h1

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). 

DSCN3735 

DSCN3741

DSCN3743

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

DSCN3744

DSCN3747

DSCN3749

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

DSCN3752

DSCN3753

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

DSCN3757

DSCN3755

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.

DSCN3756

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.

DSCN3761

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

DSCN3763

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. 

DSCN3765

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!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: