Monday, May 10, 2010

#35 and #87 - CHECK!

Number 35 on my list of 101 things to do in 1,001 days was to go back to Cades Cove in Gatlinburg to go camping. Justin and I did that very thing this weekend. We drove down to Cades Cove on Friday morning and checked into our campsite. We LOVE Cades Cove. It's our favorite place! Justin is obsessed with trying to find bears along the 11 mile road that circles the cove. Last time we went there was May of 2009 and you can see that post here. Here's a few pics:

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Justin and I saw this guy before anyone on the loop did, which is a very rare thing. We parked the truck and got out to head toward the tree to take a picture. The bear saw me immediately and looked straight at me while I was taking this picture.

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Of course that didn't distract him from chomping down on his lunch :)

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Once the cars behind Justin and I saw that we had gotten out of the car and were looking at something in the trees, they all started stopping to see if what we were looking at was a bear. This happens frequently and the traffic that comes from it is called a "bear jam". Bear jams happen all the time in the Cades Cove loop. But this was the first time that Justin and I caused one. It was pretty awesome.

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We did a hike to Abrams Falls in Cades Cove. This is me in front of the falls.

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Taking a break from the hike to enjoy the scenery.

We had heard from the guy working the campstore at the camp grounds say that the cut through in the middle of the cove to Hyatt Lane was where people had been spotting lots of bears. So Justin and I found that road and took it. That's where we saw this:

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Want it zoomed in?? Ok...

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How stinkin adorable is that??? There are 4 bears in the tree. One is the momma bear and the other are her three cubs.

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This one was really tired

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Our campsite.

Naturally, I had my handy little heart rate monitor on so I could tell how many calories we were burning. I burned 1,500 on Friday. So I didn't feel bad about eating some doughnuts and M&M cookies for dinner :)

The next morning, we woke up early and knocked number 87 off my list, which was to go bike riding somewhere fun. We brought our bikes and decided to bike a shorter version of the 11 mile loop. We used the Hyatt Lane cut through and it ended up being 8.5 miles total.

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The bike ride was awesome. Not as awesome as this bike ride, but still pretty cool. After biking, we got ready to do our hike of Mount LeConte. Like I've said in previous posts, this is a mountain we'd already climbed, but the last time we did it, we actually didn't go all the way to the summit. We made it to the lodges at the top, but the "true summit" was a couple hundred feet higher and we just didn't feel the need to go there. This time, we wanted to see the true summit.

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Me at the trailhead ready to start. To answer the question I know you're thinking, yes, it was friggin freezing, hence the long sleeve shirt and vest. It was unusually cold for May in the Smokies on Saturday.

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In that cave is a VERY steep staircase we had to go up.

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This is the view from Myrtle Point, a little below the summit of LeConte.

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This is the official summit of LeConte. Apparently people bring rocks here to try to make the summit higher than Clingman's Dome which is the highest point in the state of TN. Justin and I have already been to that. So even if they happen to one day make LeConte taller than Clingman's Dome, we can say we've been to both.

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At a great view on the way back down from the mountain.

The hike was 12 miles roundtrip. I must say, it was MUCH easier this time around. I remember having to stop more last time we did this mountain and being in more pain. Justin says that this is because LeConte was my very first mountain to climb, EVER and also because since I climbed it last time, I've climbed significantly more difficult mountains and am in much better shape now than I was then. P90X may also have something to do with it, particularly Plyometrics. And yes I wore the heart rate monitor that day too. Between the 8.5 mile bike ride and the 12 mile hike of the mountain, I burned 3,680 calories. More doughnuts and M&M cookies were involved...

Awesome trip overall. Justin and I have decided that whenever we are able to buy a second home, our second home will be in Gatlinburg. This trip makes the fourth time we've been there in two years. Obviously it's one of our favorite places to go :)

Oh and here's a video I took of the very first bear we saw. Justin HATES IT when I take videos and he's in them or talking in them. He didn't realize that I was taking a video until about halfway through it and he realizes he was on it the whole time. His reaction was pretty funny :)

4 comments:

A Bride In Boots said...

I'd like to have one of those bear cubs as a pet, please. Adorable!

Brenna Ball said...

I'm so jealous! I'm dying to go there again. My family and I went there every single year before I got out of high school. I haven't been in a few years, so I'm thinking it's time to go. Good thing it's on my 101 List! Glad you guys had a great time!

Lauren K said...

How cute are the bears in the tree!! I thought bears couldn't climb trees and that's why you hang your trash in a tree when you camp??!!

What a fun trip, love that you guys biked then hiked. I bet there are some sort of similar adventure races that you should get into!

Iva said...

OHMYGOSH!! I can not get over the adorableness of the bears in the tree!! SO CUTE! What a fabulous experience!! :)

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