Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Adding Muscle

The pretty young redhead flexed new muscles gained on the rock climbing wall at her campus gym.
I don’t want to have BIG muscles; I just want to be that cute little girl who can lift 100 pounds.  I think I’m pretty close. I put on my Jeep doors yesterday.
Hmm , I thought,  We could really use some muscle around here.
Despite spending an inordinate amount of time on vertical surfaces and mildly alarming her grandmother, Emilyn has completed her Freshman year at Auburn, secured summer employment (climbing on things), and has expressed an interest in joining us in the mountains… Gasp! …for a few weeks before “camp” begins. Her grandparents could not be happier.  We have been home clearing space in the trailer (no climbing ropes, please) adding fishing gear and watching the weather.  Oops, we promised to “camp above the clouds” as we once did with her father, but yesterday’s reports from Mt Pisgah feature snow, wind and temps in the thirties – and that was our R&R stop between shower-less spots in the Smokies.
As usual, a max load of cookies is pouring out of Meme’s oven.  Take that, Muscle Girl.

And so it was for ten glorious Spring days in the Great Smokies, heavy generators were levitated into place, six gallon Jerry cans of water were toted, Grands were led up mountain paths and a young woman fell in love with the places she had been carried in utero just a few short years ago.

In Emilyn’s  words…

As finals were ending and the camping trip was approaching, I was growing more eager by the day. We celebrated Mother’s Day, ran a couple errands around Montgomery and Auburn, and by Tuesday at 11 we were on the road bound for Cades Cove. We had plans of fishing and hiking and driving the loop … to see some bears. The hiking went well. I even got the grands to take off on a rocky, uphill, 5 mile round trip adventure and no one complained the whole time. But the bears, now that part of the trip didn’t really go as planned… We thought we would see a couple bears with a few loops around the cove, BUT we took 7 trips around (morning and evening) and counted up a grand total of 16 bear sightings! I have over 150 pictures to prove it. I will blame the lack of fish I caught on all of the bears being extra active and hungry this week.


BEAR JAMS are part of the experience of riding the Cades Cove Loop. We score ourselves Bonus Points when we find the Bears ourselves. The traffic was sparse in the evenings and we were lucky.  We have the usual collection of pictures –the South end of Northbound Bears,

Bears buried shoulder deep in salad greens


and each displaying a perverse disregard for the assembled photographic talent – but we developed a kind of intimacy with one devil-may-care coyote

and witnessed a bear ignoring a clot of humankind (and the associated odors)  stand bolt upright and stare down our transient coyote.

We saw a HUGE feral pig, an unwelcome first for us in the Cove and unforgettable sunsets.

There were open field wild flowers,

an abundance of turkey,

wide vistas and quiet little paths to leave the rest behind...

...and a certain amount of hi-jinx...

To be continued…

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