Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Found a Bear on Curry Mountain Trail

At long last, just when I was beginning to think there really weren’t any bears in the Smokies, we came upon one on our hike today.  We were coming down the trail, curved around the side of the mountain and there he was digging for all he was worth into a bee hive.  The bear had the whole hive in an uproar.  I saw the bear and a bee saw me.  I got a good sting--boy, those little critters can inflict some pain.

With a bear in the trail between us and the car, we naturally wanted to get the bear to move on along, preferably off the trail.  We talked to the bear to make our presence apparent.  Gene blew his whistle, but the bear was in the middle of a meal and was reluctant to just walk away.  He finally turned his head enough to see us and then ran up the hillside off the trail.

With the bear out of the way, our next problem was the swarming bees.  I’d already been stung and didn’t want that to happen again.  We got out our ponchos and wrapped up for a dash past the hive.  That probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do.  If those bees had decided to get under the poncho, we’d have been in trouble.  Thankfully, we got by without getting stung.

Our hike was up Curry Mountain Trail.  The trailhead is across the street from Metcalf Bottoms Picnic area and that’s the best place to park.  There isn’t any parking at the trailhead, but there is a small pullout about 50 ft away on the opposite side of the street.  However, the picnic area is by far the best place to park.

Curry Mountain Trail is 3.3 miles in length and gains about 1000 feet--a gentle climb.  The trail is an old logging road so is wide and easy to hike.  Often summer hiking involves wading through knee-high vegetation along the edge of the trail.  No so on Curry Mountain.  The trail is wide and has very little vegetation, but the weed-whacker had been there anyway and had the trail in pristine condition.  Speaking of the weed-whacker, we have noticed a lot of trail work recently.  Gene says Anthony Creek had been cleaned last week and the ladies and I were happy to find both Thomas Divide and Newton Bald trails recently weed-whacked.  It sure makes for a more pleasant hiking experience.  Thank you, trail volunteers.
Another highlight of our hike was seeing several
yellow fringed orchids.
Curry Mountain junctions with Meigs Mountain Trail and the trail junction was the place for our break.  We were happy to find a fallen log so we didn’t have to sit on the ground.  In times past, this spot which is now where these two trails meet, was the location for the school which served the Jake’s Creek community.  There is no evidence of the school now.

About a quarter mile to the right on Meigs Mountain Trail is another of the old pioneer cemeteries.  We walked over there to check it out.  There may be 25 or 30 graves in the small cemetery and all but two were marked with field stones.  Information we found on the internet says Henderson and Huskey families are buried here.  Both of the grave markers were of Huskeys.

Our return trip down Curry Mountain was an easy hike and we were making really good time until we came upon the bear.  That held us up for several minutes, but we were still back at the car and our picnic lunch by noon.

We want to welcome our latest followers.  I don’t have a name, but they are looking forward to full-time RVing.  Planning for a new lifestyle is an exciting time.  They’re just getting started with their blog, as well.  Check it out at RV Paradise.  Thanks for tagging along.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Oh my! A bear sighting, a bee sting, and then good-bye. Sounds and looks like you had a more than eventful hike!

  2. Wow! You sure are brave ones. Instead of talking to the Bear and whistling at it, I think I'd have just backed up until he finished his meal.

    Glad you got out o.k.

  3. Wow! Always a thrill to spot wildlife, but a BEAR! You got some good photos. Glad there was only one bee sting.

  4. Did you know that baking soda will take away the pain of a bee sting and the itch of other bites. Just made a little paste out of it, it will stick to your skin. You could carry a small medicine bottle of baking soda with you. I was stung or bitten on the hand sometime this morning and it began to swell, I put the baking soda on and noticed it shrinking right away.