A Bike Ride in Cades Cove and New Miniature Paintings

“How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains!”  

~John Muir

It was a cool, beautiful morning and Townsend’s quiet cove was enveloped in a thickly settled fog, as we began our drive into Cades Cove. Upon entering the National Park boundary, and rounding a few gentle curves in the road, we started to ascend above the fog, and the sun rays pouring through the forest-lined road, were now visible. We arrived early in the Cove and after unloading our bikes started our journey. The first to greet was a few tom turkeys in a nearby field, out for their morning strut and breakfast. Going up a bit and around the next few curves, we found ourselves once again surrounded in the thick morning fog. It greatly limited the view, causing a ethereal scene to unfold to our right as the golden grass covered hills gently rose to meet the heavy blanket of white, giving the appearance of the edge of the earth. I always love a scene which gives one such a feeling of stillness. It was actually thick and heavy enough, that we had to keep wiping our glasses to remove the accumulated moisture, and you could actually feel the delicate, miniature drops of moisture hitting the skin on your face.

The beauty of a nice thick fog is that there are surprises that await you along your journey, and we witnessed one such instance as we rounded a curve, opening into a field where there was a lovely group of deer quietly grazing. It created a most peaceful scene, hardly appearing real, that one couldn’t resist stopping to enjoy and bask in the beauty. After contentedly watching them, we peddled along on our journey, passing by a couple of the beautiful old churches that remain standing. Going down and around a curve or two, then along a straight stretch in the road, we watched as the fog seemed to lift before our eyes, affording a most gorgeous view of the cove surrounding us. We peddled happily along, basking in the magnificent nature, which I never tire of seeing, as its most always like the first time I’m seeing it all!

The absence of vehicles during these few hours of weekday morning, leaves nothing but the sounds of the fields of crickets chirping, the early morning song of the birds, and the gentle snorting and grunting of the deer accompanied by the rustling of the tall grasses blown by the soft breeze. This is the best way to experience it to me! Enjoying all of these delightful sounds as well as the amazing sights, we continued onward. Rounding the cove and coming to the other side, we passed an old log home and a barn, and then up a ways to the left we saw movement in the field. The closer we got the more movement there was, and we discovered it was a large grouping of White-tailed Bucks. It was magnificent, there were at least thirteen of them all together, and with a couple being twelve points! There they were, all contentedly eating there as a group, almost as if it was boys’ breakfast out. We stood there admiringly watching these beautiful animals as other cyclists also stopped, watching and taking photos of this quiet encounter.

Feeling totally relaxed and with spirits refueled, we quietly left the scene taking the memory and several future miniature paintings with us as we peddled along. Before we knew it, we had come to the end of our journey, and it was another great one, with totally different encounters than the one before! We arrived home in time for lunch on the screen porch, then it was back to the real world and painting.

Late one afternoon this past week, we got a phone call from our neighbor, Uschi, telling me that a bear was coming our way. So I excitedly ran out on the front porch to see if he was indeed coming, and looking everywhere, he was nowhere to be seen. I returned inside to tell Wes what the call was about and that I had not seen the bear anywhere, when all of a sudden Wes pulled up the blind in the dining room window and said . . . “There he is!” He was directly outside of the window, and I must admit for a brief second I completely lost my sense and though . . . “I bet I could slide this window open quickly and get one soft feel of his beautiful dense black fur, and slip it shut in a jiffy!” Obviously I did no such thing, but instead went and grabbed the camera to get a photo of this furry visitor. Then Wes did as we’re told to do and scared him quickly off. Well, I was in the basement yesterday evening and noticed a big, black blob outside the window, and quickly realized that it was “Gentle Ben”, walking down towards secret garden. Quickly I ran upstairs announcing the arrival to Wes, and grabbed the video camera! I bounded back down the steps after Wes, and got a nice little video of him.  Then, once again being a good boy and doing what they say, Wes went out and scared him off. He’s so beautiful and I feel so blessed to have been able to watch him so closely! So I hope you enjoy our little video of “Gentle Ben”. And by the way, I owe an apology to Bandit for his accused theft of the peanut feeder, as we now believe is was “Gentle Ben”. 🙂

Fresh off the easel: I’m continuing to alternate between my commission of Sweet Sampson and my miniature “Admiring the Connoisseur”, and still having great fun with both! Wes finished his miniature painting of a beautiful and peaceful scene from the Delano Amish community in nearby Etowah, TN, and is currently painting on a miniature of a beautiful landscape from nearby us in the Smoky Mountain National Park.

"Sweet Sampson" still in progress.
"The Delano Amish Community" by Wes, measures 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.


Until next time ~ Rachelle 🙂


10 thoughts on “A Bike Ride in Cades Cove and New Miniature Paintings

  1. i so enjoyed your video of the bear visit. Love to read your posts each week and always interested in what new adventures you’ve been up to. Like you, we live in a highly populated area with deer, black bear, bobcats and even a panther. I’ve jumped out of my skin a couple of times when I’ve been out in the garden by a couple of surprise visits. Each time I’m just thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to have such close encounters. We are in the NC mtns and visit Cades Cove frequently. Would love to meet you one day. Keep those wonderful posts coming. P.S. I also love the miniature paintings the two of you produce.

    1. Hi Jo Anne,
      So glad you enjoyed the bear video, and my enjoy blog posts so much! Sounds like you live in a wonderful area as well, and get to enjoy lots of visiting critters too. Have you ever heard the panther scream? I hear it’s a pretty amazing sound! We’ve been surprised in our garden by our resident, large black snake a few times. My grandparents use to have a cabin in the NC mountains, in Franklin. Beautiful area! Wes and I would also love to meet you someday during one of your visits to Cades Cove!
      Rachelle 🙂

      1. I’ve heard the panther scream. When I was a child, back in the fifty’s I heard it quiet frequently. It is eery. I have a black snake that surprises me frequently. My dad wants to kill him, but I told him he better not touch my snake. He keeps the other poisonous snakes away and takes care of the field mice. And of course I was in the back yard this summer and a bobcat came within 20 ft of me while chasing 2 white squirrels. One escaped, but I think he caught the other one. The bobcat didn’t even see me. And we have a resident bear that keeps destroying my birdfeeder.. Yes I enjoy nature We live about 15 miles east of Brevard in a little place called Laurel Park.

      2. Hi Jo Anne,
        My Grandpa heard panthers scream while growing up in Florida and said it sounded like a women screaming, very eery! We actually have 2 resident black snakes that we’re quite fond of, as they are great to have around. Wow, that’s so cool to have the Bobcat come that close! I have been feeding our friends beautiful White Squirrels this afternoon, as we’re now here visiting in Brevard. They are such gorgeous squirrels! You are probably not too far from where we are right now. It’s a lovely area with so many gorgeous waterfalls.
        Rachelle 🙂

  2. Shelly-I love reading your blog. I need to sign up for the emails. I usually have to spend quite some time catching up on posts!

    The black bear video was neat. I never would have been brave enough to video him!


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