Life’s simple bear necessities often bring the greatest joys – though one Tennessee couple vacationing in the Great Smoky Mountains was shocked to find a bear relaxing in their hot tub.
On May 3, around 11 a.m. Elizabeth Strickland and her boyfriend awoke in their Gatlinburg cabin to find some unexpected company on the property – three black bear cubs.
"I saw one walk around a corner of the porch, and I ran into the bedroom to look out the windows at the hot tub and there they were!" the Knoxville woman told WKRN.
According to Strickland, one of the cubs hopped into the bubbling hot tub and even closed its eyes in relaxation.
“It was so cute, so we let them enjoy for a minute. Then they went on their merry way,” she told Fox 8.
Moving forward, Strickland said that she and her beau will surely never forget their first Gatlinburg trip together – or the un-bear-ably cute visitors that made their stay.
As for safety, the National Park Service (NPS) reminds tourists that bears are “dangerous and unpredictable” wild animals, and to treat any encounters with “extreme caution.”
“Willfully approaching within 150 feet, or any distance that disturbs or displaces a bear, is illegal in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” the NPS’ website reads, detailing that the roughly 1,500 bears are estimated to live in the protected park.