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I normally don’t post my day hikes but the last few weeks have left me with no time for overnight trips.
Things have been hectic lately but I found time to squeeze in a few short trips and even two with my wonderful wife Susan! These are all in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park (closest place to home) at various locations.
We started with a quick foray into the Big Creek area on a crisp weekend.
Editoral note: (I used the forum tools to embed the photos this time instead of linking them so they are clickable and not fixed)
The next outing was a “we don’t care if it rains all day” trip. I had wanted to see the Walker Sisters cabin and a couple of nearby trails for some time. This was an area I usually avoid due to excessive tourism but we decided to gear-up and go in the rain.
They were the last residents of the area purchased for the park. The family eventually was reduced to five sisters that never married and opted to remain in the mountains living out their days in the subsistence lifestyle. They negotiated a “life-time lease” with the government and the last sister died in 1963.
Next we hiked up to a boundary trail that I had never seen.
Boundary trails are a mixed bag here because they will kill your illusion of remoteness (when you can see houses and roads); but as such they are not well traveled and can often result in not seeing other humans for the whole day. We found a nice spot overlooking Wear Cove valley and enjoyed intermittent views through the fog.
Next up was a trip to Mt LeConte that I did solo.
I had made it most of the way without spikes by skipping around the ice but finally had to put on the micro-spikes when I reached this.
It would have been extremely dangerous without aid. The LeConte blog described these parts as “nearly impassable” without crampons; however I did meet one pair of backpackers on the mountain without spikes and they were really sorry they didn’t bring any, vowing to never make the same mistake.
The trail was essentially just slick ice for the rest of the ascent and most of the mountain top (about my next 4 miles of trekking on my 17 total mile day)
This was approaching the Ciff Tops Overlook.
I’m wearing full zip rain pants over a poly/wool base layer for the trip and I had them unzipped for ventilation. My wife tells me it looks like pantaloons when I do that. :) She just saw me writing this and started singing “can’t touch this” inferring I’m MC Hammer as it were..
The trail was still icy on top of the mountain and downright treacherous in spots.
Hope you enjoyed the report blurb...
Happy Trails my fellow outdoor enthusiasts!