April 2009 we went to the Smokies. As usual we spent most of our time in the Cove. This particular morning, we had just passed the John Oliver cabin and rounded a curve when everyone was stopped for a bear jam. Pulling off the road, we grabbed our cameras (of course) and stood in front of our truck. The huge bear was a good distance down in the field, just wandering around. We shot a few photos, then my husband wandered away to talk to someone (his favorite pass time) Mean while, the bear wanders a little closer. We all assumed he would ignore us, but he kept coming a little closer to the road. Everyone was taking pictures and before we realized it, he was very close. All at once he decided to cross the road and made a run for it. I know all the rules, "DON"T RUN FROM BEARS" I was just following the lady beside me. We ran around the truck, I tripped over the trailer hitch, and my husband got all the pictures. The bear was just crossing the road! From the scars in the last photo, I got the impression he was the KING of Cade's Cove. We still laugh about my bear experience.
Deb Campbell replied to my original post with this : I have seen and photographed this bear before in the cove and he does seem very unaffected by people. The rangers call him "Rocky". I saw him last summer in the woods just past the turn off to Primitive Baptist Church. He crossed the road and went into the field and mosied away from all of us gawkers.
Mike Maples replied with this; Rocky is getting up there in years but is still king of the cove. No reason to run...he might have gave you a kiss.
I haven't seen ROCKY since, I hope he is still around, maybe this year.. I did a collage in memory of Rocky and his progress across the field.