Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Pause For Celebration Of A Different Sort!

Cades Cove Loop Road - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
July 30, 2013

You could look at it in one of two different ways.   You could say that Bill bought me a condo for my birthday or you could say that we stopped in the middle of an extremely stressful week to celebrate my birthday which almost went unnoticed in all the hoopla!  In either case, we did decide on the morning of my birthday that we would do NOTHING related to moving to the condo and simply celebrate in one of the places I love most.  

We were up and out the door very early because we wanted to be at the entrance to the 11 mile Cades Cove Loop road when they opened the gates at sunrise.  Early morning or dusk is known as the best time for viewing wildlife and we were not disappointed.   Literally hundreds of deer were grazing in the morning sun.

The mist was stunning as it slowly lifted revealing those mountain ridges along which I have spent many a day hiking.

We were very fortunate because I can assure you that it is quite rare to ever drive this road and see this far ahead of you with no other vehicle in sight.....................

We made it to the backside of the loop before coming upon what we were REALLY looking for.  She was a mama with an absolutely adorable little cub.  And we were so lucky in that we were the second vehicle to spot her, so we enjoyed about 3-4 minutes of watching them play before other cars started coming up from behind.

Before we knew it, the tourists had arrived in droves and my car was being hemmed in with idiots tourists literally pushing their children forward so they could get in the picture with the bears.  It blows my mind and the best thing for me to do is get out of dodge.  Even that was a challenge as people refused to move to let me out.  Being the extreme claustrophobic that I am, I was headed towards a full blown panic attack, but was finally able to maneuver away from the crowd.  So sad - simply a mom playing with her cub.  Why, oh why, can't we just watch and appreciate rather than antagonize. End of rant!  (And I realize you've heard this rant before.  Sorry!)

After completing the loop, we drove back to our favorite breakfast spot in Townsend, the Firefly Cafe where we enjoyed a quiet, peaceful breakfast as we were the only patrons in the place. This is rare as it is a VERY popular spot.

And then we drove home the long way across the mountain stopping to enjoy the beautiful streams and rivers I love so much. 

As I mentioned, we took the day off from any physical labor related to moving, but that didn't stop us from talking about it.  It was the perfect day and a most wonderful time of birthday celebration. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.


  1. It sounds like you had a wonderful birthday! I'm glad! :)

    Those tourists would make me so angry. People drive me nuts. How lucky you were to get there earlier!

  2. That seems crazy - we just had a bear attack a girl that was jogging in Northern Michigan! Glad you took some time and had a nice birthday :-)

  3. Love the pictures! Thanks for taking me along on your beautiful excursion.

  4. I'm glad you had a nice birthday.

  5. I love how you model the balance of emotions...and of knowing that you have a choice in how you see things, even when feeling some panic. Happy birthday!

  6. Happy birthday, Sharon! I sure did enjoy the pictures of a place that I have visited, thanks to you!

  7. Happy Birthday! Glad you took a break from unpacking and did something fun.

  8. Beautiful photos, and belated happy birthday!

    Nature is SO redeeming! every.single.time!

  9. One of these days, I want to do what you all did.... We've never been to CC at sunrise.... I'd love it! What time did you leave home???

    Great set of photos --and glad you had a Happy Birthday...

    I agree about the idiots...


  10. Happy Birthday Sharon!! And what a beautiful morning!!!

  11. Happy Birthday! Looking forward to hearing more about your new home. :-)

    We have two weeks left on our trip, and I must say I'm getting sadder by the day about leaving this little cocoon of tranquility my husband and I have created. However, as soon ad we get home I'll need to get cranking on finding a nice VRBO for our December trip to Key West. You were right . . . VRBO rocks!

  12. Happy Birthday, Sharon. And many more. Darwin award to the people putting their kids in the line of a bear for a photo!

    Safe travels and love the pics as always. :)

  13. Happy belated birthday! Great shots of Cades Cove, I'll have to try out the Firefly Cafe when we get there in October! I rejoined my gym yesterday in an effort to prepare for the trip and was appalled at how much my muscle tone really has declined. First time I've been on a treadmill in months due to the shoulder issue, of course, and my walking pace has gone from 3.6 to 3.0. Running from 5.6 to 5.0. Not really peak condition for mountain hiking, I have some work cut out for me.

  14. I did enjoy the picture, but even more than that, I enjoyed knowing you had such an awesome birthday!

  15. Happy belated birthday, Sharon! It looks like it was a magnificent day for both of you. Our cabin is in bear country, yet, I have only see one bear and that was when I was on my bike. I heard a crackle and turned to look in the woods, and there was the bear! He or she turned around very slowly and that was it. marvelous.

    That little road reminds me of one of my favorite biking roads in NW WI. Of course, we do not have ridges of mountains. Just hills. But, never the less, it is still beautiful.

    And BTW: you are correct, we are making new memories at the cabin. I started a "growth" chart wall in my study for all the kids. It will not replace the one we lost in the fire, but it is still good. The cabin is actually a really great thing that has happened to our whole family. We had to go through a fire to get there, but it is the right place for us now.

    ENjoy the upcoming hiking season!

  16. We drove the Cade's Cove Road when we were visiting the Smokies in April- unfortunately with a lot of other people! No bears, but beautiful dogwoods.