along the trail, I had the distinct pleasure of sharing the hike with a Jersey Girl who wore a fern in her hair – nice to meet you, Sue 🙂

Photography

Here are some scenes I photographed at Stinging Fork Falls:

Home Decor Prints

These photographs of Stinging Fork Falls are available in my gallery at Pixels on a variety of fine prints. Perfect for the home, office, a lobby or cafeteria, select from framed, canvas, metal, art, wood or acrylic print types.

Video

Enjoy the great outdoors!

Behind The Falls

Moss covered rocks and a recessed area behind the falls, as photographed at Northrup Falls in Tennessee. Keep dry and enjoy these waterfalls at home by visiting my gallery at Pixels. Select from a variety of print types – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. Other items, also.

Enjoy the great outdoors!

Lilly Bluff Overlook At Obed

I recently enjoyed hiking to the Lilly Bluff Overlook at Obed Wild And Scenic River National Park, located near Wartburg, Tennessee. Following my visit to Northrup Falls (Allardt, Tennessee), this was a relatively easy hike to undertake along my return drive home. I enjoyed sweeping views from the high rock outcrop of Lilly Bluff, sheer cliffs, the “Jack Rock” waterfall and scenic views of Clear Creek.

There’s so much to see & I’m looking forward to hiking more trails in the park!

Photographs

Prints

Print-types include framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. Customization options also available. Please visit my gallery at Pixels for more.

Video

Northrup Falls At Colditz Cove

Welcome!

Northrup Falls are located in the Colditz Cove State Natural Area, approximately two miles east of Allardt, Tennessee. Off the beaten trail, it’s an easy hike to enjoy the 65′ waterfall, as well as massive cliffs in a horseshoe-shaped gorge, recessed caves and a turquoise plunge pool. You’ll also enjoy an old-growth forest of large hemlocks and white pines, some of which are over 200 years old!

Here’s a map to the park:

Come prepared with good hiking shoes, as some surfaces – such as around and behind the waterfall – can be slick. Bring water, your camera, and, if you enjoy the water, proper attire for swimming.

The trail begins at the left end of the parking area, where there’s a billboard with information about the park. Or, if you’d prefer, there’s also a quicker start – a shorter 50′ connector route to the trail, found at the right side of the parking area. Either way, the path leads hikers to the front edge of the gorge, where the trail splits to loop in a circle. Turning left, you’ll encounter more rocks, cliffs and caves along the way, though both directions lead to the base of the waterfall. You’ll probably want to see the full loop.

This is a quiet, peaceful area without many visitors. I hiked the park on a weekend during the morning, and saw only a total of eight people – and a dog – in three small groups.

Here’s some of what you’ll see:

Prints

I hope that you’ve enjoyed these images of Northrup Falls. If you might be interested in purchasing a print, several are available in my gallery at Pixels. A nice addition for your home, work – or, as a gift. Thanks for stopping by!

Video

Baby Falls On Tellico River

Less than half of a mile down the road from Bald River Falls is Baby Falls, a much smaller yet nevertheless worthy scenic attraction. Located on the Tellico River in the Cherokee National Forest of Tennessee, a small parking lot and restrooms are available to visitors. I visited the falls following a few days of rain, as seen in the pictures below:

Prints

If you’d like to see different print types available featuring these images, visit my gallery at Pixels – select framed, canvas, art, metal, wood or acrylic.