Here’s a snapshot of my friend Josh at Cliff Tops on Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, bordering Tennessee and North Carolina.
The first time I visited the Smokies was in 2008. I had always heard it was beautiful and breathtaking and a real national wonder, and I wasn’t disappointed. My husband and I spent a wonderful week with his family and Josh at Elkmont Campground, playing in the stream, doing some day hikes and overnight hikes, exploring Gatlinburg.
The first time I climbed Mt. LeConte, it felt like a dream. Walking for hours and then walking along the top of a mountain in a thick mist is very surreal.
I was not in good shape at all at the time, and passed out for a quick nap before dinner. However, the mist cleared before sunset and we were treated to a view as I’d never seen before.
Since that trip, I’ve found a comfort in the South that surely seems odd to many Northerners. It feels different when you travel, tangibly different. Not just the little things, like patterns of speech, regional grocery stores and the like, but the actual atmosphere feels different. I love the feel of driving south to Indy (okay, in all fairness, I despise that boring drive south to Indy!), but you angle east on 74 to Cincinnati, where you encounter more hills; then south through Kentucky, where the hills are gentle and a gorgeous green; the Cumberland area which provides more mountainous terrain; on south to Knoxville; then one more jog southeast to Sevierville and Pigeon Forge and the gateway to the Smokies. It’s a trip that never fails to thrill me.
The following are from my most recent Smokies trip, Halloween of last year.
View of Pigeon Forge to the north from Myrtle Point on the top of Mt. LeConte.
Typical Smoky Mountains view – rugged peaks asking to be explored.
An extremely chilly morning on the LeConte Lodge porch, elevation 6,360′.
A pretty overlook on the way to Myrtle Point.
A smattering of cabins atop Mt. LeConte – wouldn’t you love to wake up to this view every morning?
One of the rustic cabins available for rent. For $121, you get dinner, breakfast, use of the main lodge, and the general peacefulness that comes with decluttering your life of shopping, advertising, and the general business of civilization.
I’m gonna sit and rest awhile . . . . I’ll catch you on down the trail. : )