Monday, June 16, 2008

Cades Cove, Continued

Look at me, being all alliterative.  Two in a row, no less.  If you aren't an English language geek, please disregard.

I promised more from Cades Cove, and I try to not disappoint.  We had a great time and did a few things we've never done before, including riding our bikes around the loop.  It's an 11-mile ride all the way around, although we cut off the tip by riding through the cove on one of the cross lanes.  The longest bike ride for the boys (and probably me, to be honest) up until Saturday was about 3 1/2 miles.  We did close to 9 miles on Saturday, and they did great.  Thankfully, there are all those downhill sections after the uphill sections where one can rest and recover breath.  (Whew.)  We saw 5 or 6 wild turkeys, at least 12 deer - including 3 or 4 bucks, antlers coated in velvet, but no bears.  I don't have pictures because I forgot to bring my backpack, so hauling around my big DSLR was out of the question.  I do have a little video, but I haven't edited it up yet, so just close your eyes and imagine it...or go here to see what it looks like.

The boys worked through a Junior Ranger book, and as part of that, had to identify some trees by their leaves.  I picked up a couple of oak examples and sketched them in my large Moleskine sketchbook.

Oak Leaves

They also had to attend one ranger-led presentation.  We sat in on Ranger Mike talking about the black bear population in the park (about 1500) and J was selected to play the part of an approaching black bear, while Ranger Mike played a hiker.  He got to wear a real bear skin and attack the hiker. He was laughing the whole time - it was great.

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Ranger Mike swore them in and gave them their junior ranger pins.  Most national parks have this program, so if you are near one and have a little naturalist in your household, check it out.

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I'll leave you today with my boys - growing so fast and well...

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