Camping in the Smokies

Today’s blog post is brought to you all the way from Cosby, Tennessee, where we are sleeping on an air mattress, in a tent, in the mountains.

Everywhere you go you see warning signs that you are in bear country. I had to sign a waiver saying that I understood that we are tenting in bear country and that we would properly store our food items sealed away in our car.

Before coming, I had read all about tenting in bear country, so I was pretty confident that I knew what to do if a bear came into camp. We even brought bear spray. We will be FINE.

We get into our tent last night, and Ryan is carrying a brown bag. “What’s in the bag?!” I ask. “Cheddar popcorn.” He says with a smirk on his face. “Ooooohhhhh!!!!” I respond, can not WAIT to get into that.

We munch and we nibble. We close the bag and put it on the floor of the tent and we close our eyes to go to sleep.

Mind you, I was the one who signed that waiver and READ the rules.

Ryan says, “oh no….”

“What?!” I say.

“The popcorn….” He responds.

Then all the rules come back to me.

Do NOT eat food in your tent EVER. Do NOT keep food in your tent EVER. They WILL smell it and they WILL COME.

“Put it in the car, NOW.” I say.

So Ryan and his cheesy fingers and cheesy popcorn breath trudges the bag back to the car. All is well.

We go to sleep.

2 AM.

I am in the state where I am sleeping, but also awake enough that I can hear things going on.

I hear a deep snort. I wake up fully. My eyes shoot open. I listen as hard as my ears will listen, KNOWING FULL WELL that the telltale signs of a bear in your camp is hearing it grunt.

I hear the noise again. My ears start ringing and I get all sweaty and I think I just may die right there in our little tent, on our deflating air mattress, in the middle of the woods.


At this point the noise is very consistent. I hear no rustling around in the woods. Just grunt, grunt, grunt.

I smack Ryan and wake him up. There’s no way I’m letting him stay asleep when I’m pretty sure we’re going to be killed by bear malling.


Our neighbors are also in a tent. And I’m starting to realize this “bear grunt” is very consistent with the way someone may breathe, and it sounds like it may be him snoring like a behemoth.

Heaven help me who mistakenly thought my neighbors snores were a bear coming to attack.

No, actually heaven help his poor girlfriend who had to sleep RIGHT NEXT TO THAT!

So I’m like, shew, not a bear, just the neighbor. But then I’m like WAIT, he’s probably attracting them with his snores/bear talk…..they’re going to think it’s one of them, just like I did, and come to see what’s going on.

So my eyes stay open. I am on the alert to EVERY move in the forest.

Ryan is already fast asleep.

And that is how my first night went in the tent in the Smoky Mountains.

It is now 8 AM, and as we exchange our morning pleasantries, I can’t help but wonder if I should tell him I mistakenly took him for a bear last night? Or should I just keep that to myself?

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