Silver Comet Ride

I had been thinking of riding the Silver Comet trail for a while, but first I needed to up my mileage. The original plan was to ride with a friend, but he had to back out. Since the trail seems fairly safe and well-traveled, I decided to go it alone.

On April 13, Amber dropped me off at the Anniston, AL trailhead of the Chief Ladiga trail. With all my things in my Camelbak Mule NV, I was ready to ride the longest distances I had ever done.

Here’s what I packed:

  1. Plenty of Power and Clif bars for snack and lunch
  2. Energy gels
  3. 100oz water (with GU Brew electrolyte tablets) reservoir in the hydration pack
  4. 25oz water bottle
  5. Tube patch kit
  6. Tire levers
  7. Mini pump
  8. An extra tube
  9. Bike lock
  10. Garmin Oregon 450 GPS
  11. Chamois Butt’r
  12. Rain jacket
  13. Rain shell pants, which I also wore when I went for dinner etc.

The one thing I forgot was sunscreen. Portions of the Chief Ladiga trail don’t have much tree cover and I did get tanned a lot.

I rode 45.3 miles the first day to Cedartown, GA. I went at a comfortable, slow speed and stopped a bunch of times to enjoy the scenery.

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I stayed the night at the Holiday Inn Express there which is about 1.5 miles from the trail. The hotel let me keep my bicycle in the room which was nice.

The next morning, I had the complementary breakfast at the hotel and headed out. Sitting on the bike seat hurt at first but I got comfortable soon.

The weather started out as cool and nice.

Right out of Cedartown, the trail left the old rail tracks and got hilly for a few miles. I was glad because I am used to rolling hill rides around home.

The Silver Comet had a lot more people, cycling, walking and running, than the Chief Ladiga trail.

Around Dallas, GA, it started raining. I was glad I had my rain jacket and rain cover for my backpack. But I still got completely soaked and had to ride the last 20 miles in the rain.

Finally, I reached the Highland Center Shopping Center on the Connector trail (about a mile long) where Amber was waiting to pick me up.

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I rode a total of 54.4 miles on Sunday, thus totaling 99.7 miles for the weekend.

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.

Len Foote Hike Inn

In October, we usually head to North Georgia to hike, enjoy the nice weather and see some fall colors. This time we booked a room at the Len Foote Hike Inn which can only be reached by hiking 5 miles from the Amicalola Falls State Park.

Here is our hike path from Amicalola Falls to the Inn.
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On our return the next day, we decided to take the Appalachian Approach trail which connects Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain.
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It was an easy introduction for our trip to LeConte Lodge in the spring.

Cohutta Wilderness

Getting to Cohutta Wilderness is not easy as you have to drive for more than 20 miles on unpaved roads and then there’s the issue of arranging cars so you can do a point-to-point hike. On the other hand, Lake Conasauga campground is beautiful and Cohutta Wilderness has a number of great hikes.

We took Tearbritches trail to Bray Field, then followed the Conasauga River trail and finally the Hickory Creek trail for a total of 6.45 miles.

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The next day, we did a short hike near the campground.
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And here are some photos.

MLK Historic Site

Recently, my daughter suggested we visit Martin Luther King Jr Historic Site. Here are a few pictures from our visit.

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