Our big activity of the day was driving to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a very long 6.6 mile hike up a mountain!


It was a very challenging climb and the back of my legs are absolutely killing me now!









I  played the good old “Rock Monster” trick on the Husband.  You know, toss a rock deep into the forest, wait until it crashes through the bush, and then gasp, “Did you hear THAT? Is that a BEAR?!!?” He fell for it about four times before he caught on.


Poor Husband.


After all the talk about bears, I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see any…


Until the very end when we stumbled upon this teenager bear digging through a trash can!



The Husband was actually in the bathroom when I spotted Mr. Bear sniffing around the back of the building.  I yelled, “Don’t come out – there’s a BEAR right by the door!”  Gave him quite a fright but he said he knew I was being serious this time – no Rock Monsters!


Eats before, during, and after the trail hike:


A bar:


Chips and hummus (times two):


A PB sandwich (I ate it in parts) + an apple:




Off to catch a nap and then we’re getting massages… I don’t want to go home, ever! 🙁



  • Beth August 25, 2010, 4:51 pm

    My husband and I were there in July and when we were hiking we saw a huge bear! We were too scared to take a picture of it though!

  • Candice @ChiaSeedMe August 25, 2010, 4:53 pm

    I’m so envious that you saw a bear – it’s so cute! From a distance of course:)

    Glad you guys are having a great time and are getting some rest and rejuvenation. You deserve it!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) August 25, 2010, 4:55 pm

    LOL That’s hilarious that you fooled him so much:) Haha
    But that’s pretty cool you saw the adolescent bear!
    Enjoy the rest of your time in the cabin!

  • Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) August 25, 2010, 5:03 pm

    OMG I can’t believe you saw a bear!!! Out of all of the hikes I’ve been on in the Smokies I have NEVER seen a bear – I would be terrified! haha

    You snapped some beautiful photos!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) August 25, 2010, 5:03 pm

    fun! i love hiking 🙂 thats crazy you saw the bears though..super scary!

  • Rachael August 25, 2010, 5:03 pm

    You’re in my neck of the woods! Love the mountains!
    I have a huge bear phobia that stems from a stint living in the Wyoming mountains..I hadn’t mastered the art of proper garbage storage yet (two weeks out of NYC) and I was rewarded with bears on the front porch of my not-so-sturdy cabin. We’re talking grizzlies. I have not yet recovered.
    Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    • Carrie H August 25, 2010, 5:51 pm

      I live in Wyoming and have for all 26 years of my life!! There are few of us, so I have to comment when I see someone else who lived here. 🙂 Where were you? This weekend in central Wyo near Kaycee, my dad saw a mountain lion, which, in my book, instills about as much fear as a grizzly (they stalk and kill you with as much brutality) and my mom and sister saw it’s kill site — where it had killed, dragged, dismembered and eaten a deer. Gives me chills!!!

      • Rachael August 25, 2010, 6:33 pm

        Mountain lions are also in my book o’ fear – haven’t had an encounter yet, thankfully.
        I lived a good bit outside of Crowheart – technically, I squatted what appeared to be an old hunting cabin for close to a year. I’m still amazed that I survived; the thought “it will be more exciting if I have to forage and hunt for food” crossed through my mind before heading out West, so I brought a couple of bags of beans and not much else…

        • Carrie H August 25, 2010, 7:00 pm

          Ahhhh, the Wind Rivers, what a beautiful area. I spent a minute or two on your blog and your lifestyle seems so poetic and beautiful. I think you asked a question on one of your recent posts about being rooted to a certain place though — for me it’s Wyoming — my heart belongs in the Rocky Mountains … I’m my truest self here, way out in the middle of nowehere, , threat of grizzlies, mountain lions and all. (Though I’ve never squatted in a cabin for a year with only a bag of beans. That is AWESOME. :))

  • Kacy August 25, 2010, 5:03 pm

    I am pretty sure I’ve never seen a real bear in real life, and I probably would have peed on myself.

    Looks like a gorgeous hike tho!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) August 25, 2010, 5:04 pm

    You are rotten! Glad you are having fun! Enjoy your massages…that should feel really good now!

  • Liza @ Health Nutting August 25, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Looks like so much fun! Bear and all!
    I’m sure you know, but there’s a blurb on Operation Beautiful in Fitness Magazine! You go, girl! 🙂

  • Bethany @ More Fruit Please August 25, 2010, 5:04 pm

    Hahaha! I love that the husband fell for your bear tricks so many times! Glad you finally got to see one!

  • Amelia August 25, 2010, 5:06 pm

    The pictures are gorgeous so I’m guessing the real place is even more so!
    I can’t believe you actually saw a bear. Very cool!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg August 25, 2010, 5:07 pm

    Aghghg!!!! I’ve never seen a bear before– I would be so scared!! That’s crazy!

  • The Hot and Fit August 25, 2010, 5:09 pm

    My goodness I think I might actually die if I see a bear walking around like that!

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) August 25, 2010, 5:10 pm

    Did you realllly see a bear??? Promise you aren’t pulling our legs? Because I LOVE hiking and am terrified of bears…

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat August 25, 2010, 5:10 pm

    I’ve never actually seen a bear but I’m pretty sure I would have been terrified! Your photos are gorgeous. I love the one on the bridge!

  • Camille August 25, 2010, 5:10 pm

    I’ve never done the rock monster trick! I will add that to the list of things I must do 🙂

  • evelyne August 25, 2010, 5:15 pm

    Interesting pictures! especially the one with the bear in the trash can – aren’t those exact trashcans supposed to be bear-proof because of the special lid they have on???

    • Caitlin August 25, 2010, 6:07 pm

      Yup and he opened it right up!

  • Summer August 25, 2010, 5:22 pm

    What trail did you guys do? We hiked Abram’s Falls last July 4 right when I was just starting to run and exercise more and it almost KILLED me. I honestly cried on the way back 🙁 But I felt awesome about it once it was all over!

    • Caitlin August 25, 2010, 6:07 pm

      Rainbow falls!

  • Caitlin August 25, 2010, 5:23 pm

    Your pictures are so gorgeous! They are making me want an “unwind” vacation now–especially one that includes a massage 🙂 And, I love the little bear getting into the trash can, but I think I would be terrified if I were actually anywhere near it!

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write August 25, 2010, 5:24 pm

    That is so cool you saw a bear! How fun! Enjoy your massages. I can’t wait until hubby and I go on vacay!

  • Melissa August 25, 2010, 5:27 pm

    You guys look like you’re having such a relaxing, fun, much-needed vacation!

  • Maren August 25, 2010, 5:29 pm

    I’ve never played the rock monster game… you can bet there will be some monsters on my next hike though!

  • Miranda @ MirandasJeans August 25, 2010, 5:30 pm

    OMG It’s like the boy who cried wolf, but instead it’s the girl who cried bear, good thing the hubby knew you were serious this time. Eeep I would have freaked out seeing that bear.

  • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope August 25, 2010, 5:31 pm

    hahah @ the rock monster trick. That is hilarious. And holy crap, I think I would crap myself if I saw a bear. That is really neat. I went to the smokey mountains as a kid, and we went white water rafting, aaaaah need to go back soon!!

  • Lisa August 25, 2010, 5:36 pm

    Holy CRAP! What a great picture of the bear. Talk about scary, though!!

  • Clare August 25, 2010, 5:36 pm

    OMG!!!! The bear picture almost made me fall off my chair. I would seriously freak out. I am TERRIFIED of bears and that looks to be a fairly large, hungry one. I can’t believe your post is so calm !!!! AAAAAGH!!!!

  • Danielle (Runs on Green) August 25, 2010, 5:42 pm

    omg I can’t believe you saw a bear- I would have been freaking out! That’s a good rock trick though 🙂

  • Carrie H August 25, 2010, 5:54 pm

    He he, I think you must have a lot of city readers. 😉 Granted, you don’t want to mess with bears of any type, but that looks like a little brown bear, and they aren’t *too* frightening. I’ve seen quite a few in Wyoming, and from a distance, and if you’re not between a cub and a mom, you’re probably ok. It’s the grizzlies that are TERRIFYING. I never want to see one of those.

  • Carrie H August 25, 2010, 5:55 pm

    *qualifier — I don’t want to see a grizzly at close range. I’ve seen ’em from my car in Yellowstone. 🙂

  • Angharad August 25, 2010, 5:59 pm

    You’re giving me flashbacks to hiking on the north shore of lake superior two weeks ago. We did a similar distance and I just loved playing in the woods. Hiking is the best. No bears though 🙂

  • Julia August 25, 2010, 6:03 pm

    Hmmm I’m skeptical that you actually saw that bear…I feel like you are pulling our legs 🙂 Looks fantastic nonetheless.

    • Caitlin August 25, 2010, 6:08 pm

      Hahah it’s true!

  • Leah @ Why Deprive? August 25, 2010, 6:06 pm

    I would have had a heart attack if I saw a bear. My boyfriend likes to tell me that there are bears everywhere we go. I refuse to believe him. 🙂

  • S. August 25, 2010, 6:08 pm

    Did you do Rainbow Falls? My boyfriend and I had a mini-vacation to the Smokies much like you guys last August–we stayed in Pigeon Forge too and we did that hike! I think we might have even used the same rental company, judging by the way your cabin is decorated in the photos. Have fun hiking! Rainbow Falls is a beautiful one to do, if you haven’t done that one.

    • Caitlin August 25, 2010, 6:09 pm

      Yes,that was it!

  • Lizz (leadingthegoodlife) August 25, 2010, 6:10 pm

    Similar thing happened while we were in Colorado last Summer…no action while we were hiking, but found a bear digging through our neighbors’ trash can! I’d MUCH rather have it that way. You know they’re interested in the trash so they’re most likely less interested in you.

    Hope you’re having a lovely vacation!

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine August 25, 2010, 6:10 pm

    I love that you actually saw a bear after all the false alarms…must have thrown the hus for quite a loop! Glad you’re enjoying your vacation so far!

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet August 25, 2010, 6:12 pm

    i would have freaked out seeing a bear!

  • laurie August 25, 2010, 6:18 pm

    Your place looks exactly like the cabin my husband and I stayed at a few years ago right by knoxville (kind of by dolly parton’s theme park). We LOVED it there! But I am TERRIFIED of bears. i am glad we didn’t see any! enjoy the vacay!!!

  • Freya (Brit Chick Runs) August 25, 2010, 6:26 pm

    haha, of course he fell for it – he’s british!! I would have without a doubt :p

  • Chelsea August 25, 2010, 6:29 pm

    I would be terrified if I saw a bear!! Good or you for being brave!

    That sandwich looks soo good with the peanut butter oozing on that side. I also just realized I hate the word oozing so I’m not sure why I said it, gross.

    Glad you are having a relaxing vacation!

  • Rosey Rebecca August 25, 2010, 6:31 pm

    I’d probably scream my face off if I saw a bear. Then, he’d eat me, and that would be that.

  • Brooke - One Healthy Cookie August 25, 2010, 6:35 pm

    That bear is huge! I would have been so scared!

  • Katherine @ Left Coast Contessa August 25, 2010, 6:41 pm

    why do bears look so cute when they are so so dangerous?

  • Bec August 25, 2010, 6:42 pm

    hike and a massage sounds like an amazing day! So jealous… well except for the bear in the garbage can!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) August 25, 2010, 6:43 pm

    Hahaha the rock monster. I don’t know if I would have believed about the bears after the rock monsters.

    Bears on the trails are awesome and reallllllllly scary. Glad you survived to tell the tale 🙂

  • Mama Pea August 25, 2010, 6:45 pm

    I am SO jealous. That is my idea of a vacation, even the bears. Enjoy every second, C!

  • holly @ couchpotatoathlete August 25, 2010, 6:46 pm

    Enjoy the massages!

    The only times I’ve seen bears outside of zoos has been while they’re digging in trash! At least you didn’t see Mama Bear…

  • Dorry August 25, 2010, 6:55 pm

    I love the bear! So glad y’all are having a good time. 🙂

  • eri August 25, 2010, 6:55 pm

    this is such a great vacation! i wouldn’t want to leave either!

  • Courtney August 25, 2010, 7:04 pm

    So pretty! You deserve the R&R! 😀

  • eatmovelove August 25, 2010, 7:07 pm

    Yikes a bear?! I would have jumped out of my skin.

    You and your hubby are too cute…um, I wouldn’t want to leave either!

  • Christina @ Food.Fun.Fabulous August 25, 2010, 7:10 pm

    I saw a baby bear on a hike one time and high tailed it outta there because I knew mommy bear wouldn’t be far behind haha

  • emptynutjar August 25, 2010, 7:12 pm

    I’m jealous. Gotta be real!

    What salad dressing do you use? Looks yum.

  • Stacey@http://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ August 25, 2010, 7:27 pm

    Where are you staying at, it sounds amazing.

  • Maria August 25, 2010, 7:46 pm

    Oh my goodness! I freaked out when I saw that bear PICTURE…I can’t imagine seeing it in person!

  • Wei-Wei August 25, 2010, 7:47 pm

    Oh my gosh, a bear! I’d be so scared. You handled it well, otherwise the Husband might have had a little accident…

  • christina cadden August 25, 2010, 7:52 pm

    It is so pretty there!

  • Chelsey August 25, 2010, 8:00 pm

    ooo vacation massages are A MUST!!! Looks like you’re having a great time!

  • Heather August 25, 2010, 8:04 pm

    ack! bears are scary! it looks like a beautiful hike though!

  • Tina August 25, 2010, 8:20 pm

    Okay, I am holding on to that rock trick and using it on my next hike with the hubs. Not quite sure it will work though since the GA mountain trails we head out on aren’t too wild. I can’t believe you saw a real one too! Eeep!!!

  • Stacey August 25, 2010, 8:26 pm

    I love to hike 🙂 Your trip looks awesome, it makes me anxious for the 6 mile hike Jas and I have planned this weekend!
    Oh, and on our last trip we thought for sure that we would see a bear. We found a path that was excluded from the other paths, and about 3 miles in there were bear tracks and I started freaking out!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing August 25, 2010, 8:37 pm

    Oh wow!!!!! How scary!Beautiful scenery though.

  • Laura (Starloz) August 25, 2010, 8:38 pm

    Oh oh oh, a bear. no thanks, i’d be scared shitless!

  • Lee August 25, 2010, 8:42 pm

    That bear would have scared the shit out of me.

    Oh, I just realized that I said the exact same thing as the previous commenter. Lol.

  • Michelle August 25, 2010, 9:19 pm

    i LOVE hikes! the miles always throw me off though… running that length wouldn’t be that difficult, but HIKING it is totally different!

    that bear is so skinny.

  • Laurie August 25, 2010, 9:21 pm

    My heart is seriously beating faster thinking about that bear.

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous August 25, 2010, 9:27 pm

    Massages, naps, bears, OH MY! Ohmygosh I would have wigged out. Looks like a blast though!

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Shaping Up August 25, 2010, 9:38 pm

    I absolutely LOVE hiking in the Great Smokey Mountains. It’s one of my favorite things to do while I’m there. It’s so pretty! And as much as I’ve been there, I have yet to see a bear. Lucky you! I’m glad you got a good picture though! 🙂

  • ashleigh August 25, 2010, 9:41 pm

    Geez, that looks BEAUTIFUL! Although, I don’t know how I feel about bears! Scary!

  • Teacherwoman August 25, 2010, 9:44 pm

    Great pictures! Sounds like you’re having a good time!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit August 25, 2010, 9:47 pm

    A hike and a massage- sounds like the best day ever! You’re so lucky to have seen a bear, I really want to see one! Not from too close though 🙂

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman August 25, 2010, 9:48 pm

    I can’t believe you came that close to a bear! That’s wild.

  • cassie August 25, 2010, 10:00 pm

    that’s a teenage bear 🙂 WOW…. i would probably completely freak out

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 25, 2010, 10:19 pm

    I thought you were kidding when you posted a picture of that bear! That’s crazy that you actually saw one!

  • Caitlin @ Right Foot Forward August 25, 2010, 10:19 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe you saw a bear that close up! That hike followed by massages must have made for an amazing day.

  • Shannon, Tropical Eats August 25, 2010, 10:20 pm

    i love the mountains! so jealous of your trip 🙂

  • Jenny@ The Heathy Teenager, a teenager with a healthy twist on life :) August 25, 2010, 10:20 pm

    OMG that actually sounds (and looks) like the best thing ever right now. It looks like a beautiful trail and sounds like something I’d love to do.
    Can’t believe you saw a bear though, stuff that, that’d scare me half to death! haha

  • Amanda (tomboythatwearsmakeup August 25, 2010, 10:33 pm

    Wowzers, your in bear country! I went hiking today too. I just decided to put out a challenge for myself to hike and do yoga everyday for 7 days. I need a kick start. My hike is only 1.5 miles, but it is steep.
    Looks like your having a great time!

  • janna @ janna's keeping it real August 25, 2010, 10:45 pm

    wow! you’re a brave one…I would have been TERRIFIED had i come across a bear!!!!

  • Kate D August 25, 2010, 11:44 pm

    There is always a danger of running into a bear while hiking where I live. I walked right past a bear that was 10 feet away from me earlier this summer.

    That is amazing the bear was able to open up the garbage can. We have them all over here and I think its hilarious have a hard time opening the garbage can, but the bears can figure it out. Hopefully the bear won’t get into trouble because he has been raiding the garbage!

  • Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun August 25, 2010, 11:50 pm

    I just got a craving for peanut butter after looking at your sandwich…what can I say? Peanut butter does that to me! 😉

  • Samantha @ Food Edu August 26, 2010, 1:27 am

    Looks like a great hike–except for the bear, they creep me out 🙂

  • Marina August 26, 2010, 2:47 am

    Looks so beautiful. I can imagine how relaxing it is.
    Bears eating from the trash..that’s a big problem, all over the world 🙁 Poor bears.

  • Sana August 26, 2010, 2:57 am

    Did you really see a bear? Or is this a bloggy joke! I have no idea how you took a pic! I would have been screaming and booking it in the opposite direction!

    • caitlin August 26, 2010, 9:28 am

      hahah yes really!

    • caitlin August 26, 2010, 9:28 am

      hahah yes really!

  • Sana August 26, 2010, 2:58 am

    Did you really see a bear? Or is this a bloggy joke! I have no idea how you took a pic! I would have been screaming and booking it in the opposite direction!!

    • Sana August 26, 2010, 2:58 am

      Sry! Not sure how to delete a duplicate!

  • Jac August 26, 2010, 3:11 am

    Hilarious seeing th bear diggin thro the trash!

  • Neen@ Broad bean to Runner Bean August 26, 2010, 3:31 am

    looks like your having a great trip, just what you needed after such a hectic schedule lately missi!! love the rock monster joke, thats hilarious!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) August 26, 2010, 6:31 am

    I’ve always wanted to spot a black bear, but still haven’t. They’re hard to catch…unless they find some sort of food source like this guy did. 😉

    Gorgeous hike! 😀

  • Megan August 26, 2010, 6:43 am

    Such a beautiful trip so far! I love hiking the Smokies … and seeing the bears (from a distance). They supposedly put new locks on the dumpsters so the bears wouldn’t be able to get in, but obviously that didn’t work! Haha. 🙂 I’m glad you’re enjoying your trip!

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday August 26, 2010, 8:29 am

    I saw a bear when I was in New Hampshire hiking too:


  • Heather @ Side of Sneakers August 26, 2010, 8:51 am

    Ahh that’s so awesome you saw a bear! And that it didn’t mess with you…then that wouldn’t have been so awesome 😉

  • Holly @ Self-love and Running August 26, 2010, 11:59 am

    How scary and exciting to be that close to a bear!

  • Amber K August 26, 2010, 12:27 pm

    The hike looks intense, but the massage afterward sounds well worth it!

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef August 26, 2010, 12:45 pm

    crazy! but that looks amazing!

  • Cassie August 26, 2010, 1:01 pm

    Ummm seeing a bear would scare me to death! I can’t believe you were calm enough to take pictures!

  • laura August 26, 2010, 1:22 pm

    What a beautiful hike! This vacation makes me smile (and makes me miss the south!)

  • Ingunn August 26, 2010, 4:16 pm

    I am so jealous that you saw a bear! I’ve seen a bunch of roadside ones this summer but only one on a trail. I love that second photo of him – so much for a bear safe garbage can..

    Thanks for the peek into the Smokies; I am making the rounds of the national parks in the west but I have yet to visit one on the east coast.

  • Traci November 12, 2010, 5:16 pm

    I just read your post and I have to say that I live right here in East Tennessee and love the beautiful Great Smokey Muntains. My husband and I do enjoy taking advantage of all the great hiking.I’m glad you had a great time 🙂
    P.S I enjoy your blog and recipes 🙂

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