Black bears are still fairly common here in the mountains. Even so, during our months here and our years in Tennessee I never saw even one. When I was a child and my family was on vacation in the Smoky Mountains we saw several.

But Sunday, as we were driving to Luray, a big black bear ambled across our path. Thankfully for everyone involved, we were on a very narrow back-woods road through the George Washington Forest…not near an interstate.

We saw the bear about a quarter-mile ahead of us and then go into the brush. As we approached that spot, there he/she was…about 2 minivan lengths away from us. The bear turned, looked at our van, and scurried up the hillside.

I was able to get a quick look at the bear’s eyes and snout before he/she turned. But what really caught my attention was the fur — it was the glossiest, cleanest, sleekest fur I think I’ve ever seen. Just plain beautiful!

Chris said, as we drove away, “that was worth the whole drive!” and it was.