A six year old girl was killed yesterday by a black bear and her mother and brother are seriously injured. You can read the story here.
We have been to this hiking spot and lake many, many times so naturally, we are quite affected with this news today. The hike to Benton Falls is 1 1/2 mile trip one way and the falls are absolutely beautiful. They look like a giant wedding cake with all of the layers stacked on top of each other. We have often taken our little ones to play in the falls.
I've worried about injuries like someone slipping on the wet rocks and cutting their head but I've never worried about a bear attack. I have known there are black bears up there but they mostly just get into the garbage. According to the news, this may be the first fatal attack in the Southeast. Black bears are not usually agressive. When this bear approached this poor frightened family, according to professional recommendations, they did the wrong thing by throwing rocks. I know you are supposed to walk away slowly but I imagine that would be awfully hard to do when you are that frightened.
The boys and I had just finished reading The Bears of Blue River so this seems a little unreal to us at the moment.
Update: They still haven't caught the bear. Our hearts really go out to this family and we pray no one else will be hurt. Read the latest news here. It's weird to see our area in the national news. I'm glad I have big dogs who would probably scare off any man-eating bears that might decide to come off the mountain!