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Day Twelve: Smoky Mountains

August 12, 2006

The Smoky Mountains are home to a large and robust population of Orange Bear’s cousins: black bears.

“And Mr. Crumpet’s cousins: tourists,” adds Orange Bear.

(A Smoky bear says hi. Photo: Judy Baxter)

Located at the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the Smokies actually claim a wide variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, bobcats, foxes, and groundhogs (woodchucks).

National Park officials reintroduced the elk in 2001 as part of a five-year project, but the current elk population (50+) will need reinforcements if the project is to continue for a more extended period.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is best experienced on foot and boasts over 800 miles of trails of varying length and difficulty. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Cades Cove Loop Road offer alternatives for car tourists.

“Watch for bears crossing,” advises Mr. Crumpet. “And please don’t feed the bears.”

Orange Bear shifts nervously. “You mean, except for me, right?”

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