Friday, June 26, 2009

Bear... bear... Big Bear... big bear chase meeeeeeee...!

One of my all time favorite movies, The Great Outdoors...I could watch it over and over and never tire of it. Well, now I can really identify with the characters in the movie with my encounter with a bear recently. OK...not too bad, but it was enough to make my heart skip a beat or two or three! My husband and I were on our way back from a wonderful week's vacation at Hilton Head with the family and stopped in Gatlinburg, which is one of our most favorite places to visit. (Not so much the town, but the Smokey Mountains). We thought about taking in the Dixie Stampede but GH wasn't interested in seeing a horse fight (even if it was to Dolly Parton music!), so we considered seeing The Temptations Review with one of the last of the original group. I called for tickets, found we could get front row seats (hmmm....not a good sign?) and the show was 2 hours long. Because of a sciatic nerve problem, I didn't think sitting through two hours of a concert would be the best thing after being on the road all day. So we decided to take the Roaring Forks motorway trip which we always do when in the area. We've never seen a bear on that route, but I had my camera...just in case.

It was about 5 pm and the shadows in the park were playing tricks with me because it seemed like there were bears everywhere. That was wishful thinking. As we rounded a sharp turn heading up the mountain, a van stopped in front of us and a lady stepped out of the passenger's side with her hand up. I took that as, "I've seen a bear and I'm parking it," signal. I grabbed my camera, jumped out of the car and ran around the parked van only to stop dead in my tracks. There in front of me about 15 yards was the biggest black bear! The lady put her fingers to her lips and mouthed, "3 cubs!" OK, I'll be careful.

As soon as I could bring the camera up to my eye from shaking so badly, I started shooting pictures. Most of them are very blurry because of how I was trembling. The feeling was one of exreme fear from being so close to the bear and raw excitement. By then several cars had stopped and before I knew it around 20 people had gathered to observe the mama bear and her cubs. She was very patient with us and went about searching for food and making sure her cubs were behind her. She paced back and forth but hissed and snorted occassionally. At one point she bounded out and that's when I took a running dash for the car. Thank you GH for having that door open!

Many people travel to the area in hopes of spotting a bear and even though one might be spotted, it's rare to get a decent picture. If I had a tripod and had set the shot up waiting for the perfect moment, then that would have been great. However those opporunities don't always happen, so I was thrilled to get the pictures I did. By the way, the cubs were just too cute!

postscript: When I was developing the bear pictures at a do-it-yourself machine at the local drug store, the pharmacist told me a black bear had been spotted around Roundwood, which is on the north side of Indian Lake. That is pretty far from their normal territory! Another black bear has been spotted between Dayton and Cincinnati.

Lynda's Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon

A childhood classmate of mine who I've re-connected with on Facebook, posted a recipe she likes for salmon. Leaving out some of the funny comments from her brother, here is the recipe which is, so yummy!!!

3 (12 inch) untreated cedar planks
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 (2 pound) salmon fillets, skin removed


  1. Soak the cedar planks for at least 1 hour in warm water. Soak longer if you have time. (I would soak them as long as you can.)
  2. In a shallow dish, stir together the vegetable oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, green onions, ginger, and garlic. Place the salmon fillets in the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for at least 15 minutes, or up to one hour. (I put in a Ziploc bag.)
  3. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat. Place the planks on the grate. The boards are ready when they start to smoke and crackle just a little.
  4. Place the salmon fillets onto the planks and discard the marinade. Cover, and grill for about 20 minutes. Fish is done when you can flake it with a fork. It will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill.

The Eagle Has Landed

While boating over Memorial Weekend, we decided to hunt the eagle's nest which we heard was nesting a couple of chicks. I was so disappointed not to spot any activity around the nest. As we turned the corner at the north end of Pony Island, I spotted what I thought was a vulture in a tree. Since they are so common, I didn't think twice about it until something in me said, grab those binoculars, dummy! Of course I usually pay attention to the little voice speaking, so I did. Imagine my surprise when that vulture was actually one of the eagles. I put my hand out in the "stop" position to my husband and pointed up, shoved the binoculars in his hands and grabbed my camera. Since there were leaves in the host tree, it was difficult to get a clear shot, but here is one which turned out pretty well. In fact, I submitted it to the Indian Lake Current and they published it on the front page. I felt honored! A couple of local residents filmed the pair of chicks and posted it to YouTube. This is the first time in over 100 years a eagle has nested in the area. There have been eagles in most zoos we've visited, but the thrill of seeing one in the wild is a great feeling! They are truly a magnificent bird!

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