Deer, Wild Hogs, and Bears, Oh My

Animals In The Smokies

There is a wide variety of wildlife along the AT.
On two separate days, I saw deer. One day, I saw four wild hogs, who ran away from the trail when they saw me. I have not seen bear (yet), but I have seen bear scat.

I met a man on vacation from a fishing job in Alaska, who hikes at night to see wildlife, especially bear. When I told him I had seen four wild hogs, he told me he had seen twenty. Hmm.

Although I wasn’t able to get my iPhone out quick enough to photograph the deer or the wild hogs, I have seen the damage done by the hogs along the trail. The photo below shows a terribly dug up area, which is caused by hogs.

The explanation I recall about the presence of wild hogs in the eastern U.S. is that President Teddy Roosevelt, a big game hunter, imported them to the U.S. from South America. There they have natural predators. Here they don’t.  I hiked across a small area, which is fenced off to protect it from the wild hogs. The photo below shows the barricade.

At the northern of the barricaded section is an explanation that the hogs threaten natural habitats, in this case a beech forest.

Other Wildlife Along The Trail

There are so many birds! When I am comfortable with the amount of battery I have left in my phone and back-up battery,  I sometimes usr Merlin to help me identify bird songs. For days, I was woken up by the song of an ovenbird. Then the morning wake-up bird was a wood thrush. What a magnificent song!

The past several mornings were so cold (hovering below or above 32 degrees) that I wasn’t able to  pay attention to bird songs as I hurriedly dressed  and packed up. Below is a photo of snow near Clingman’s Dome.

I’ve heard red-eyed vireos, warblers of all kinds, red-bellied woodpeckers, towees, blue jays, and more. The bird I have seen the most often is the junco. I have also seen pileated woodpeckers, ovenbirds, robins, rose breasted grosbeak, black and white warblers, and more.

I saw someone else’s photo of a black salamander. I have seen the  lovely millipede below many times.


Wildflowers require an entire blog so I will post a picture of just two that are new to me. The first, fringed phacelia, looks like it has eyelashes.

The second is umbrella leaf, apparently because of its large leaves.

If you have seen these flowers in the northeast, please let me know! How could I have missed them?


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Comments 2

  • Albert Martin : May 5th

    Umbrella leaf is grown at Leonard Buck Garden in Short Hills, NJ

    • Phyllis Rubenstein : May 10th

      Thanks for responding. Do you know whether it is native to NJ?


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