The most comprehensive guide to the Mountains...
Highlander on FacebookHighlander on TwitterHighlander on InstagramMessages from the MountainsCalendar of Events throughout the Mountains

Highlander's Library of Interesting Tales from the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains...

Interesting Tales from the Mountains

Black Bears of the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains

Black Bears of the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains

Long before any man ever set foot on the North American Continent, the Black Bear of Northeastern America could often be seen standing upright on its hind legs surveying its territory from horizon to horizon. Masters of their domain, the great Black Bear enjoyed the prosperity of all that the earth had to offer. When the first Native Americans began to appear, they found benefit in revering the Black Bear both as a source of prey and as a spiritual guide. As brothers often do, they disputed over territory. Even with the loss of a bear's life or the life of a native hunter, they choose to live in continual respect of one another, developing a close relationship both in the physical and spiritual world...Learn about the Black Bears of the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountain...

Kings of the Mountains

Kings of the Mountains

This story is written from the perspective of the Bear.  For over two hundred years, we the hierarchy of the royal family of the Ursus Americanus, have been in conflict with the invaders of the outer realm. For many generations, it has become a war that we have been losing against a most formidable alien foe...Kings of the Mountains, from the perspective of the Bear...


Smokey Bear...a Bear on a Mission

Smokey Bear

In the year of 2008 CE, the United States experienced 8,856 wildfires burning 1,862,477-acres that were caused by an Act of Nature or natural order attributed to lightning strikes. Also in 2008 there were 70,093 wildfires caused by human activities burning 3,429,991-acres throughout the intercontinental US. 

An amazing fact to consider is that 58% of human caused wildfires and 58% of acres burned from human caused fires were located in the South and Southeastern United States...Smokey Bear...a Bear on a Mission...

Black Bears of the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains

Black Bears Icons of the Mountain Forest

The Black Bears are the beloved icons of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, more regionally known as the Blue Ridge, Smoky Mountains. Black Bears are indigenous to North America only and are also known as the American Bear...Ursus Americanus...Read about the Black Bears of the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains...


In Pursuit of Black Bears

Pursuit of the Black Bears

As I stated in Black Bears, Icons of the Mountains, my prior knowledge of Black Bears was quite limited. Here in the 21st century, we're no longer dealing with the same Black Bear that once dominated the wilderness lands of the eastern United States.

When Mrs. Highlander and I set out to discover more about Black Bears, it brought us into a greater awareness of the challenges Black Bears face daily in their continual pursuit for survival...In Pursuit of Black Bears in the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains...


Characteristics of the Black Bear

Characteristics of the Black Bear

Black Bears, also known as the American Bear (Ursus Americanus), are the most common single bear species. There are 80 different North American Bear species; many of these are considered variants of the brown and grizzly bear. Though most commonly considered black in color they are actually color phases of the blue-black, cinnamon or blue-gray glacier bear...Learn about the Characteristics of the Black Bear...


A Boy at Heart & His Bear

Hugh and Mildred at Grandfather Mountains

Hugh Morton could be regarded as a patriarch of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He touched so many lives as an accomplished preservationist, wildlife lover, a naturalist at heart, and a remarkable photographer. Hugh was a dedicated advocate in getting the North Carolina "Ridge Law" passed. Hugh was also a respected community leader, and was the sole owner of a giant of a mountain rightfully known as, "Grandfather Mountain."

This special tale of Hugh's life, begins unbeknownst to him and his family when Mildred the Bear was born February 7, 1966 at the Atlanta Zoo in Georgia. Two years later, needing a wilderness home of her own...continue story...

Cherokee Myths & Legends of the Black Bear

Cherokee Myths and Legends

Myths and legends tell tales filled with symbols and images that have helped man explain and understand more about the natural world we live in, as well as the supernatural world that lies just beyond our comprehension.

The innate desire to search beyond the natural has challenged many a soul, drawing them into uncharted territory on an enchanted quest to peer into the other side...Learn more about the Cherokee Myths & Legends of the Black Bear...


Black Bear Falls at Knoxville Zoo

Knoxville Zoo - Great Smoky Mountains

In our pursuit of the Black Bears of the Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains, we decided to take an interesting little side trip. Mrs. Highlander and I headed for the Knoxville Zoo to see how the other half (rather part) of the bear world lived.

The Tennessee entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just southeast of Knoxville and the Knoxville Zoo, which is about an hour away with good traffic flow. It was mid-afternoon when we arrived and the warm sun was glaring overhead that autumn day...Black Bear Falls at Knoxville Tennessee Zoo...


To the Rescue

To the Rescue

For years we wanted to create a section within the Highlander entitled "Kings of the Mountains, In Pursuit of the Black Bear." As with all of our feature stories we do a lot of research and whenever possible, we get involved so that our readers can hopefully feel our first hand experiences.

Until now, I have held back on what made this particular journey so special. This unique experience was more than Mrs. Highlander and I had expected, and one we will always remember...Rescue of Black Bears in the Smoky Mountains...


Appalachian Bear Rescue

Appalachian Bear Rescue

The ABR orchestrates both the release and medical care for the black bear cubs with the cooperation from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA), the National Park Service and the University of Tennessee's School of Veterinary Science. The Appalachian Bear Rescue support, in-part, is provided by other non-profit organizations such as Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Alcoa Foundation and other generous grants, sponsorship and private donations...Learn more about Appalachian Bear Rescue outside of the Smoky Mountain National Park...


Bear Safety - Bear/Human Conflict

Bear and Human Conflict

By nature, wild bears prefer solitude within the wilderness, it's the natural way and safer for both bear and humans alike. In the 21st century the presence of the Black Bear is less apparent than it was 30 to 40 years ago. Before the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there were only 200 Black Bears inhabiting the national park region, due to logging and over hunting. The creation of the national park allowed the wild bears an opportunity to live a more natural existence in their wilderness homelands...Learn about Bear Safety in the Mountains...


Nature's Pilgrimage...the Monarch

Monarch - Nature's Pilgrimage
The autumn season begins their celebration of life as they pursue a natural innate spiritual sense that drives them along a pilgrimage that will eventually carry them across a continent.

Before their great journey begins they must partake in a fertility ceremony essential to their future more about Nature's Pilgrimage...the story of the Monarchs...


Eco Friendly - Green Friendly - Earth Friendly

Earth Day in the Mountains

I remember when this nation celebrated the first Earth Day; it was back in the peace, love and hippy days of my youth. That day a great unified and organized call went out to stop polluting our environment.

People envision these mountains as pristine, an oasis of beauty, unspoiled by mankind's dark more about Earth Day in the Mountains...


Gardens of the Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Gardens of the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains

The reawaking of spring in the high country of the Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains is quite unique.  In the lowlands of the mountain interior, the first signs of spring follow a horizontal path across the valley, growing ever so slowly as it makes its journey upward along the mountain more about the Gardens in the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains...



Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains

Birds of the Blue Ridge - Smoky Mountains

They paint the skies with their beauty and grace. Both mysterious and elusive they dwell within the confines of a complex and diverse world of mammals, humans and marine life, set apart and classified by their more about the Birds of the Blue Ridge Mountains...



Creating a Butterfly Garden

Creating a Butterfly Garden

Creating Butterfly Gardens...the perfect nectar menu for butterflies fluttering about in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains can be created in an existing garden area or in a spot you choose for new beginnings...Learn how to create a Butterfly Gardens and help the Monarchs survive...





designed, produced and hosted by
Travel and Real Estate Guide to the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains, including North Georgia, Western North Carolina, Tennessee River Valley and Up Country South Carolina
The Blue Ridge Highlander logo, all photography, design, graphics, artwork, writing, digital images, etc are the Copyright © of C. Wayne Dukes and Sherry Bell Dukes, 1996 to current day, except where otherwise stated. All rights reserved, reproduction, downloading, and/or duplication of any sort is strictly prohibited, all violations will be prosecuted. Legal Policy.  If you have any questions, or comments, regarding this site, e-mail the Highlander.