Monday, September 22, 2008

Bikes and Tires and Bears, Oh My!

When I was a grad student in Knoxville, I used to ride my mountain bike around Cades Cove, an 11-mile paved loop in the Smokies. One very early morning -- so early that the mist that the Smokies are named for was still hanging everywhere -- I came over a small rise, and saw a big bear lumbering across the road in front of me. My first thought? "Cool! I get to ride by a bear!" My second thought? "Yah, NO!!!" I stopped in my tracks and waited for her to cross the road, which she did after very lazily sniffing the air in my direction. The next weekend, I rode with a friend around the Cove much later in the day, and we saw three baby bears way up high in some trees. I've always thought they were her cubs.

This story reminded me of that ... but this rider's experience was quite a bit different than mine ...

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