Shadow of the Bear

By Samantha Lubliner, 2016

Shadow of the Bear is cast by the mountain.
Shadow of the Bear is cast by the mountain.

A few weeks every year there is a mountain off of Highway 64 in Cashiers, NC that casts the shadow of a bear onto the surrounding hills. Obviously, it is called Shadow of the Bear and found off of Bear Shadow drive.

After discovering the existence of such a shadow and learning that September is the time of the year the shadow hits correctly; we were on a mission.

Would we miss it? Would it be there? Would we see it? Is it on the right or the left? “A few miles” out—how far is that? But there’s no cell service out in the mountains so how can we find it…? Is it dangerous to stand on the side of highway?

Our endless questions were put to an end by the mass of 100-200 people standing on the edge of a highway all looking into the valley. We were quick to join in and do the same.


Professional tripod photographers and children alike enjoyed the view of the Shadow of the Bear. The shadow stood starkly against the foliage. Unfortunately, if you miss the shadow or do not see it at precisely the right time, the shape begins to stretch. The shadow is only in its best bear form for around 5 minutes.

To us, it resembled a mouse. But a highway called Mouse Shadow drive doesn’t sound nearly as impressive. Once the shadow began to stretch, the crowd dispersed in minutes and the highway became a mish mosh of people dodging cars in the dark.

The moment was fleeting but the feeling of being crowded along others to see a rare natural occurrence was so special. It was beary to say the least.