Rough Fork, Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Yesterday afternoon Allison and I drove past the Palmer (palmered fly) and Caldwell homesteads up into the pasturelands deep in the valley. There are a dozen “pull-off” viewing areas where you can park and watch the elk come out of the wood line at dusk. It sounded like a cool idea.
When we got there I took off with a rod to play in the creek 30 feet away. Allison was going to sit and watch the show with a head start. I walked upstream about 100 yds and then hit the waterline.
I fished up about 20 yards when something caught my eye up ahead about 100 feet. It looked big and brown… deer? horse? It looked big. Wow – it stepped out of the thicket and into the stream to cross over to my side. I lined up with a tree and peeped around the corner watching intently.
It stepped onto a 4 foot ridgeline and turned toward me. It stepped slowly toward me, aware and not offended by my presence. It came down to about 30 feet from me and stopped to graze of the greenery. I snapped off a few frames and captured a few seconds of video. Then I stood and awe and watched. This animal was much larger than I could have expected. It appeared to be young also, a year or two maybe. I really don’t know. Did I say it was big? What a very cool experience.
Thanks Ron for pointing us in that direction for our visit to GSMNP. Good call.
When I got back to the car Allison said “You won’t believe what I saw…” and I just smiled. 🙂
This post was adapted from a July 2014 entry in the Appalachian Tenkara Anglers Facebook Group.
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