Saturday, September 5, 2015

Vogel State Park - Going Away Gift

Tonight is our last night in Vogel State Park, our favorite state park in Georgia. Located eleven or so miles south of Blairsville at the edge of the Chattahoochee National Forest, there are bear warnings posted conspicuously everywhere around the campground. Campers are warned not to leave food or containers where bears can get to them, but many people seem to pay little attention to the signs. Our camping neighbors have told us about bears we just missed seeing twice in the two weeks we've been camping here. One bear drug a camper's cooler to the nearby creek sometime last Saturday night and helped itself to a $50 dollar dinner of ribs. Another bear walked across our campground at dusk as a blue grass band played gospel music on the lakeside pavilion not far away. While we heard excited stories about the bears from our camping neighbors, we unfortunately did not see any.

Exactly forty-two minutes ago, at 8:10pm in the fading evening light at dusk, we got our going away gift from Vogel as we walked across the parking lot in front of the visitor center. A full grown black bear slowly sauntered out from behind the split rail fence around the pear tree in front of us, not thirty feet away. It had been helping itself to the tree full of pears. Ilse could hardly speak as she hoarsely whispered, “Bear! Bear!” It only glanced back at us briefly as it strolled across the pavement onto the grass verge and casually walked toward the rental cabin on the side of the hill. The bear could not care less about us or our dog. Taz, our Golden Retriever was momentarily shocked as well, but couldn't contain himself and began barking wildly, just of course, as I tried to get a photograph. The bear began to hustle up the hill, then stopped once to turn around and stand on its hind legs as if to smell the air. Then it dropped to all fours and disappeared into the darkness behind the rental cottage. If Taz hadn't barked I might have gotten a better photographs. I got three, quick photos, all blurry, indistinct shots that require a page or so of detailed explanation to pinpoint the bear, but it was a unique moment we won't soon forget. Now I can apply my bear decal to the side of the camping trailer and feel like we earned it. A great going away gift at a great park. We will be back.

Really, there is a bear behind the tree... 

NEXT: Not all surprises are fun, at Manatee Springs State Park, at:

1 comment:

  1. I can "bearly" make out the image but I'm sure your mental pictures came out a bit less blurry. Glad you guys had a great time.


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