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Unforgettable Bear Encounter

A Behind the Scenes Story of our Unforgettable Bear Encounter

In the video of “To God Be the Glory” by Thurlow Spurr, there are magnificent sunset shots taken from the beautiful Chimney Tops Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Our videographers Aden Walsh and Ryan Griffin backpacked over 2 miles up the steep, strenuous mountain trail along with all their video gear (and back down with flashlights) hoping that the evening would provide a great sunset. And, praise the Lord, it was great.

Aden getting footage shortly after the unforgettable bear encounter
Aden filming scenic overlook along Chimney Tops trail

However what you won’t see in this video is the story about that beautiful night that might not have been due to an unexpected guest. After our crew arrived at a cabin in Tennessee, we had just finished unloading the food and supplies from our vehicle for the week of filming ahead of us. As we placed the last bags of food inside the cabin, we looked out a window and saw a black bear raise itself up on its hind legs and skillfully open the front door of our rental car.

It then proceeded to enter the front door of the rental car. Visions of a shredded rental car and a lot of explaining quickly ensued. Surprised and shocked to see such a sight, we all naturally ran to the cabin door and began filming (watch the video here).

Then, as the bear ventured onto the back seats, surprise led to panic. A million thoughts ran through our minds. How would we get the bear out and what could we do? Will it get stuck in there and viciously try to claw its way out?

Fortunately, all the food was out of the car and the only thing in there was a water bottle by the driver’s seat. After sniffing around for a while and coming up empty on food supplies, the bear turned around, climbed back into the passenger’s seat, and then exited the car. It then proceeded to our other car and tried to enter, but fortunately it was already locked.

Ryan getting footage on the trail after the unforgettable bear encounter
Ryan capturing footage from a unique angle of a stream running down and through the mountain boulders on his way to the summit

Much to our amazement, there were no scratches or punctures and nothing was crushed. Just a little bit of dusty paw prints that easily wiped off the seat. We didn’t have to spend a lot of time dealing with a shredded rental car and a whole mess that could have been. Instead, we were able to load up the car with video gear and head to our next destination of Chimney Tops where the sunset was fantastic. To God be the glory and we’re glad you get to see it.


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