Timmy and I thought it would be nice to hike Mt. le Conte one more time before he goes off to basic training, although Timmy seriously doubted that I could make it this time. I wasn't afraid. I made sure to bring my diet coke and a bag of doughnuts and I was ready for anything. Yes, I am a professional hiker:
This is the one in the Smokies where you stay overnight at the top in a cabin and where llamas bring up all the supplies throughout the season. The llamas take a different route (probably an easier one) from the Alum Cave Bluffs trail, so we have never seen them. There is not even a service road to this peak, which is one vertical mile above Gatlinburg and has the tallest "face", or distance from base to summit, of any mountain east of the Mississippi. It is one rugged trail, although it always looks to me at dinner as though nobody had any trouble getting up there except me. Maybe they eat something besides doughnuts and candy orange slices and get more exercise than making quilts.
People usually make their reservations for this trip a year in advance, but we have gotten in all three times via last-minute cancellations, including this one, so it was a spur of the moment trip and an unexpected and gloriously hailed two days off from the day job.
Alum Cave Bluffs (from which soldiers harvested saltpetre for gunpowder during the Civil War):
Interesting close-up things:
and interesting far-off things: