Bear family makes Thanksgiving memorable in Smokies

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - A family of bears put on a show in the Smokies that will make this Thanksgiving memorable for a group of tourists.

The Conte family rented a cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains for the Thanksgiving holiday.

After a hike up Mt. LeConte on Thursday, the family headed down the parkway and back to their cabin. Just outside of downtown Gatlinburg, they noticed four bears in the nearby woods.

A group of onlookers had already stopped traffic, awe-struck by the sighting.

A mother bear and her three cubs were foraging on the forest floor and climbing trees. Chris Conte, who happens to be a reporter at WVLT's CBS affiliate in Nashville, said it looked like the bears were searching for food.

His sister, Alicia Conte, quickly grabbed her camera to document the encounter. As she started recording, one of the bears jumped onto a tree. Their mother, Mary Ann Zezza Conte, could be heard saying, "Oh my gosh, he's on the tree. Oh my gosh, there's four of them!"

The family frequently visits the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and has had the good fortune of multiple bear sightings before.