even frequent hikers have to admit they’ve never seen a bear this big.
The “shadow of the bear” is a well-known phenomenon around Cashiers, a small town in Jackson County, North Carolina. Thanks to a large mountain and low sun angle, the “bear” appears nearly every day the sun is out between mid-February and mid-March.
Though it eventually becomes the beloved bear, the phenomenon starts as just a small dot when the sun is highest in the sky. As the sun gets lower, the shadow of 4,930-foot-tall Whiteside Mountain begins to stretch across the valley below. Thanks to perfectly placed rocks and bumps near the summit, the shadow eventually forms a perfect bear shape, right down to the ears and slightly raised back haunches. It usually appears around 5:30 PM and lasts for roughly 30 minutes before losing its shape.