This is one way to keep children interested in the outdoors.
After six days at Family Nature Summits, we came home, did the laundry, and packed the car for three days of camping in Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We hiked, set up camp and got silly with wiffle ball nets. What could be so difficult and strange about that?
It rained on and off the whole weekend. Even though Cades Cove Campground was supposed to be full, several campsites were empty. I guess that $20 a site per night (less if you have a Senior Pass) wasn’t enough to convince everyone to show up.
On Sunday, we drove the Cades Cove loop and stopped to walk to the John Oliver cabin, shown at left, and Elijah Oliver’s home place. Elijah, son of John, had a more elaborate set up, with a home, barn, and several outbuildings. Since it was a half-mile walk to the second site, we only saw one family there.
We saw a bear in the woods on the loop, but the most exciting sighting was close to the campsite. Isa, shown here with grandpa, and I were going to play in the creek one afternoon. We walked through the campsite when Isa announced that there was a bear ahead. Whoah! The bear didn’t even lift its head. It kept sniffing the ground and we found another place to play.
When you get a campsite, you’re told in plain language to not leave any food, flavored water, or coolers unattended. We want to avoid attracting bears in the campground. Then you sign that you understood this.
Still campers are careless and forgetful. Our camping neighbors across the road left their coolers under their table while they went out for the day. They came back to this sign which also said that the rangers took away their cooler.
About 10 pm, I noted a park vehicle with two rangers, one talking to the couple. I stood and watched, curious to see what would happen. The campers got a $70 ticket (cheap at twice the price) and a good talking-to. Too bad!