Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Seventy-Five and Feeling Fine



Magnet # 26: Great Smoky Mountains Black Bear Cub

Material: Resin

Purchased by: Mom & Dad

Today is the 75th rededication of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A concert will be held tonight for two thousand lucky people in Newfound Gap on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. 1,100 tickets were given away to the public for free back in mid-August and went in less than a day. Guess they like their Dolly Parton up there - she's set to headline the event.

Love this one! As you can see, the bear rises out of the magnet, coming right out at the viewer. And the detail is incredible! There is a different kind of texture on the cub, the branch, and the needles. The whole background is covered with cut in lines for the needles. If I didn't know better, I'd think it had been hand made - it looks that good.

I visited Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains several times when I was in junior high and high school. It wasn't that far a trip from Alabama, so it made for a good vacation spot. We'd rent a cabin that was owned by time sharers. It was so nice - some people would really decorate these cabins so they'd feel like home in a way a hotel never would. My favorite cabin was a 3-story one which started on the ground floor and progressed down to the final floor. It was so cool - I had the bottom floor all to myself. We stayed there a couple time - I even brought a friend once. Unfortunately, the cabin did not agree with me - I'd usually end up getting sick with allergies during and after the visit.

We didn't spend a huge amount of time at the cabin, anyway - there's so much to do in the area! We shopped at the outlet malls and visited Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, stopped by the craft shops in Gatlinburg, and, of course, saw the park itself. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited of all the National Parks. It straddles Tennessee and North Carolina, which makes it a great travel destination throughout the Southern, Eastern, and Central states. It's almost exactly split between the two states. Of its 521,086 acres, North Carolina only has 31,602 more than Tennessee. Congress chartered the park in 1934 and FDR himself dedicated it in 1940. Visitors there can participate in activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and picnicking. We enjoyed sitting by streams and dipping our feet in the water. Listening to the running water was so relaxing. I also liked to find animal tracks. Considering the park has animals ranging from black bears, cougars, deer, elk, and many more, there were plenty to be found.

Haven't seen the Great Smoky Mountains? I recommend it. It's a beautiful place with so many traveling options. You can take it easy or fill every minute with the many activities the area has to offer. I'm sure I'll make it back during the next seventy-five - here's to those and many more!

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