GATLINBURG, Tenn. – A tourist staying near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee found an unexpected guest in her hot tub Thursday night – a bear, accompanied by three cubs.
Elizabeth Strickland snapped a few photos of the black bear as it enjoyed a soak on the porch of her Gatlinburg cabin.
"I just had to share with y’all," she told WBIR. "I was in that same seat 14 hours ago!"
After a dip tub and a bit of play time, Strickland said mama bear and her three cubs moved along without incident.
"Black bears are one of Tennessee’s state treasures and no other animal exemplifies the wilderness experience like them," according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. "They have been called a charismatic mega-fauna and for good reason – everyone from non-hunters, to hunters, to wildlife watchers - we all love bears in our own special ways."
The agency urges residents and visitors to help "keep them wild and keep them alive."