Fall Color l Fall Fishing
In Search Of The Shadow Of The Bear
As the magic hour of 5-o'clock nears, spectators begin to gather on the side of Highway 64, right on the scenic and mountainous Jackson/Macon County line just west of Cashiers.
Many carry tripods and expensive cameras. Others bring small digital cameras or camera phones. A few are just there for the spectacular view. But all are waiting to see one thing: the legendary "Shadow of the Bear,” a naturally-occurring phenomenon that makes its appearance for just a few weeks in the fall and the spring. It is one of the most unique leaf-looking experiences in the country.
The Bear is visible for 30 minutes on sunny days between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. from mid-October through early November. It starts with a small dark shadow at the bottom of the valley, and it grows seemingly evolving from a turtle to a cat to a floppy-eared dog and finally into the Bear. See a one-minute time lapse video of the shadow forming here.
The Shadow of the Bear
By the numbers:
5:30 p.m.: The time of day the “Shadow of the Bear” begins to form
30 minutes: The number of minutes the Bear is visible
6 weeks: The total weeks out of the year “The Shadow of the Bear” is visible
4,930 feet: The height of Whiteside Mountain, where the “Shadow of the Bear” can be viewed
added: October 20, 2010
updated: September 12, 2012