Come and join us on a hike in the Smokies:
|Mommy and Gray watching the big kids (and Daddy) swimming.|
Swimming in a mountain stream.Steve and Grayson are sitting in the midst of a chilly waterfall.
|Vitali caught this moth; in a recent trip to the zoo, we learned that this is called a Buckeye. (I think)|
Pretty paths through the trees.
|The whole bunch of munchkins plus Steve taking a short break for a snack.|
The goal of the hike was this waterfall. The cool water felt great. We planned to go down below it to swim but....
...this Black bear had already thought of that. Then he started to come up the path towards us. We didn't really have anywhere to go if he did since he was using our path and everything else was rock walls. Steve decided he'd better walk towards the bear and make some noise to scare him off.
That black smudge ahead of him is the bear. My hero! (Steve, not the bear)
Beautiful views and plant life.
Little Grayson looks so cute with the big guys.
As we were walking back, Steve kept telling the kids, "Don't walk so far ahead, we can't see you around the bends in the path." And, "Stay closer to us." But, as kids will do, they kept wandering ahead. Suddenly, Ivy (7) and Vitali (8) came running back into view from further up the path. They were waving their arms and Vitali was pushing Ivy aside trying to get ahead of her, "BEAR!!!" they yelled. Sure enough, not 30 yards from them up the hillside a bear had stumbled and rolled down a little ways towards them on their path. Haha! The bear was unfazed and by the time we got around the bend we could see that he was working his way back up the hill. Black bears aren't very aggressive usually and this bear was no exception. So it was a funny moment and you can bet Ivy and Vitali stayed in view of us for the rest of the hike!