The drive down was mostly interstate, but when we got close, this is what the GPS (her name is Rosie Mae) looked like:
No other roads...just one road into the mountains...well, that's what it seemed like for a long time. After we got to our cabin and unloaded, Stevie and Amy decide to go back out to the grocery store. I stayed to cut up the veggies for dinner. As I looked out the front window, I saw a big old dog...or, no, a BEAR! The picture isn't very good because I was running to get the camera and running to get the picture and hoping the deck out back was really high as I ran out on it to take this picture...
Score! Bear sighting on the first day!
The next day we went to Dollywood. It is a wonderful park that wasn't a bit crowded and almost all of the people who work there are older and so friendly!
And we had our second bear sightning.
And a kitty and a dragon and an ostrich and loads of lovely horses.
Even though the tour guide book promised easy and level...I was dripping sweat off of my fingertips before the end of the 1.3 mile continuously inclined hike up to the waterfall. I tried to keep going, but I had to stop every once in a while to take a photo, right? pant pant huff huff
Look at that tree growing in that rock. The determination of those plants you see growing in the most unlikely and inhospitable places always amazes and encourages me.
As does their determination to reach the sun. This tree was hanging out from the edge of the walking path with a nearly 90 degree bend out there - always toward the sun...and see the little plants growing in the cleft? Amazing.
Yeah. Take your time taking this picture....no, really, I will just stand here...
The next three were taken by hanging the ever popular and versatile PaS camera out the car window as we were driving...I wasn't doing the driving!
Enough green for you? It was everywhere...and so hard to get a picture with a view. All those dang trees were always getting in the way. The last morning we were there, Stevie and I were determined to get a few good shots, so we got up early for the sunrise and walked across the road and down the hill a couple of cabins to see what we could see...now, there's a view! (the wires are for the cable car that runs from the valley to the top, almost directly over our cabin.)
And there it is again, complete with the smokieness.
Aw. Look, he's sitting down for a photo. Cute.
Um. So, yeah. That is the bear standing in front of the house (and deck) where we were just moments ago taking vacation photos to share with friends like you.(What I don't do for you people!) As he was coming up the hill, we were deciding we didn't want to be trapped on the deck with only a tiny metal table, our cameras and our wits to defend ourselves with. So, we decided to make a run for it....see, the wits would have been no help to us at all. Oh, and then, while we were running - up hill, early in the morning, in Birkenstocks-stopping to take the photo! Hey. I needed a breather anyway. Bear started moving again and so did I. Here's something that I have come to realize recently...well, OK, I've known I was overweight for awhile, but now I have a couple of good reasons to start taking those pounds off. My little husband and I went to see the movie, Cowboys and Aliens last week and when we came out I told him I had to get skinnier so he could be my hero and carry me to safety. At this weight we would have both died in the desert. Oh, and running from a bear...I was going to be more than a tasty snack if I had to run many more steps than I did! Just sayin'. Everyone needs some motivators!
OK. Back to the bear story.
Now, I am standing on the front porch of our cabin with a door knob within reach. This is exactly where I saw the bear on the first night we were there.
And again I ran through the cabin to our back deck which is plenty high, with no access from the outside. See? All safe...even after doing so many things wrong! We decided that he probably wasn't looking for us for a meal, but wanted us to get out of the way of his morning forage around the cabins...right?
Tomorrow I will show you house progress.
I am trying not to think too much about not going to school tomorrow for the first time in, oh, 50 years! I did get to go in today and help one of the teachers new to my old school set up her room. Thanks, Tina for letting me be a part of it all one more time.