My Summer Road Trip

August 5, 2014


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A walk back to the Vistor Center/Gift Shop
WOW!! The winds must really be strong up here at times!
Tucked neatly into a tiny crevice.
Layers of rock: colour, texture... Perhaps this picture will become one of my paintings...
From my vantage point I could see bikes leaving the summit. Notice the second bike using the left lane to complete his turn? There's a reason for that. When I attempted the turn at 10-15 MPH, I crossed a bit of yellow line even though there's extra width to that lane. Why? Not only is the turn tight, but there is quite a drop in elevation in just a few feet.
A view out from a window in the Visitor Center stairwell.
On the second storey, there was an art gallery containing paintings and photographs. The painting on the left somehow intrigued me.
A final view from the top. Better get out of there quickly! It's going to rain!!
And it DID rain on the way down making the descent rather cautious. I decided to stop half way down to see the wildlife "habitats".
They don't call the habitats a zoo. Although theh animals in the habitats are there because something has happened to them to prevent them from successfully foraging in the true wild, each of the enclosures is as close to natural surroundings as possible. The way they coax the animals towards the viewing public is to feed them treats on a regular basis.
The deer had just been fed lettuce before I came. They were already in the orocess of catching a quick drink then disappearing into a more secluded area (away from the people).
I know... a bit fuzzy... but I had to include this picture of the deer because I own a statuette by Leo Mol that is the mirror image of her pose. Have I mentioned that I came across deer on the BRP on at least three occasions? One encounter I'll remember clearly. It was sunny weather but trees along the road created major shade. The deer was ahead on a bend. He was standing in a shaft of light so his coat glowed red and orange and yellow. He looked at me before slowly making his way to the side of the road. Hello, dear deer!
Evidently the bald eagles were injured and can no longer fly properly. That's why they're in the habitat.
It didn't stop this one from continually trying to fly out. He kept hitting the fence and dropping. Stressful for him, and MAJOR stressful for me.
What animal do you see in this picture? There is one there (or maybe even two) but they blend in very well with their surroundings.
Meet Otto, the otter. (Not his real name... I just called to him that way)
Cute little guys. This one came right up to the glass wall to say hello. He sat up on his rear and looked to the left, looked to the right then twirled around for us. A real showman.
This one was using the log to scratch his back.
No matter how much he scratched, he did not seem satisfied that it was enough.
The bear habitat contained four bears. Three black bears and one ginger coated one. These two bears were already waiting for their treat. They KNEW the girl would be coming with it any moment.
No wonder we have stuffed teddy bears... bear faces are so soothing. Don't be fooled though! hahaha
The bears' natural habitat was quite extensive.
One of the black bears was completely tucked away from the other two.
No one even saw the ginger bear until the girl came with their "enrichment". Then suddenly, there he was, drooling for his treat.
Now they're all lined up, waiting, waiting... "Hurry up, lady!!"
"Finally! I just have to figure out how to get the chicken strips out of this stupid bottle!"
In the habitat area, there were also cougars BUT because they weren't being fed for awhile and since they had lots of room to do so, they were hiding from view. Therefore I walked back to the Nature Museum and Restaurant.
There were plenty of things to peek at. Here's a "bump on a log". This knothole (which was HUGE) came off the side of a tree. I've seen one this large (right here in urban Winnipeg) on an old elm tree in the West End.
This amethyst crystal sample was a couple of feet wide and about a foot tall.
A nice statue of a mother bear defending her cubs (she's standing on her rear legs... an aggressive pose for sure).
Before I left the visitor center, I was able to find a couple of gifts for my sister and niece.
US321 south to Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway to US221
US221 to Grandfather Mountain
US221 to Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway to New Switzerland
Blue Ridge Parkway to 226
226 to US70
US70 becomes I-40
I-40 to 411
411 to Sevierville
71 to Pigeon Forge

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