Today was a social day for me! I had lunch with Carolyn Jourdan. She was initially a customer of my sweaters, and has become a facebook friend, and now we have met! I now know her lilting smooth Tennessee accent! She used to work for the Park system, and is a life-long Tennessee resident. She has written great (#1 selling) books about both. Include one which you will see proved helpful! It was a joy to meet her!
Then I spent the day cleaning up the studio and saying good bye to Arrowmont, before meeting Sheridan and Steve for dinner. Sheridan coordinates the Artist in Residence program, and Steve is a retired Park Ranger. They previously worked together as Rangers in New York City. We had a delicious dinner of local Rainbow trout, and great conversations.
Only two more days so I made this one count. I found a great loop path where the first mile was a great warm-up, the next 2.5 was a deeply forested, steep up and down section and the final 2.5 just an easy, sunny, trail next to the beautiful Little River.
At the top of the steep leg, the sun was in my eyes as I looked up the trail. I thought there was a big black boulder next to the tree that was about 15 yards ahead, and 6 feet to the right of the path. But once I shaded my eyes, I was looking straight at a Black Bear! He was looking directly at me, but with more curiosity then menace. In Carolyn's book (see above photo) I had read a lot about what to do if you meet a bear, so taking that advice I raised my walking poles over my head hit them together while shouting “go away” at him.
Well evidently he hadn’t read her book, because he looked at me with the perfect
“what is wrong with you, Lady?” look.
So I quietly backtracked to where I was out of sight.I had a big bright yellow poncho in my backpack so I took that out and started swinging it over my head making as much noise and visual motion as possible. He was no longer there when I got up the trail again, so I guess he was done being entertained by the crazed tourist! But once again, my lack of ability as a wildlife photog showed; I never even thought to snap a photo of him, until my heart stopped racing and he was long gone!
A short way down the path there was a pile of very fresh bear “scat”. I figure he was walking up the trail towards me, enjoying his morning, and heard me coming. So, he nicely walked off the path to check out who was coming and let me pass. He is probably at his den right now, blogging about the strange lady on the trail!
The rest of the walk was relatively uneventful, but beautiful. I am especially taken with the yellow reflections on the blue running water in the streams. I am sure there is a quilt there somewhere, so I spent a long time playing with exposures and softening the water, as well as fast shots that shows the sharpness of the ripples and runs. There were a lot of Fishermen there, so I had to get a shot of them too!
People having been expressing dismay at the “lack of color” – evidently the trees are not on the correct tourist schedule, but I think it is beautiful anyway. It is hard to argue with crisp air, blue sky and bright yellows and greens, and touched of orange. I (car) wandered through the park for the rest of the day.
Here are some shots of the day - sans bear :-( .
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