LeConte Lodge

The only way to get to LeConte Lodge in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to hike up a mountain. To stay the night, you need to make reservations far in advance. We sent in our reservation request in August last year and then waited till the October 1 drawing of names. We did not get our first choice of dates (mid-October for the fall colors) but got our second choice of April 5.

When the date got near, it was still cold and snowy at the top near the lodge. So we bought Stabilicers and IceTrekkers. We also had to pack layers since the weather at the bottom trailhead was fairly warm, but it was freezing at the summit.

We started on the Rainbow Falls trail in the morning with the weather a little cold and foggy. As you can see on the elevation chart below, the trail goes up and up almost constantly. Due to rain and snow in recent days, the trail was quite muddy.

It was good that we brought the ice cleats as the last 1.5 miles of the trail was covered with snow and ice.

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We got to the LeConte Lodge in the afternoon and enjoyed some amazing views.

After dinner, I went to Myrtle Point for a nice view of the sunset.

There was no electricity in our cabin, but it was warm due to a propane heater.

The next morning, weather was a little warmer. We had planned to go down the Bullhead trail, but it had not been cleared after the winter storms, so we headed back the same way we had come. Here’s the map for our return hike.

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On our way back from the smokies, we drove on the Foothills Parkway and Deals Gap, which was a lot of fun.

Skiing in Colorado

In February, we headed out to Colorado for our first ski trip out west. It was a different and much more fun experience than skiing here in the East.

I had my Garmin Oregon 450 with me along with Snowranger maps and I recorded my tracks.

The first day we were at Copper Mountain. Here’s my tracklog at Copper, analyzed by the Mountain Dynamics website.

Next day, we went to Keystone resort. You can see my adventures there.

Our second day at Keystone was more fun.

Then it snowed 10 inches at Breckenridge, so we headed there for Friday. You can follow my GPS track if you like.

Saturday was a day of rest, from skiing. We went to Vail, where we did snowtubing, walked along the ridge and relaxed.

Finally, our last day was here. We headed back to Keystone for some skiing.

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Zoom in and you can see the lifts, gondolas and ski runs on Google Maps.

Cloudland Canyon

For Amber’s birthday last fall, we went camping in Cloudland Canyon. We camped in the walk-in campground which was nice and secluded, but full due to the season.

Here’s our first day’s hike, around the West rim loop.
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On the second day, we went to see the waterfalls and the overlooks near the park office.
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Here are some photos.