Mt LeConte Smoky Mtns NP

October 18, 2009

I had to make the reservervation for a cabin at Mt LeConte Lodge on top of the mountain a year in advance because the prime dates (e.g. Fall colors) are booked that far in advance.  Going south, we had anticipated warmer weather and Fall colors.  We got cold and white!   Fortunately, we drove up Newfound Gap Road in Great Smoky Mountains NP from the southeast (Cherokee) because the same road from the northwest (Gatlinburg) was closed because of snow/ice.  The only way to reach the Lodge is by trail.  There is no electricity and the Lodge is supplied by llamas.  We took the Alum Cave Bluff Trail, the shortest (5 miles) and steepest (about 2800 ft gain in elevation). 




The trail was snow covered and slippery but quite beautiful as we hiked along a mountain creek and then up to Alum Cave Bluff.




As we gained elevation there was more snow.  Instead of Fall colors, we were treated to a winter wonderland.



Bear poop on the now icy trail – must have enjoyed the berries from the previous photo!



Cables at exposed parts of the trail were important for safety.  We were also thankful that we had the foresight to bring our hiking poles to help with balance and prevent slipping.


We made it to the Lodge and cabins in about three hours and were happy we had a warm building to “dry out” our clothes and boots.


The date was actually October 18th, must have been too cold for them to change it that day!


Our cozy (with propane stove!) cabin.  Didn’t do much rocking on the front porch!  After a family style dinner in the Lodge, we were treated to a park ranger talk on the history of the park. 


When I got up about 3am to go to the outhouse, I found that the storm had blown through and though cold (13 degrees) the sky was crystal clear with a fantastic display of stars!

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