HIKING MT. LECONTE Great Smoky Mtn. National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Expedition Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller, Holly Miller

Date: August 25, 2015

This is a hike we have been wanting to do forever but it is so hard to get a reservation at the mountaintop mini-cabins.  These cabins are the highest guest lodges in Eastern America. The small lodge where we ate was established in 1925. We parked at the Rainbow Falls Trailhead and hiked 6.6 miles or a 4,000 ft. climb up the strenuous but not technically challenging trail to the 6,593 foot peak. It took us about four hours. A hiker descending the trail said a bear crossed the trail about 100 yards up ahead. We saw no bear but occasionally saw a chipmunk or deer. Three times Rosie screamed when she thought a bear was nearby &/or attacking but in reality here is what spooked her – once it was just a jogger passing us from behind, the second time Holly scared her and the third time her scarf fell down and touched her neck and she thought it was a beer claw.  As we neared the top the temperature became cooler and we walked through “smoky” clouds.

At the top we bunked in a small cabin.  Food and supplies are brought to the lodge via llamas.  At the lodge NP staff cooked a delicious homemade meal of potatoes, green beans, roast beef, corn bread and broccoli soup – perfect for tired hikers. We walked the .2 mile Cliff Top Trail to a nice overlook. That night we slept soundly and had pancakes, eggs sausage, grits and bacon for breakfast before beginning our descent. Coming back down on the Bullhead Trail took us four hours and 10 minutes. We would like to reserve a large cabin and have the entire family do the overnight hike some day.

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