We thought we'd drive out to Douglas Dam, where we could park at the overlook and enjoy the view while sitting in our vehicle to read. When we reached the overlook, though, we saw that the restrooms were closed for repairs. Well, we weren't going to be able to stay there long without the availability of a restroom, so we decided to drive back to town and, from there, on into the national park.
We did, however, manage to capture a photo of a turkey vulture in a tree. We had seen him enjoying a tasty snack of roadkill, but he flew into the tree when we came along. The photo lacks good detail because of the distance, but I just had to share this charming fellow with you.
I woke Doug, calling "Doug...a pig, a pig!" Well, he caught only a glimpse of the mystery critter before it disappeared, and that glimpse was without the aid of his glasses. Of course, being without glasses doesn't mean the same for Doug as it would for me. I need glasses to find my glasses. He, on the other hand, is naturally far sighted and can manage quite well without them.
We got out and walked around, looking for the animal itself or at least for its tracks, but we found nothing. That momentary glimpse we had of its fleeing back hadn't looked like any wild pig we had ever imagined, but the sound was so pig-like that I couldn't imagine what else it could have been.
So, when we got back to our hotel tonight, I went online and searched for information on wild pigs in the Smoky Mountains. I learned that they are usually smaller than other wild pigs, that the young have "longitudinal" stripes until they are about four months old, and that the piglets are usually weaned between the third and fourth months. Even though the piglets are then independent of the sow, they usually stay in the family group for about a year.
So I'm guessing that the one we saw, if indeed that's what we saw, was at the upper end of the stripe-sporting stage and past the weaning stage. But I'm at a loss as to why it appeared to be out there alone. Unfortunately, the whole thing happened so fast that I don't even have a blurry image to share with you.