Thursday, October 15, 2009

Road Trip: Day 2 - Stay in the Pink Chalet, NO WAY!

"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving."
~Lao Tzu~

Stay in this Pink Chalet, NO WAY!We meandered at a leisurely pace, having no fixed plans for arrival, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee where we lodged for the night, towards the Great Smokey Mountains. We made a little detour to stroll along a 1.5 mile trail beside a beautiful mountain stream that cascaded into a small waterfall. The bridge was out, so we took the foot path, strewn with sweet spotty leaves, where we spied unusual vegetation, teeny tiny pine cones,

and dripping mountain springs.
The trees on the trail told a lovers tale as names, dates, hearts, and sweet sentiments lettered the them, carved by sweethearts past and present.
As we climbed higher, we passed a small cascade of falls.At the top of the trail we stood on an overlook watching a curtain of crystal spilling over the gorge edge creating tiny rainbows as it plunged into the pool below.
After our short reprieve we drove on with the Great Smoky Mountains rising up in the distance.
We arrived in Gatlinburg, Tennessee late in the afternoon and started the winding climb up the mountain to our chalet. Just as we rounded a hairpin turn we came face~to~face with a black bear standing in the road directly in front of our car. Handy Hubby grabbed the camera, which happened to be around my neck, nearly choking me to death as he snapped a few pictures, the first two face~to~face of which were blurry due to me trying to get the strap off my head. The bear quickly scampered up the hillside. I was beyond excited to see the bear. One of my fondest wishes was to see a black bear in its natural habitat.

Our chalet was at the very top of the mountain at the end of the road. Going up the narrow mountain lane was a little hair raising. On one side you literally hug the mountain and on the other you hug air with sheer drops into deep gorges. Cute little chipmunks play dodge as they run across the road with their little tails straight up in the air.

Our anticipation and anxiety mounted as we unlocked the door of our cute pink cottage. Remember when I said cute counts? Well, even more than cute, so does clean!!!!! Stay in that pink chalet, NO WAY! I won't go into detail but needless to say we immediately locked the door and headed back down the mountain where we could get a cell signal to call the owner and to check into a hotel. Oh, but I saw a real live black bear!

Our journey back down the twisted turning back on itself mountain roads got even more hair raising when we got turned around and got lost with darkness fast approaching. We hear the dreaded ding from the dash and realize with horror that the sheer climb up had used far more fuel that we realized it would. What was a half a tank of fuel was now near vapors. Holding our breaths and praying like crazy we coasted right off the mountain into a service station. Whew, that was close!

Long story short, another chalet was available, it was satisfactory so we switched units the next day and were happy mountain dwellers in a cute little yellow and blue chalet. The views were magnificent. At night we could see the distant lights of two neighboring cities below. As they say, all's well that end's well.

Did I mention that I saw a real honest to goodness live in his natural habitat black bear?
More adventures to come, stay tuned.....

Miss Sandy


Barbara H. said...

What lovely scenery! I was thinking about Gatlinburg for our 30th anniversary in December. I don't think I could take the tight mountain roads, though!

Looking forward to more of your travels.

Lorrie said...

Congratulations on seeing a black bear in its natural habitat! It looks like you had a wonderful time in a beautiful part of the country.


Linda said...

This was so much fun to read ~ I stayed glued to every word. :)

First of all, your photos are so very beautiful and professional looking. Fantastic!!

Secondly, I'm so glad you saw a bear!! That is so cool, though I think I would be really scared if I saw one in the wild like that. Thankfully you were in your vehicle!

Lastly, I'm sorry the original chalet didn't work out but glad you saw the bear along the way and found another suitable accommodation.

Unreasonable Grace said...

Sandy, I absolutely LOVE the Smokey Mountains and want to retire there. I, too, dream of seeing a black bear in his natural surroundings. I already have black bear decor in my home, ready to transfer to our retirement home in the mountains. In fact, my black lab is named "bear". Beautiful pix, very relaxing time away. Can't wait till my next trip next summer!

SharDon Exclusives said...

Okay, now I am curious.....did the black bear run or mozey off the road? I love animals in their own surroundings as long as I am INSIDE a
I am so glad you are enjoying your lovely trip. I sounds so peaceful. Have a wonderful wonderful time and just enjoy Gods' beauty.

marmee said...

your in my neck of the least in tn. hope you had a wonderful time.

Vickie said...

Miss Sandy - glad you found another cute little chalet to stay in. We're heading to TN this weekend to see my oldest son for his birthday. I love this time of year up there - the trees are magnificent as well as the mountains. Did you see a black bear on your trip? ;o)

Anonymous said...

Sandy, I am so thrilled that you saw that bear! It's been years since I visited TN but I remember when I was a kid on vacation w/ my family, the same thing happened and I was just so overjoyed. The plant that you picture is called Hearts a Bustin' - it grows here in Nalley Valley and a neighbor told me its name. It has pretty tiny white flowers in spring. Sounds like a glorious trip; can't wait to hear more.

The Feathered Nest said...

Ohmygoodness, I can't believe you saw a bear!!!! I know you must have had the best time Sandy ~ the mountains are always beautiful!!! We are headed to the N. Georgia mountains next weekend to visit my parents!! xxoo, Dawn

Susie said...

Sandy we have been to the Smokey's about a bazillion times and have NEVER seen a bear. And here you go off for a visit and wham, a black bear! I can't believe it!!! You dog you!!

Actually, I'm very happy for you. I guess it kind of makes up for a bad chalet. So sorry to hear that.

I do hope your trip was everything you had hoped. Look forward to hearing more.

Bonita said...

But did you see any bears? Like in the natural habitat and all? hee hee

Lori said...

Sandy, your pictures are so nice that you got to see the bear...we have been to tennessee for several years now that my family lives there...and i have yet to see a bear...the only one i have ever seen out in "nature" was the one eating from the deer feeder in our own back yard several years ago...THAT was a surprise let me tell was a black bear that had wandered over from pennsylvania...

LiLi M. said...

What a great post! I love to travel along with a fellow blogger. I love the woods, but here we have no mountains at all, hence no waterfalls and we have no bears either. So this was quite an adventure to me. Great that you even managed to take a photo of that bear. I would be so astonished probably that I couldn't make my camera work, well eventually, long after the black bear went home. Thanks for sharing your adventures, have a great weekend!

KathyB. said...

You had one of the best bear saw him / her, took a picture and the bear ran away! Life time dream fulfilled , nobody got hurt!

I love every part of this post, but have to say mountain roads that leave me, the passenger , gazing fearfully off the mountain leave me tense and white-knuckled! Glad you survived to tell us about your wonderful time!

Cheptoek said...

Beautiful photos! and you tell a story so well Sandy. Thank you! Looking forward to the next.

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