Our 1st night, we had an unwelcome visitor to the lean-to we were sleeping in. Yep- you guessed it- a bear! The shelters you sleep in are open on 3 sides, and you hang your food up high using bear cables. Bears are extremely active in the Smokies and tend to associate packs with potential food sources. A couple hours after we fell asleep, I heard a thud, rustle, and snort/growl outside the shelter. I squeezed Dr.H's arm so hard it almost fell off and asked him what we should do. He shushed me, and we laid there waiting to see what it would do. As I started to imagine my pending funeral the bear scurried away- only to come back a few hours later even closer to the shelter. Needless to say I didn't get much sleep and was totally spooked. I'm embarrassed to admit we hiked back out the next day and decided to not stay a second night. I think I'll stick to my ultra- running goals of big days in the mountains with a comfy bed to sleep in at night. We saw a bear cub within a 0.5 mile of our car- it was off to the side of the trail and was really stinkin' cute- but I wasn't about to hang out to run into mama bear.