Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mt. LeConte Hike Part 2

After we arrive at the lodge we get checked in and are shown to cabin 7 for the night.

The cabins are very rustic and have no running water or electricity. Not quite 5 star but close...LOL

Kerosene lamps light your accommodations and there is a propane heater to warm your cabin at night. There are no showers and wash basins are provided for sponge baths.

After getting cleaned up as good as we can, I relax on the porch with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate which they provide at the dining room.

As we wait for dinner we take a walk around the camp. There are seven one-room cabins like these.

And there are two 3-bedroom lodges and one 2-bedroom lodge. These sleep 10-13 guests.

The lodge office is a good place to relax, read or play games. After dinner a lot of the guests congregate here and sit around the stove rocking in the huge rocking chairs exchanging trail stories.  Sometimes someone is playing a quitar or singing and usually kids are playing games at the tables, their only light a kerosene lamp. You take a step back in time up here.

Finally the dinner bell rings and everyone heads to the dining room for dinner.

 Starved after the long hike and only some trail food, we are ready for some real food!! We are seated 8 to a table and are served family style. We have met some interesting people and heard some great stories. Everyone including the staff is so friendly.
Dinner consists of roast beef, mashed potato's, green beans, corn bread, baked apples, a peach half and cookies. Everything tastes delicious and is very filling and satisfying.

In case you wonder how the lodge gets it's supplies because you can only get there by hiking. In March before the lodge opens for the season (Mar-Nov)  a helicopter drops most of the non-perishable items, but three times a week Llama packs bring up linens, groceries and whatever other supplies are needed. The reason Llamas are used is because they don't do as much damage to the trails as horses would.

After dinner most people head up to cliff tops to watch the sunset but it too cloudy on this night. My husband and I go up anyway just for something to do, but all we see is fog swirling around us.

Here is a sunset from a previous year so you know what we are missing.

Can you imagine sitting on top of a mountain cliff and watching the sunset and off in the distance  hear a group of people singing "How Great Thou Art". It was one of those deeply touching moments I'll never forget.

We get up early the next morning and we are still fogged in so we don't make the hike to Myrtle Point to see the sunrise. Again here is a photo from a previous year.

We sit on the office deck for a while just listening to the sounds of nature and enjoying the peace and serenity of this beautiful place.
Eventually the breakfast bell rings and we go to the dining room where....
 a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, ham, pancakes, grits, biscuits, juice and coffee is served. We are seated the same as the night before.
It has been a wonderful experience but it's time to get our gear packed up and hit the trail. We have a long hike ahead of us and want to get an early start.

This 8 mile hike will be the longest one we have done so far. The Boulevard Trail is 5.3 miles to the Appalachian Trail, then another 2.7 miles down to Newfound Gap where we parked the day before.
It's easy to look at the elevation of Mt. Leconte at 6593 feet and the elevation of Newfound Gap at 5046 and think this will be a easy downhill descend. NOT!! You go down, then up, then back down, and up up up again, then back down. I got my first blister hiking this trail.

This is High Top the highest point on Mt. LeConte. It's a tradition to add a rock to this pile in hopes of making Mt.LeConte higher than Clingmans Dome which is 50 feet higher. So we added our rocks to the pile and are on our way.

We pass what I believe is a massive rockslide. Once again there are cables and it's wide enough to be passed safely.

The view from the rockslide.

Ferns growing on a huge uprooted Fraiser Fir.

Finally getting down below the clouds.

Newfound Gap road off in the distance.

After 5 hours and 45 min we get down to Newfound Gap very tired but grateful for a safe hike. In spite of being fogged in, it was still well worth the effort and are looking forward to doing it again next year when we hike up the Trillium Gap Trail.

1 comment:

  1. I wish I could do this. It's so beautiful and peaceful up there.