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.
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.
On our way back from the smokies, we drove on the Foothills Parkway and Deals Gap, which was a lot of fun.
Fall is the best season to go camping and hiking. And I love the fall colors you can see in the mountains. So once again we headed to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park a couple of weeks ago for some camping, riding, hiking and driving.
We had three black bear sightings in the smokies this time.
Here’s the trail to Laurel Falls.
Here’s the trail to the observation tower at the top of Clingman’s Dome which gives a nice view around.
The hike from Clingman’s Dome to Andrews Bald was great and the views from a bald are always the best.
A fun day in Chattanooga to celebrate Michelle’s fourth birthday. Here are some photographs from the Tennessee aquarium and Tennessee river gorge.
For Michelle’s fourth birthday, we decided to take the day off and take her to Chattanooga, about 2 hours drive away.
Here are some photographs from the Tennessee Aquarium. We have been to the Georgia Aquarium lots of times and that is huge. Tennessee aquarium is smaller, nothing on the scale of the one in Atlanta, but I think children like it better. Michelle was running from one display to another and showing us all the marine life.
We also cruised the Tennessee River Gorge aboard a boat.
When we got off the boat, it had started raining. So we went to Hennen’s for dinner. Michelle was tired, but we had a nice dinner, followed by a chocolate cake and ice cream complete with candle on top to celebrate Michelle turning four.