"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mt LeConte and Alum Cave

What a great hike in the Smokies. After getting thru a bear jam, the tourists stop in the middle of the road and look at bears in the trees and actually walk away from their vehicles and leave traffic backed up until the Rangers move people along. Climbing up alum Cave into Arch Rock on the way to Mt LeConte is very pleasant walk.
The Alum Cave Trail is the shortest and steepest of the five trails leading to the Le Conte massif, which contains four separate peaks in all, the highest of which has an elevation of 6,593 feet. Due to its short length and beautiful scenery (it is often considered Le Conte's most scenic route) it is the most common footpath for hikers seeking to reach the summit of Le Conte. Along the way you will pass by Arch Rock, Alum Cave Bluff which is not a true cave. It is what geologists refer to as a rock shelter. At the top you will find the LeConte Lodge which provides the only commercial lodging in the national park, as it operates about 10 rustic cabins with no electricity or appliances.
We met a few people hiking to spend the night at the top which reservations are required and often difficult to get unless in advance. We hear the sunrises are beautiful. It is still early spring and not a lot has bloomed yet. We are quite pleased to be spending the next couple of months in the area while working at the Asheville Mission Hospital. Our apartment is next to the river and a couple of miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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